Stamford 4 Cleethorpes Town 4
By David Simpson
BATTLING OWLS MAKE POINT
On a beautiful late Summer’s day, Clee made the trip to south Lincolnshire to tackle the league leaders. Stamford boasted a 100% record from their first 3 matches and they also drew in the FA Cup against Peterborough Sports.
The Owls were still searching for the elusive first win of the campaign but a much-improved performance against Frickley Athletic gave the travelling faithful reason to be cautiously optimistic.
With Brody Robertson suspended and Danny North & Paul Walker injured, the line-up was as follows:
Goal: Dylan Parkin
Defence: Sam Topliss, Matt Bloomer, Mark Gray, Tom Davie
Midfield: Lewis Collins, Craig Disley, Alex Flett (captain), Jonathan Oglesby
Attack: Scott Vernon, Josh Batty
Subs: Laurence McKay, Oli Donald, Tim Lowe, Luke Aldrich
The Daniels started on the front foot and went ahead in the 6th minute. After Davie had been booked for a trip on the right edge of the area, the ball eventually fell to Jordon Cooke 12 yards out. Difficult to know if the scuffed free-kick routine had been rehearsed or was down to luck but, either way, the defender was allowed far too much space and made no mistake with a low shot.
Clee’s first attacking moment involved Batty and Oglesby, as they combined well before the latter fired wide. However, the same pair were instrumental as the Owls equalised after 24 minutes. Batty’s firm header from 8 yards was pawed away by Danny Haystead but winger Jon Oglesby was lurking to steer the ball home.
Parity only lasted 90 seconds though before a 30-yard screamer from Joe Burgess restored Stamford’s advantage. Worse was to follow in the 31st minute, when a long throw from the left flank was unfortunately headed into his own net by Mark Gray.
The leaders were now well on top and they had far more rhythm to their play than the disjointed Owls. Nonetheless, the away side thought they were back in it with 36 minutes on the watch.
Vernon won a header and Oglesby volleyed spectacularly home. Clee’s celebrations were cut short, after the referee awarded a free-kick against Vernon. Very harsh on the front man who appeared to have won the challenge cleanly.
HT Stamford 3 (Cooke 6, Burgess 26, Gray og 31) Cleethorpes Town 1 (Oglesby 24)
Two interval substitutions for the visitors saw Donald and McKay come on for Gray and Davie respectively.
With the words of Marcus Newell doubtless ringing in their ears, Clee began purposefully after the interval. Unfortunately, play was soon brought to an abrupt halt by a sickening clash of heads between McKay and Burgess. It was the Stamford man who came off worse and, after a lengthy delay, the goalscorer was stretchered away.
The Owls were now having plenty of possession but the encounter had become scrappy, with Stamford seeming to take an age with their set-pieces. The referee did not see anything amiss though and the closest Clee came was a lob from man-of-the-match Jon Oglesby (kindly sponsored for the season by Darren Cordingley) onto the roof of the net.
A lifeline did deservedly come after 66 minutes. Good team play cut open the Daniels’ defence and Lewis Collins was on hand to calmly finish. Agonisingly, and for the second occasion of the afternoon, Stamford almost immediately scored. Once again, the Owls were the architects of their own misfortune. Confusion reigned at the back and Bradley Fortnam-Tomlimson nipped in to seemingly settle matters.
Far from being outdone, Clee responded with great heart and a Jon Oglesby header reduced the deficit after 74 minutes. There was a sense around the Zeeco Stadium that the Owls could now gain some reward.
A final roll of the dice from the management immediately after the goal, with striker Aldrich entering the field at the expense of midfielder Disley. The Lincolnshire derby was becoming very feisty and captain Flett saw yellow. Shortly afterwards however, the Daniels were reduced to ten, when Rob Morgan got two bookings inside three minutes.
It was back to the walls now for the homesters with Clee piling on the pressure. The reward came after 86 minutes, when a penalty was awarded. With regular taker North absent, Scott Vernon took on the responsibility. After what seemed like an eternity for the arguments to die down, the big striker remained cool to stroke the ball home.
There was still plenty to unfold in the 8 additional minutes allowed by the officials. Substitute Oli Donald saw red for a dangerous tackle in centre park and Aldrich also received a caution. Both teams had chances to snatch it at the death but the ninth goal would not come and it finished a point apiece.
HT Stamford 4 (Cooke 6, Burgess 26, Gray og 31, Fortnam-Tomlinson 69) Cleethorpes Town 4 (Oglesby 24, 74, Collins 66, Vernon 86 pen) Attendance: 289
Another high-scoring draw! Two ways of looking at it from my perspective – great to score four goals away from home but obviously not so good at the back. Early days still and, with some of the new arrivals taking time to settle, a point at the league leaders is not to be sniffed at.
After a hard run of fixtures against some of the promotion favourites, the next few Evostik matches look more favourable (on paper at least!).
A break from the league now, with our FA Cup Preliminary Replay against Loughborough University tomorrow (Tuesday - 7.45pm). Extra time and penalties if necessary to settle the tie, with the winners at home to Walsall Wood on Saturday (3pm).
Support has been superb at the New Linden, so please come down to cheer us into the next round. Please remember, as per FA rules, it is “all pay”. Adults £8, concessions (over 65 and 16-18) £4, under 16s £2.
UP THE OWLS!