Daniels star striker Ryan Robbins scored on his return to action after a two month injury lay-off but even he could not prevent Stamford AFC falling to another loss on Saturday, going down 3-1 away at Manchester side Curzon Ashton.
The Daniels were also strengthened by the return of Nathan Fox, who came off the bench on the hour mark, but by that point in the game the result had already been settled.
Curzon Ashton are one of the league’s top sides, currently sitting in fourth position but the loss means Stamford have only won once since November, beating Buxton 2-1 away from home on January 3, and remain towards the bottom of the pile in 18th place in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division.
After the match Robbins said on Twitter: “[It was a] very bad result but on a personal note was good to get 80 minutes under the belt and a goal on my first game in two months, makes me hungry four more.”
Curzon Ashton started well and took little time in going ahead. Stamford stopper Andy Stevens made the first save of the game and Ryan Robbins, recovered after breaking his foot on November 22 in the Daniel’s final home match at Worthorpe Road, was quickly back in the thick of the action; flicking the ball on to set-up Jordan Smith but his shot was stopped by Hakan Burton in the Curzon net.
And Stevens was picking the ball out the back of his net after just seven minutes when a surging run down the right allowed Daniel Shaw to find a cross to the near post for Niall Cummins to finish.
Robbins was getting his eye in and just whistled a shot past the upright shortly after but the Daniels were under siege.
Stevens was called into action to save a free kick and then Chris Rowney beat the keeper with his shot but watched it strike the post. The Stamford keeper kept his side in the tie, again saving from a close-range volly by Matthew Warburton.
But on 29 minutes he was beaten from the spot after Jon Challinor conceded a harsh penalty for a foul on Cummins. Samuel Walker sent Stevens the wrong way as he smashed his shot high into net.
Stamford’s Nabil Shariff managed to escape the defence and bore down on goal but his shot was saved by Burton.
Any hope of a second half revival by Stamford was quickly put to bed when they conceded their third goal just five minutes after the break.
Warburton lost his marker to get free in the box and direct a shot past Stevens.
Robbins was Stamford’s top performer on the day and a strong run on 70 minutes gave him the chance to convert from the spot. The powerful striker burst down the left and cut in along the byline before being felled by Curzon’s Thomas Eckersley to win the penalty.
With the snow falling the Daniels pressed forward to find another goal and stage a remarkable comeback but it was not to be.
Stamford: Andy Stevens, Ryan Clarke, Lewis Carr, Maxence Loose (Dalton Bettles), Richard Jones (C), Tom Mcgowan, Jon Challinor, Joe Curtis, Nabil Shariff (Nathan Fox), Jordan Smith, Ryan Robbins (Charley Sanders). Subs not used: David Staff
Curzon Ashton: Hakan Burton, Daniel Shaw, Darren Thornton, Jonathan Hunt, Thomas Eckersley, Thomas Schofield, Chris Rowney, Samuel Walker (C), Niall Cummins (Mark Bett), Matthew Warburton, Ryan Brooke (Luke Horrocks). Subs not used: Remero Coley, Andrew Fitzgerald.
Referee: Paul Hodskinson