Stamford AFC beat league leaders
Stamford AFC recorded their best result of the season on Saturday, with a 3-0 victory over run-away Evo-Stik NPL league leaders Skelmersdale United.
Once again the Daniels showed that they are better on the road than at home, recording their third win in the last four matches in all competitions.
Stamford midfield ace Jon Challinor scored either side of the break before the club’s top goal-scorer Ryan Robbins, soon to be an international footballer with St Kitts and Nevis, added to his season’s tally with a penalty four minutes from time.
The Daniels’ performance was so impressive they were awarded the BBC 5 Live 606 non-league team of the day and Stamford manager David Staff spoke with Robbie Savage and Mark Chapman on their evening show on Saturday.
He said: “It was a great win. We are a team that is one step forward two steps back recently. I sensed something before the start of the game today. I thought we had something in us. 3-0 did not flatter us at all we had a good game. I thought we deserved it.
Staff added: “We are 17th in the league but I think we have beaten four of the top five sides away. So there is something going on.”
This week Staff added a defender to his squad by re-signing Tom Batchelor from neighbours Grantham Town. He came straight into the starting side along with young forward Dan Clements.
Stamford started the day 16 places below Skelmersdale but it was hard to tell in the opening exchanges with the visitors by far the brighter side. Twice they could have gone ahead in the opening quarter, first with a header which went narrowly wide from a free-kick and then Challinor had a great effort, set up by a Robbins flick, saved by Steven James in the United net.
However there was no saving Challinor’s next shot. In the 29th minute Robbins delivered the ball from the right. The danger was initially cleared to what should have been a safe position,falling to Challinor 30 metres out but the experienced midfielder struck the ball cleanly and watched it fly into the net by the way of the cross bar.
Not long after Stamford survived a penalty shout for a handball before going on the attack. And it was that man Challinor who was threatening again.
Clements powered down-field and had a shot blocked by a defender, deflecting for a corner which Challinor headed towards goal causing the hosts to have to block again.
After the break Challinor doubled the lead when Skelmersdale again failed to clear the ball effectively. This time Dan Lawlor fired in a corner which was headed clear but Challinor smashed the ball across the keeper and into the far corner.
United responded well and thought they had pegged a goal back within two minutes but the final scoring touch was made in an offside position so Stamford were given a reprieve.
In the closing stages of the match Robbins twice had a chance to put the game out of sight but shot wide on both occasions. However with just four minutes left on the clock he made sure from 12 yards.
Nathan Fox put Robbins behind the home defence and he was felled by goalkeeper James for a penalty. But he picked himself up to score his 16th league goal of the season.
Stamford: Andy Stevens, Ryan Clarke, Gareth Jelleyman, Jon Challinor, Richard Jones (c), Tom Batchelor, Tom Mcgowan, Dan Lawlor (Lewis Carr), Dan Clements (Nathan Fox), Jordan Smith, Ryan Robbins (Nabil Shariff). Subs not used: Dalton Bettles, David Staff
Skelmersdale United: Steven James, Valter Fernandes, Shaun Holden, Robert Mcintosh (c), Peter Wylie, Aidan Kirkbride, Scott Bakkor (Benjamin Tollitt), Alan Burton, Danny Mitchley, Connor McCarthy, Kenny Strickland (Alex Meaney). Subs not used: Dale Wright, Phil Mooney, Andy Paxton.
Man of the Match: Richard Jones.
Referee: Helen Bryne