Daniels keeping pace with rivals

Stamford AFC v AFC Fylde. Picture by Geoff Atton.'Photo: MSMP Stamford v AFC Fylde 3

Stamford AFC v AFC Fylde. Picture by Geoff Atton.'Photo: MSMP Stamford v AFC Fylde 3

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Stamford kept pace with their league rivals in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier league with a vital 1-0 win at home to Matlock Town on Tuesday night.

Stamford remain in 16th position on 49 points in the incredibly tight bottom half of the league.

Buxton and Ilkeston sit directly ahead of Stamford on the same number of points thanks to goal difference.

Grantham Town are just one point behind in 17th but the final relegation zone spot, occupied by Frickley Athletic is still only five points away.

Daniels manager David Staff said: “There are a lot of teams who can still get pulled into the relegation fight.

“A good team can finish in the relegation zone and we need to make sure it isn’t us.”

Staff was pleased to welcome back Ryan Robbins who has been easing his way back into action after suffering a thigh strain.

The striker has come off the bench in the last week and started for the first time since picking up his injury.

The Stamford boss said Robbins provides the X-factor to his side and it was evident for all to see on Tuesday night when he scored the game’s only goal to secure an important three points.

Robbins scored the goal in the 21st minute with a good finish from a tight angle.

Staff said: “It was good to have him back. He won us the game on Tuesday.

“He has come through it and we have him fit for the weekend so it seems we have managed the situation well.

“We were not at our best and we were not fluid in attack but it was a battling display

Staff said: “The win has revitalised us and a little bit of pressure has been taken off us. Otherwise we would have been going into a tough game at the weekend on the back of three loses.”

Stamford lost 3-1 to title-chasing Fylde on Saturday but largely because of errors from the Daniels.

Flyde went ahead in the fifth minute when Stamford’s Jack Ashton misjudged a ball over the top for Michael Barnes to set up giant Flyde striker Matthew Blinkhorn.

Nabil Shariff set up Ash Robinson, to smartly put the Daniels level in the 25th minute with a low strike.

The visitors retook the lead in the 31st minute when Sean Cooke took advantage of a defensive mix up between Daniels keeper Will Jones and skipper Richard Jones. Both men went for the ball but neither effectively cleared it and Flyde took advantage.

Just before the break a brilliant double save from Jones was not enough to stop Fylde notching a third. The second stop fell at the feet of Andrew Russell who put it away.

Staff said: “It was always going to be difficult against the in-form team in the league and they still have a chance of winning the title.

“Teams like that don’t need to be gifted goals like we did on Saturday.”

Stamford have little time to lick their wounds as they face the league’s high-fliers again on Saturday.

Staff added: “We need to learn from the our errors if we are to have any chance at the weekend.”

“We know a little about them but that does not make it any easier.