Stamford beaten by Halesowen Town in FA Trophy replay at the Zeeco Stadium
A second half goal treble sunk Stamford as their hopes of a derby day duel with Grantham Town were dashed in Tuesday night's FA Trophy replay at the Zeeco Stadium.
Stamford had been unable to make the most of a dominant opening to the first qualifying round clash which saw them hit the woodwork twice as visiting Halesowen took full advantage after the break.
The defeat ended Stamford's six-match unbeaten run as they were unable to find a response after failing behind to Montel Gibson's 64th opener for the Yeltz following some indecisive Daniels defending
Gibson grabbed his and Halesowen's second goal with seven minutes of the clash remaining before Reece Hewitt's sealed Stamford fate late on.
Manager Graham Drury said: "We started out in the first 20 minutes how I wanted us to and we really got on the front foot.
"We should have scored. We've hit the bar and the post and had two in the six-yard box where we haven't stabbed them home which was frustrating.
"We needed to score when we was on top. We didn't get the goal and all credit to Halesowen. Over the two games I think they've deserved to go through.
"We've given a sloppy ball away in midfield for the first goal and then we haven't cleared our lines.
"I think the goals are avoidable, but it's perhaps the first time I've seen us not go up two notches when we've gone a goal behind.
"We looked tired for some reason. I felt we were leggy ourselves because usually when we go behind we are right on the front foot and pressing for that goal.
"That drive wasn't there and I think a lot of players went missing."
Stamford made one enforced change to the starting line-up which had drawn 2-2 at Spalding on Saturday with injury ruling out Jon Challinor which saw James Hicks return.
They lined up with a back three of Cleveland Taylor, James Blunden and Jordon Cooke with the change of formation sparking a bright start from Stamford.
Olly Brown-Hill had a stinging shot tipped around the post by Bradley Catlow and, from the resultant corner, Harry Vince's inswinging flag kick rattled the near post.
Cosmos Matwasa fired narrowly wide after a strong surging run before Stamford were again thwarted by the woodwork.
Matwasa's perfectly-flighted cross picked out the on-rushing Rob Morgan whose header thumped against the Halesowen crossbar.
The Yeltz gradually weathered the Stamford surge and, after home centre-back James Blunden had just failed to head home from close range, the visitors started to create a flurry of chances of their own.
A fierce strike from Jordan Piggott was bundled away by Dan Haystead with Cooke getting a crucial block to thwart another Halesowen raid.
Tendai Chitiza then headed over for Stamford after rising well at the back post to meet a Matwasa cross before he failed to fully connect as Catlow saved from close range from another Matwasa assist as the first half finished goalless.
Brown-Hill, who along with Matwasa was at the heart of Stamford's best attacking moves, twice came close at the start of the second half.
Catlow smothered his effort at the second attempt after a smart turn and shot before a deflected strike looped goalwards with the Halesowen custodian scrambling backwards to catch at full stretch.
In an attempt to find a different way of breaching the Halesowen rearguard, Brown-Hill was then replaced by Pearson Mwanyongo but the opening goal still proved elusive for Stamford.
And, after Ashley Sammons had seen his low shot saved by Haystead, Halesowen hit the front in the 64th minute.
A sweeping ball forward wasn't dealt with by the covering Cleveland Taylor and, with Haystead caught in two minds, Gibson pounced to make the most of the indecision and fire the visitors ahead.
Stamford made a couple more changes and substitute Dec O'Hare just failed to connect following Mwanyongo's pull back.
But it was the visitors who looked the more threatening in the latter stages with Cooke again making a timely intervention to thwart the Yeltz.
Haystead made a solid save to keep out a well-struck Gibson effort before the Stamford custodian excelled with a superb stop to divert Gibson's goalbound shot over the bar with his legs despite going in the wrong direction.
Gibson gave Haystead no chance though with his next opportunity as he headed home an inviting Luke Yates cross at the back with just seven minutes remaining to double the visitors' lead.
They then wrapped up the contest two minutes later as the impressive Gibson teed up Hewitt to hammer home Halesowen's third goal.
This defeat means Stamford are now back in BetVictor Northern Premier League South East Division action on Saturday when they host Chasetown in a rearranged match at the Zeeco Stadium.
Stamford: Haystead, Vince (Wright), Taylor, Cooke, Blunden, Morgan, Chitiza, Brown-Hill (Mwanyongo), Siddons, Hicks (Hare), Matwasa. Subs not used: Armstrong, Luto, Keeble, Tarris (GK).
Halesowen: Catlow, Ashmore (Wright), Bowen, Piggott, McCone, Evans, Sammons (Molyneux), R Bunn (Hawker), Gibson, Yates, Hewitt. Sub not used: B Bunn.
More by this authorJames Bedford