Draw drops Daniels back into the relegation zone

Action from Stamford AFC's 3-1 defeat to Carlton Town in the Doodson League Cup, at the Zeeco Stadium. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-161102-094041001
Action from Stamford AFC's 3-1 defeat to Carlton Town in the Doodson League Cup, at the Zeeco Stadium. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-161102-094041001
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Stamford AFC drew 0-0 at home to Marine on Saturday causing them to drop back into the relegation zone in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

With both sides struggling towards the foot of the table the game had been built up to be a relegation six pointer, but as is so often the case in games with so much riding on them it was a disappointingly disjointed affair with both sides effectively nullifying the other.

With just the one point from the match Stamford dropped back in to the bottom four, moving down to 21st position. They now trail Whitby Town by a point, who beat Buxton 1-0 on Saturday and Marine by two points, having played more games than both.

Mickleover Sports, who sit in 22nd spot a point behind the Daniels, kept the pressure on as well with a 3-1 win over bottom side Ramsbottom United. Colwyn Bay, 23rd, remain in trouble having lost 1-0 to Grantham Town on Saturday.

However because of the games in hand Stamford find themselves in a very dangerous position once again. Effectively their fate is now out of their own hands. It’s unlikely but if all the sides around them continue to win then the Daniels will be relegated.

However they still have eight games left to put themselves in the best possible position. The only problem is that starts with league leaders Blyth Spartans at the Zeeco on Saturday, followed by a trip to seventh placed Barwell on Easter Monday.

At the weekend it was a case of the defences being well on top at the Zeeco with Stamford centre back Paul Malone leading the way with another dominant performance.

That was fortunate as well because there was a distinct lack of goalmouth action at the other end of the field.

In fact both the Daniels’ best chances fell to the more defensive Sam Hill.

Hill almost opened the scoring when he sent a half volley just wide of the Marine goal in the first half.

For most of the match Stamford struggled to get behind the Marine defence and striker Jake Newman was isolated up front.

Daniels goalkeeper Paul Bastock had to pull off one impressive save to earn his clean sheet, saving Sean Myler’s close range effort after the break.

In the second half Marine threatened occasionally on the counter attack and won free-kicks to gain possession. But in the final moments the hosts could have snatched it when Hill stepped up to hit a free-kick in a dangerous position, but his curling effort was just off the mark.

It was not a classic by any means, with chances few and far between, which is a pity considering Stamford managed to create openings against second place Darlington in midweek. The Daniels and their fans now have an agonising wait to see how tough their job to avoid the drop will be as all their rivals at the bottom play on Tuesday night while they have the evening off. Colwyn Bay play Buxton, Mickleover Sports take on Workington, Marine are away to Ramsbottom and Sklemersdale host Whitby Town.

Stamford: Paul Bastock, Taron Hare, Oliver Luto, Paul Malone, Sam Hill, Curtis Hartley (Sam Downey), Lee Beeson (Callum Rzonca), Jake Duffy, Greg Smith, Jake Newman, Jordan Smith (Jack Wytewick).

Substitutes not used: Tom Batchelor, Jon Challinor.

Marine: Matthew Cooper, James Short, Andy Nicholas, Liam Goulding, James Foley, Liam Willis, Alex Davies (Andy Owens), Sean Myler, Danny Mitchley, Chris Sharp, Lewis Codling.

Substitutes not used: Warren Bellew,

Man of the match: Paul Malone

Attendance: 407

Referee: Mr Mark Jones