Daniels Suffer Another Stalemate
Stamford were held for the fourth time in six home Evostik League games after a 1-1 stalemate with Newcastle Town on Saturday. Writes James Bedford
Despite taking the lead five minutes before half-time through Rob Morgan, the Daniels were pegged back 10 minutes into the second period and were unable to force a winner.
Boss Graham Drury was disappointed his side didn't make the most of their first half dominance after seeing his selection plans suffer a setback following the late arrival of influential defender Henry Eze and an early injury to key midfielder Jake Duffy.
Drury said: "We could have been 3-0 up at half-time. They didn't really trouble us too much in the first half. "Rob Morgan just keeps getting better and better and scored a great goal, but we were sloppy for their equaliser. "We reacted well, got back on the front foot and then had two positive shouts for a penalty turned down. "We've not played badly again, but I feel like it's two points dropped. "The enforced changes did affect our momentum because we've had to change the back four for the first time this season. "That has created a knock-on effect because I had worked out all our set pieces and how we were going to play beforehand."
Stamford handed a debut to new signing Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson and he look lively in the opening stages as the home side pressed for an early goal.
Morgan had a shot beaten away by Raajan Gill in the visitors' goal before Duffy was forced to depart with a calf injury which brought Pearson Mwanyongo into the fray.
Fortnam-Tomlinson flashed a shot wide before he was gifted the home side's best chance when Gill parried his Mwanyongo's free-kick into his path but, with the goal at his mercy, he put the ball wide.
Delroy Gordon headed a good opportunity wide before a cracking effort from Mwanyongo was narrowly off target. Dan Haystead in the home goal did well to deny Will Bailey from close range before bravely saving at the feet of Luke Askey.
The deserved breakthrough finally came five minutes before half-time when Gill missed a corner and the ball was collected by Morgan who curled home a fine finish past a posse of players on the line.
Fortnam-Tomlinson looped a header just over after good work from Eliot Putman, but the second Stamford goal proved elusive and Newcastle levelled after 55 minutes.
A cross into the box picked out the unmarked Askey and he rose to power home his header which gave Haystead no chance.
Stamford responded by piling on the pressure and, although Newcastle looked dangerous on the break, it was the home side who looked the more likely winners.
Substitute Sam Hollis put a difficult headed chance over before Morgan saw a last-gasp effort go agonisingly wide.
Two late penalty shouts for hand ball were also turned down as Stamford suffered more frustration at the Zeeco Stadium despite maintaining their unbeaten home record.