THE ROBINS FLY TOO HIGH FOR BELOW STRENGTH TOWN
Stratford Town – 2 – Parker 44 Glover 64
Evesham United – 3 – Dodd 16 Page 48 Maslen-Jones 57
Report by Bryan Hale
Tommy Wright had intended to field his first choice line-up in Town’s final pre-season friendly against Evesham United at the Arden Garages Stadium on Monday evening, but with several players being unavailable he instead had to make do with an experimental line-up which included Academy students Roman Faulkner, Mike O’Regan and Max Thomas while the Evesham squad included ex-Town players Brad Maslen-Jones and Mark Magee.
And with Evesham having ;plenty of experience in their ranks notably in the shape of the much travelled midfielder Lee Chilton it was enough for them to edge out Town in a game which eventually featured eight Town and seven Evesham substitutions.
Town started brightly forcing a couple of early corners followed by Cody Fisher whipping over a cross from the left which fizzed tantalisingly beyond the far post with no town forward close enough to apply the finishing touch.
A Mitchell Glover free kick then fell to Will Davidson who could only fire wide, but it was the Robins who went ahead in the 16th minute with what was effectively their first attack.
A Chilton corner from the left was deflected away for a corner on the opposite side with Evesham appealing frantically for a penalty as a Town defender appeared to guide it away with his hands.
But it nattered not as this time it was Adam Page who floated over the flag kick and Matty Dodd climbed above Town keeper Elliott Taylor to power his header into the empty net.
This gave the Robins the momentum with Chilton increasingly making his presence felt and for the remainder of the first half it was Evesham who looked the more threatening of the two sides.
Yet Town went close to levelling on 38 minutes when Glover’s fiercely struck effort from 25 yards out was only parried by Robins keeper Reece Francis who then recovered quickly enough to scoop the loose ball away as Dylan Parker looked to pounce on the follow-up.
Almost immediately at the other end Taylor did well to turn behind a Chilton piledriver but then a minute before the interval it was Chilton of all people who gifted Town an equaliser when he mishit a backpass intended for Francis allowing the alert Parker to lift the ball over the stranded keeper from a what was now a desperately narrow angle.
But three minutes into the second half the Robins were back in front when Dodd slipped the ball across to Page who found the bottom corner with an assured finish from 12 yards out
And they increased their lead in bizarre circumstances on 57 minutes when Glover lost possession halfway inside the Evesham half. Maslen-Jones looked up and spotting Taylor off his line thumped the ball forward with the crowd watching in amazement as it dropped behind the frantically backpedalling keeper into the net.
Glover though redeemed himself seven minutes later with a thunderous right footer which flew past the startled Francis to make it 3-2.
The three Academy graduates were introduced in the 71st minute before Chilton forced Town’s substitute keeper Sam Lomax into a decent low save getting down well to his left which proved to be his final contribution of the evening.
Another Evesham chance went begging with ten minutes to go when Magee burst through the middle only to have his shot blocked by Lomax who was smartly off his line to close him down.
But Town kept pressing and only a close range block from Francis in added time prevented Parker making it all square as the Robins hung on for the win.
STRATFORD : Elliott Taylor (Sam Lomax 60) , Will Davidson, Cody Fisher (Joel Gyasi 46), Dan Vann (Michael O’Regan 71), Yan Ofosu (Kieran Dawes 36), James Hancocks (c) (Roman Faulkner 71), Kurtis Revan (Lewis Wilson 46), Mitchell Glover (Max Thomas71), Nabil Shariff, Dylan Parker, Tai-Reece Chisholm (Ivor Lawton 60).
EVESHAM : Reece Francis, Junior Smikle, Tyler Weir (Danny Bragoli 21), Aaron Roberts (c), Brad Maslen-Jones, Nick Hancock (Joe Heywood 88), Matty Dodd (Lucas Price 88), Jack Creswell (Joe O’Neill 67), Dave Reynolds (Jordan Sangha 50), Lee Chilton (Mark Magee 76), Adam Page (Kai Tonge 50).
Referee – Andrew Heapy
Assistant Referees – Mikey Wright & James Gough
Match Stats By Rod Abrahams
|8||Crosses into Box||6|