FOOTBALL: Super stopper Donkin unable to save Stamford AFC

Action from Stamford AFC v Belper Town. Photo: Geoff Atton
Action from Stamford AFC v Belper Town. Photo: Geoff Atton

Stamford AFC’s search for consistency goes on as they were beaten 1-0 at the Zeeco Stadium on Saturday by Belper Town. If it had not been for the magnificent Sam Donkin in goal it could have been an awful lot more.

The visitors took the lead just two minutes before the break with a free kick from Jonathan Williams. The chance for the goal was created when Ruben Wiggins-Thomas was pulled to the ground just outside the box. Williams crashed his set-piece effort into the Stamford wall, but the deflection took the ball away from Stamford stopper Donkin and saw the net ripple.

Action from Stamford AFC v Belper Town. Photo: Geoff Atton

Action from Stamford AFC v Belper Town. Photo: Geoff Atton

After his heroics up until that point it was a harsh way for the young goalkeeper to be beaten.

In truth the Nailers were on top in the first half of the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South tie, spending large spells in the Stamford half and creating chances. Only some heroics by Donkin and his defence had kept Belper out until that point.

Earlier in the half Williams had seen a goal-bound shot cleared off the line by the desperate home defence and then Donkin saved a powerful shot from Evan Garnett.

The danger was not over as the ball was still in play and Donkin was called upon again to push out a second shot on his goal in quick succession from Garnett.

Garnett was then set free to go one-on-one with Donkin but the Stamford keeper stood firm to keep the game scoreless. But then Williams got a slice of luck before half time and the visitors went in at the break with the lead.

Stamford were given just a week’s notice that they had to play this game, which was hastily arranged, and they looked under cooked in the first half as well. But the home side were much improved in the second half with Courtney Meade causing problems down the left flank. The Daniels striker tested Scott Low in the Belper net on a couple of occasions but the visiting stopper was more than a match for his best efforts.

Late in the day Graham Drury’s side made a late bid for a share of the points with increased pressure from a series of corners, the best of which was a header from Delroy Gordon which looked on target but Low tipped the header away with a good save.

The Daniels remain in 15th place in the table but will be disappointed they have failed to take points off a side who started the day just one point ahead of them in the standings.

With a trip to bottom of the table Northwich Victoria up next on Sunday, kick off 3pm, it is a great chance to get back to winning ways for Stamford.

Stamford AFC: Sam Donkin, Curtis Hartley (John King, 82 mins), Chris Hollist (Gary King, 74 mins), Jon Challinor, Delroy Gordan, Chris Salt, Jordan Smith, Jake Duffy, Grant Ryan, Courtney Meade, Karl Whymark (Josh Nodder, 46 mins). Subs not used: Ollie Luto, Sam Hill.

Belper Town: Scott Low, Dominic Allen, Jonathan Guy, Eric Graves (c), Dean Freeman, Philip Watt, Evan Garnett, Michael Armstrong, Ruben Wiggins-Thomas, Jonathan Williams, Alex Sreadman. Subs: Laurence Constable, Josh Thornton, Haydyn Goddard, Matthew Richards, Mark Rathbone.

Referee: Mr Wayne Cartmel

Attendance: 207