Stamford barely managed a shot on target last night (Tuesday) as they slumped to a hugely disappointing 1-0 lost to Curzon Ashton in the Evo-Stik NPL.
The Daniels, who are fighting to avoid the relegation zone, were second best in most areas, struggling to get hold of the ball and spend any time in their opponent’s half. Just the back four of captain Richard Jones, centre back Tom Batchelor, left back Nathan Fox and right back Lewis Carr had a respectable night and even they somehow managed to allow a sloppy goal.
For their dominance Curzon had not really managed to significantly threaten the Stamford goal early on but in the 35th minute a low drilled-in cross was not dealt with and Niall Cummins smashed the ball in.
Stamford rallied late, with replacement striker Courtney Meade making an impact when he came on for Greg Smith just after the break. They could have even snatched a point and many of those left in the ground in the final minute, and it was probably less than half of 265 who braved the cold at that point, thought they had. Batchelor rose highest to a good cross and connected with a header which saw the net ripple but his effort had struck the side netting.
He stayed down on the ground after the shot - disbelieving and despairing at what could have been.
The only good news for Stamford is they remain in 19th place in the league with 43 points.
It was a mixed night of results for Stamford on Tuesday who now very much are looking at what the sides around them are doing. Frickley Athletic remain in 21st place, the final relegation spot, after drawing 1-1 at home to King’s Lynn Town, however their one point does mean that if they win their game in hand over the Daniels they would leap-frog them.
Nantwich Town in 20th place didn’t play last night but are in the same position, they have one point less than Stamford with 42 points so if they win their game in hand they will also move ahead.
The harsh reality of that is Stamford’s fate is no longer in their hands. If all their relegation zone rivals win their remaining games the Daniels will finish in the bottom four - in which case only a possible league restructuring which is being proposed and may result in fewer teams going down, would save them.
Ramsbottom United, just one place ahead of Stamford in 18th, lost 1-0 at home to Barwell so remain on 45 points, however they still have four games in hand.
A 3-2 win for Witton Albion at home to Rushall Olympic pulled them up to 15th.
Stamford have six games remaining starting with a must win game on Saturday away at 22nd place Marine.
The Easter bank holiday weekend brings third place Ashton United to Borderville and on the Monday the Daniels make the short trip to 13th place Grantham Town for a derby with even more significance than usual.
After that Stamford play 16th place Whitby Town at home on April 11, then travel to league leaders FC United of Manchester on April 18 before concluding their season at home to 15th place Witton Albion on April 25.