Own Goal Denies Daniels Win
An own goal by skipper Richard Jones denied Stamford their first league win at the Zeeco stadium.
The Daniels, as often this season, began brightly and Ryan Robbins - returning to the starting line-up after suspension - carved out the first opportunity in just the second minute; beating three men in blue as he cut in from the right, to drive a fierce left foot shot just wide of the right upright.
Just a few minutes later, Nathan Fox, who had another solid game at left back, struck a firm free kick which took a deflection before Whitby keeper Shane Bland could only parry for a defender to hook clear.
The visitors’ early pressure was limited to a couple of corners and the home side were the more creative in the opening 45 with man-of-the-match Dan Clements close to finishing off a smart move which he began with a surging run from the half way line.
Greg Smith, who with a series of delicate back heels and flicks, showed a deft touch which belied his target man billing, fired narrowly over on the turn from the penalty spot and had another opportunity smothered by Bland at the big strikers’ feet.
Lee Mason fired a half-volley from the edge of the box for Whitby but Stamford’s back line was protecting Andy Stevens well when Stamford broke the deadlock on the break.
Play had become scruffy from both sides in the face of strong gusts of wind but on 34 minutes, Robbins picked out Tom Mcgowan wide on the right and his low cross found Jon Challinor who did very well after stumbling to pull the ball back for an unmarked Clements, who had bagged a hat-trick on Monday, to slam the ball home from close range.
There was a further curling effort from Robbins before the break but a double half time substitution from Whitby changed the balance of play in the second half.
A slick back heel from Smith into path of Michael Built created an early opening. But Built, who had taken a heavy knock in the first half, ran into cul-de-sac and limped off shortly after to be replaced by Jordan Smith.
Stamford created little after that early threat and the visitors, who are not mathematically safe themselves, steadily improved while home side’s balance and cohesion ebbed away.
Even after the dismissal of Ibrahim Hassan, for a second yellow, Whitby looked the more threatening with a series of crosses posing Stamford problems.
They had been given warning when Town had the ball in the net at a free kick only to be scrubbed out for a marginal offside
Mason forced a great diving save from Stevens but the pressure told with 15 minutes remaining and Stamford skipper Richard Jones turned a cross into his own net at the near post.
Stamford threw everybody forward in search of a late winner but the Yorkshire side returned home with a crucial and deserved share of the spoils.
Stamford: Andy Stevens, Ryan Clarke, Nathan Fox, Tom Mcgowan, Richard Jones (c), Tom Batchelor, Michael Built (Jordan Smith), Jon Challinor, Greg Smith (Courtney Meade), Dan Clements, Ryan Robbins. Subs not used: Lewis Carr, Kurtis Revan, Dan Lawlor.
Whitby Town: Shane Bland, Ibrahim Hussan, Mark Robinson (c), Kevin Burgess, Richard Pell (Steven Snaith), David McTiernan, Lee Bullock, Dale Hopson, Lee Mason, James Brown (Jamie Clarke), Matthew Waters (Charlie Raby). Subs: Robert Nolan, David Campbell.
Daniels man of the match (Sponsored by The Grainstore Brewery): Dan Clements