Daniels Finish Off With A Win
Stamford end the season on a high with a comfortable win over there relegation adversary. Reports Chris Bond
A slim chance of a reprieve if Stamford were to finish fourth bottom gave slight motivation to an otherwise meaningless game.
Following the disappointment of relegation on Wednesdays night, after the day’s opponents Mickleover had come away with a surprise draw against Nantwich, the fixture was mainly being played out for pride and the atmosphere in the healthy 366 crowd was downbeat to say the least, mainly as a result of how close the Daniels had come to pulling off another great escape.
The match started with a subdued, end of season feel to it and the first ten minutes came and went without incident. The first chance went to Stamford and Jake Newman, who almost capitalised on a misunderstanding between Goalkeeper Jack Tolley and centre half Dwayne Wiley; a long ball from Jon Challinor caused the confusion and Newman managed to get in between the two but could only poke the ball wide of the target.
Stamford did take the lead soon after, Lee Beeson drilled a ball in from the right hand side, Newman managed to get a slight touch which eluded the goalkeeper and Gregg Smith was on hand to bundle the ball, and defender, over the line.
Mickleover then had their best moments of the game soon after, striking the bar twice in quick succession. Firstly Nyambu Dinanga curled a shot on to the top of the bar and then Andy Dales repeated the feat, both times Paul Bastock looked to have the goal covered.
Minutes before the break Stamford had a great chance to extend their leader; Tom Batchelor headed a Jake Duffy freekick back across goal and Gregg Smith looked to get his second but could only place his header onto the roof of the net.
However, he did manage to increase the lead just after the half time interval when he converted a Jordan Smith flick on at the far post following an Ollie Luto cross. The visiting side changed their formation in an attempt to get back into the game but rarely created anything of note with the again impressive back four and goalkeeper not giving Mickleover any opportunities to gain momentum.
Sam Downey, Callum Rzonca and Sam Hill came on in the latter stages, and Hill had a great chance to round of the game following another excellent set piece from Duffy but he sent his effort over the bar from inside the box.
Just before full time manager Graham Drury did a lap of the ground thanking the home fans for their support over the season, he was met with warm applause from all areas and the general consensus has been; had Drury been in charge since the start of the season then Stamford wouldn’t be saying goodbye to their three year stay in the premier division.
The full time whistle came and the applause didn’t mirror that of a relegated side as everyone recognised the player’s and management team’s efforts since Christmas. The crowd massed around the tunnel to show their appreciation as the players went off for the final time, with special adulation going to goalkeeper Paul Bastock and captain Jon Challinor who had given everything for the cause.
Video highlights from SRSN: Here