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Robbins sees red at half time as Stamford AFC salvage a point

By John Evely

Ryan Robbins Stamford Town ENGEMN00120131127171049
Ryan Robbins Stamford Town ENGEMN00120131127171049

Stamford AFC star striker Ryan Robbins scored and was then sent off for allegedly head-butting the opposing manager Graham Heathcote as the Daniels slipped further into relegation trouble in the Evo-Stik NPL on Saturday.

Robbins was shown the red card following a fracas as the players left the field at Trafford at half-time with the Daniels leading 1-0.

The home side, who are second from bottom in the table with just one home win to their name all season, took advantage to move 2-1 in front before skipper Jordan Smith rescued a point for Stamford with a header eight minutes from time at Shawe View.

Stamford (41 points) are just two places and two points outside the drop zone in 19th, with the two teams immediately below them having games in hand. Ramsbottom United (40 points) in 20th have five games in hand and 21st place Frickley Athletic, who currently occupy the last relegation place in a league which sees four teams go down each season, have a single game in hand. What it does mean is, although unlikely, with nine games left Stamford’s fate is no longer in their own hands. If the teams around them win all their games Stamford will go down.

It won’t help their plight that Robbins now faces a lengthy ban and was already expected to be away on international duty with St Kitts and Nevis at the end of the month.

Trafford threatened the Daniels’ goal early when Chris McDonagh glanced a header just inches over the bar in just the third minute. After a shaky debut last Saturday, Stamford keeper Neil O’Sullivan was almost caught out early on when Astley Mulholland lobbed him as he was caught in no-man’s land but fortunately for the visitors the effort drifted wide.

However Robbins gave Stamford the lead in the 27th minute when he latched onto a flicked on ball and powered forward before unleashing a drive from 20-yards which saw the net ripple.

The goalkeepers at both ends were largely untroubled for the rest of the half before it all kicked off on the way back into the changing rooms and Robbins was shown red.

With Stamford down to 10-men Trafford dominated for long spells after the break and the Daniels were lucky to maintain their lead for as long as they did. Mulholland wasted two good chances to equalise before right back Chris Palmer levelled in the 62nd minute, tapping in at the back post.

Just six minutes later Stamford were behind when Palmer of all people struck again. This time it was another good finish from a Mulholland cross.

The hosts were piling on the pressure and wasted chances to extend the lead. But in the 83rd minute Stamford salvaged a point from the match from a free-kick. Jon Challinor delivered the ball into the area and Smith brilliantly timed his run to meet the cross with a powerful header past Read.

To their credit both sides chased a winning goal in the closing moments, Mulholland and Trafford skipper Martyn Andrews were off target with efforts and then Stamford centre-back Tom Batchelor forced a good save out of Read.

Two minutes into stoppage time Courtney Meade was denied by another fine save by Read after he had race clear.

Stamford are away to mid-table Rushall Olympic tomorrow (Tuesday) with every game a vital one now.


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