FOOTBALL: Penalties cost Stamford AFC away at Leek Town

Action from Stamford AFC v Market Drayton Town. Photo: Geoff Atton
Action from Stamford AFC v Market Drayton Town. Photo: Geoff Atton

Stamford AFC fell to their second straight defeat in the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South on Saturday, conceding two goals from the penalty spot in a 3-1 loss away at Leek Town.

It took just six minutes for the play-off chasing Leek Town to open the scoring at Harrison Park.

The Daniels initially managed to clear the ball out of the box from a dangerous cross, but Jon Challinor could only get it away as far as Town’s Jonny Higham who passed to Sam Grimshaw. The striker hit a shot from just outside the penalty box and it bounced in front of the slightly unsighted Stamford goalkeeper Sam Donkin, and ended in the back of the net.

For a keeper of Donkin’s quality it was a poor goal to concede.

The homeside we on top in the opening quarter and Niall Maguire and Tom France both could have extended their lead, shooting wide and over the bar respectively before the first of the penalties was awarded and scored in the 22nd minute.

Another cross caused the damage, this time hitting a Stamford player on the arm. Referee Edward Pidduck originally signalled for a corner but after speaking to his assistant pointed to the spot where Sam Grice beat Donkin with a firm strike low into the corner which got pass the stopper even through he guessed the right direction of the spot kick.

The Daniels failed to pose much threat to the Leek goal before the break, their best effort was a long distance effort from skipper Jordan Smith which he dragged wide of the goal.

However after the break Stamford showed more fight as they searched for a way back into the tie.

Challinor was the man close to opening the scoring for the Daniels. His first chance came from a deep free kick into the box from Curtis Hartley, the ball was headed goalwards but blocked into the path of Challinor who hit the ball first time on the volley only to see it clear the cross bar, causing him to yell in frustration at wasting a golden chance.

But momentum was building and moments later Challinor almost forced an own goal. Grant Ryan broke down the right wing and whipped in a devilish cross into the front post where Duffy was waiting - the midfielder leapt with the defender assigned to mark him and while the Leek man got his head on the ball he misjudged it and the ball dangerously skimmed off the top of his head and just over the cross bar.

Eventually Stamford’s pressure paid off with Challinor involved again. He delivered a peach of a ball into the box in the 58th minute and Ryan hooked a volley past Ben Chapman. It was an excellent and inventive piece of skill from the striker to give his side some hope of getting something from the game.

But just 10 minutes later a second penalty ensured the homeside would get all three points, a heavy tackle brought down Grimshaw in the box and Tim Grice converted into the bottom right-hand corner from the spot.

Donkin made an excellent full-length save in stoppage time to deny Grice a hat-trick, would have been the striker’s second in the space of a week.

Stamford sit in 15th place in the table and host another playoff contender on Saturday when Basford United visit the Zeeco Stadium on Saturday.

Stamford AFC: Sam Donkin, Curtis Hartley, Liam Marshall, Mahmoud Juma, Delroy Gordon, Sam Hill, Laurie Wilson, Jon Challinor, Grant Ryan, Jordan Smith (c), John King.

Subs: Chris Hollist, Rogan McGeorge and Jack Oldham.

Leek Town: Ben Chapman, Danny Smith, Alex Morris, Peter Williams, Mackenzie Faulkner, Nial Maguire (c) (Ant Danylyk, 76), Tom France (Chris Budrys, 80), Johnny Higham (Dan Shelley, 63), Tim Grice, Rob Stevenson, Sam Grimshaw

Unused subs: Toby Mullarkey, Jon Beaumont

Referee: Edward Pidduck

Attendance: 203