Daniels Suffer Home Defeat
Stamford suffered a 2-1 home defeat against Corby Town in their pre-season friendly at the Zeeco Stadium on Tuesday night.
Despite an excellent late effort from Sam Grouse, a goal in each half condemned the Daniels to defeat with the home side also missing a penalty after James Gillard's spot kick was saved by Dan Smith.
The Daniels had eight players missing for the match with Mike Armstrong, Chris Salt, Cleveland Taylor, Rob Morgan, Jake Duffy, Olly Brown-Hill, Callum Ball and trialist Stan Mugisha all absent for a variety of reasons.
Manager Graham Drury said: “It was still a good work-out and I thought Corby looked really sharp. They started really brightly.
“We started to keep good possession after the first 20 minutes, but unfortunately we didn’t hurt them too much.”
Corby were the quicker of the sides to come out the traps and Jake Bettles headed wide early on before the deadlock was broken after eight minutes.
A smart Corby move down the left saw Dino Tuskar’s cross palmed away by Dan Haystead into the path of ex-Stamford striker Eliot Sandy who pounced to score from close range.
The visitors could have doubled their advantage shortly after when Jordan Francis surged forward and unleashed a fierce strike that rattled the underside of the home crossbar before bouncing to safety.
Reece Morris and Eliot Putman both went close to bringing Stamford back on to level terms while Sam Warburton fizzed a shot over from distance for the Steelmen.
Haystead then had to be alert to push a smart turn and shot from Sandy around the post to ensure Stamford went into the break just a goal adrift.
Strikers Sam Grouse, who spent last season with Harrowby, and ex-Northampton Town youngster Gillard were introduced at the start of the second period which Stamford started brightly.
Putman had an effort saved by Dan Smith in the Corby goal in the first of a string of top-drawer second half stops from the Corby custodian.
He produced a tremendous reflex save to keep out an effort from Grouse after also thwarting Jordan Smith in the build-up.
However, Stamford’s early second half enterprise was cancelled out after 58 minutes when a mix-up between Josh Egginton and replacement goalkeeper Dan George – who is on trial after spending last season with Peterborough Sports – saw the Daniels defender put through his own net to double the Corby advantage.
Stamford then saw their way back into the contest blocked again by the inspired Smith as he first saved Gillard’s spot kick after the ex-Brackley player had been felled and then brilliantly reacted to keep out Joe Burgess’ follow up from point blank range.
Grouse did give the Daniels hope with a superb strike from outside the box which finally beat Smith with two minutes remaining.
But it was Corby who came closest to increasing their tally in the dying throes as Warburton whacked another effort against home crossbar.