Stamford Hit Play-off Rivals For Six
Stunning Stamford hit play-off rivals Chasetown for six as they produced their best performance of the season at the Zeeco Stadium on Saturday.
Three goals in each half sent out a statement of intent as Stamford found their goal scoring touch in style to give the Scholars a footballing lesson.
The biggest league victory of the season cemented Stamford's play-off place after a superb display that delighted manager Graham Drury.
Drury said: "The lads were tremendous. We tinkered with the shape so we could ask questions of Chasetown and, all the credit to the players, because they got it right.
"We haven't been prolific enough in front of goal this season, but everyone has played their part today and did everything that we asked of them.
"It was great to score so many goals and it will give us a real boost to our confidence. The first 45 minutes was as good as we have played this season.
"Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson has got a habit of scoring early goals and that really settled us down and made them chase the game.
"The performance shows what a great squad of players we've got and that they all believe in each other.
"There were so many positives. The performance had a real wow factor."
Fortnam-Tomlinson and skipper Jordan Smith were both brought back into the starting line-up after last weekend's goalless draw at Belper.
And, while lady luck wasn't in their favour last weekend as Stamford did everything but score, fortune deservedly shone on the Daniels in the opening stages.
After James O'Neill had produced a last-ditch tackle to prevent Tomlinson breaking clear in the opening seconds, Stamford took the lead after just four minutes.
Eliot Putman's well-struck shot was spilled by Chasetown custodian Curtis Pond and Fortnam-Tomlinson was alert to tap home the rebound.
The Daniels then doubled their lead after 20 minutes when Rob Morgan rose above the on-rushing Pond to head a cross field ball goal wards and, although Oli Hayward and James O'Reilly raced back to cover, they got in a tangle on the goal line and the ball squirmed into the net.
Stamford were now buoyant and they added a third goal five minutes later when Brad Wells cushioned a header into the path of Smith who swept home past the exposed Pond.
Chasetown did rally briefly with Daniel Cocks sending a decent effort just over the bar before they were handed a lifeline on the stroke of half-time.
The dangerous Cocks was clipped by Henry Eze as he looked to make space in the box, but Jack Langston blazed the resultant spot kick high over the Stamford crossbar.
Stamford then rubbed further salt into the Chasetown wounds with Fortnam-Tomlinson adding a fourth goal just four minutes into the second period.
Putman picked out the Stamford striker with an astute pass and Fortnam-Tomlinson produced a sublime turn before unleashing an effort that flew into the net with Pond rooted to the spot.
The goal spree continued four minutes later when Ben George and Morgan combined well in the box with the latter's cross picking out Brad Wells who converted for Stamford's fifth of the afternoon.
Haystead made a good one-handed save to deny Jacob Lovatt before Stamford rounded off their emphatic win with 12 minutes remaining.
Jon Challinor found fellow substitute Liam Adams in the box and the youngster showed excellent close control and skill to weave past several challenges before firing home past Pond as Stamford continued their excellent run of form against their fellow promotion candidates.
While the Daniels' six-goal spree will rightly take the plaudits, they also kept their 21st clean sheet of the season in all competitions.
Goalkeeper Haystead made a couple of crucial saves at vital times and Drury was full of praise for his number one.
He added: "I call Dan 'Steady Eddie.' He's made a really good save at 2-0 and kept his focus all game.
"I believed in him when we were at Boston United together when he was under pressure and he's been a massive player for us this season."