Stamford AFC’s new manager Andrew Wilson has patched up the Daniels’ leaking defence but is in urgent need of his side rediscovering their goal scoring form.
The Daniels were beaten 1-0 away at Ashton United in the Evo-Stik NPL on Saturday.
Ashton club captain Jay Gorton headed home a deep cross from Cavell Coo in the 26th minute to ensure his side did a league double over Stamford after their notorious 4-3 victory at the Zeeco Stadium earlier in the season which saw Richard Jones, Jordan Smith and Eddy Samba receive red cards. The consequences of that match are still being felt by the Daniels as Smith and Samba are still sidelined by the bans they received for their wrong-doing in the match.
New striker Aaron Hassall, who was signed on a month-long deal from Leicester City’s academy last week, started his first game for the club but could not find the back of the net on his debut.
Stamford started brightly, raiding down the wings to put dangerous crosses into the box
A deflected cross from Shaun Richards had Ashton goalkeeper Paul Phillips back pedalling to punch the ball clear and then Nathan Hicks had a good cross headed out by defender Liam Goulding.
Stamford new boy Hassall made some room for a shot when he cut inside but he fired well wide of the target.
Ashton came back into the game with Martin Pilkington and Chris Baguley both having shots blocked, the first by some brave defending the second by debut goalkeeper Enol Ordonez who came in between the posts while the outstanding Richard Knight sat out his ban following a red card.
At times the Daniels were moving the ball around nicely and some good passing set up a shot for Nabil Shariff but his strike on the turn was saved by Phillips.
However ten minutes later it was Shariff who lost the ball on the half way line and Ashton broke at speed down the wing and crossed for Gorton to score the only goal of the game.
Shariff almost made amends immediately, running onto a pass from Hassall but he saw his shot blocked for a corner which Hicks then headed over.
The pace of Shariff was causing the defence problems and a worried Gorton pulled the striker back as he attacked again, giving Stamford a dangerous free-kick.
Nathan Fox stepped up to take the set-piece and put his effort just wide of the post.
Ashton started the second half well and Dale Johnson fired a header over from a short corner.
However Hicks had a great chance to level the score for Stamford but missed the target by inches.
Chris Baguley went close twice for Ashton as the hosts had the better of the chances.
Stamford, boosted by the running of substitutes Jordan Neil and Dan Clements, were lively in the final ten minutes but all they had to show for it was an unlikely 30-yard effort from Hicks which dropped into the arms of Phillips.
Stamford could have stuck the ball in the back of the net in a last minute goalmouth scramble but when things are not going your way those loose balls fail to find their way in and so it proved.
So Stamford fell to their 10th loss of the season to drop back to second from bottom in the league.
The only good news is both Grantham Town and Colywn Bay also lost, both by 2-1 scorelines, meaning four points would get Stamford out of the relegation zone and they have at least a game in hand on the sides around them at the bottom to do it.
The Daniels are away to Rushall Olympic tomorrow night (Tuesday)
Stamford AFC: Enol Ordonez, Ellis Myles, Nathan Fox, Lewis Carr, Roger Lee, Shawn Richards, Nathan Hicks, Tom McGowan, Jon Challinor (c), Aaron Hassall, Nabil Shariff.
Substitutes: Jordan Neil, Will Rawdon, Dan Clements
Ashton United: Paul Phillips, Cavell Coo, Stephen Mason, Jason Gorton (c), Liam Goulding, Paul Marshall, Chris Baguley (Will Haining), Gary Gee, Martin Pilkington (Chris Sutherland), Dale Johnson, Adam Morning (Matty Chadwick).
Substitutes not used: Mark Lees, Stephen Halford.
Referee: Paul Hodskinson