Pearson Stars As Daniels Win Again
A superb performance from Pearson Mwanyongo inspired Stamford to a 3-0 home success over Lincoln United on Saturday. Writes James Bedford
Mwanyongo bagged a brace of goals and tormented the Whites defence throughout as Stamford stretched their unbeaten run to eight games. The victory also lifted the Daniels into the Evo-Stik Division One South play-off places and ensured they remain unbeaten on home soil this season.
A second successive clean sheet means the Daniels also have the joint best defensive record in the division after another solid showing which pleased boss Graham Drury.
Drury said: “We didn’t beat Lincoln in three attempts last season. They’ve become a bit of a bogey side so I was glad to get one over them.
“We’ve kept another clean sheet which means we’ve only conceded 11 goals in 13 league games which is a great return. “We need to keep the back garden good and then the roses will keep growing.” Drury was also full of praise for summer signing Mwanyongo who completed his first 90 minutes after injury had curtailed much of his involvement with the Daniels so far.
He enthused: “Pearson was unplayable. He was unbelievable. We would have been in an even better position if we’ve had him since the start of the season, but he showed why I tried like mad all summer to sign him. “I was proud of all the lads though. They got a bit of a telling off before the game because we didn’t want them to lose their focus and we got a response which was good.”
Jake Duffy returned to the starting line-up after missing last week’s victory due to injury with Jon Challinor moving over to the left-hand side to replace the unavailable Eliot Putman. It was the visitors who went closest to scoring in the opening exchanges as Jack McGovern - one of five ex-Daniels in the Lincoln squad - curled an early effort against the home crossbar. Jack Wightwick then fired just wide for the visitors before Mwanyongo showed a flash of what was to come as he produced a sublime piece of skill to create an opening for Jordan Smith whose header was well saved by Whites custodian Sam Vince.
Home goalkeeper Dan Haystead produced a good block to deny Connor Robinson before Vince pulled off a stunning save to hold onto Mwanyongo’s drive which was destined for the top corner.
The deadlock was broken three minutes before half-time when Smith headed down a cross for Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson to bravely dive in between goalkeeper and defender and head home his second successive Stamford goal. The in-form frontman nearly doubled his and Stamford’s tally on the stroke of half-time as he raced clear and rounded Vince only to be denied by a superb goal line clearance from Whites defender Phil Watt. Watt’s heroics saw him clatter into the post and he was stretchered off with a nasty shin injury to be replaced by Callum Foster.
Stamford made a bright start to the second half and added their second goal within eight minutes of the restart. Mwanyongo collected the ball out wide and burst past several challenges before unleashing a fierce drive from just inside the box that beat Vince at his near post.
Haystead then made a crucial stop with a brilliant finger-tip save to deny Robinson as Lincoln looked for an immediate way back into the contest.
However, any hopes of a Lincoln comeback were dashed after 70 minutes when Vince misjudged a long clearance and, after appearing to first try and handle the ball outside his box, he then hauled down Stamford substitute Sam Hollis who had collected the loose ball in the area.
Vince was dismissed by referee Stuart Richardson and Mwanyongo stepped up to convert the spot kick past stand-in Whites goalkeeper McGovern.
Mwanyongo came close to completing his hat-trick when he sprinted clear and rounded McGovern, but Foster got back to clear his goal bound effort off the line. Haystead produced another fine save to deny Matt Cotton while Daniels substitute John King went close as Stamford cruised to a victory which has moved them up to fifth place in the league table.