Stamford AFC draw at Marine

Action from Stamford AFC's win over Matlock Town. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-160103-104244001
Action from Stamford AFC's win over Matlock Town. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-160103-104244001

Stamford AFC moved up to 21st place in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League on Saturday night with a 1-1 draw away at Marine FC.

That leaves the Daniels two points from safety, with Hyde United sitting in 20th place and currently safe from the drop, three goals better off in goal difference as well, with five games remaining.

Stamford took the lead on Saturday when Sam Downey struck in the 16th minute but they managed to hold on to it for just two minutes as Christopher Sharp equalised for the hosts who also find themselves towards the bottom of the table but are now six points clear in 17th position.

In truth goal difference should be the only thing keeping the Daniels in the bottom four because they could, and maybe should have won on Saturday. They certainly had their chances, imposing themselves in the second half of the match.

Greg Smith set-up the first goal with a nice flick on to play in Downey, who excellently chipped goalkeeper Matthew Cooper to open the scoring.

However Stamford were undone from a set-piece, which has sadly been a familiar story this season even since the return of manager Graham Drury who undoubtedly has brought a renewed spirit to the side. A free-kick which curled away from the defence was delivered into the box by Charlie Barnett and Sharp out-jumped his marker to sneak a header inside the near post.

Callum Rzonca and Jack Wightwick were introduced for Stamford in the second half and made positive contributions but they could not make the breakthrough the side required.

Greg Smith missed a pair of headed chances before Jake Newman saw his shot agonisingly strike the crossbar when he had just Cooper to beat after being played in one-on-one with the home stopper.

Stamford travel to sixth place Stourbridge tonight (Monday).

Stamford AFC: Paul Bastock, Curtis Hartley, Ollie Luto, Jon Challinor (c), Tom Batchelor, Sam Hill, Sam Downey, Jake Duffy, Gregg Smith, Jake Newman, Jordan Smith.

Substitutes: Lewis Jackson, Lee Beeson, Jack Wightwick and Callum Rzonca.

Marine FC: Matthew Cooper, Stephen Wainwright, Andy Nicholas (c), Liam Goulding, James Foley, Liam Willis, Alex Davies, Charlie Barnett, Christopher Sharp, Chad Whyte, James Short.

Substitutes: Sean Myler, Andy Owens, Sean Hessey, Warren Bellew, Jack Hunter.

Attendance: 329

Referee: Mr Nick Greenhalgh