“In difficult circumstances the Stratford players conducted themselves far better than Tamworth’s” – Paul Davis

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“I’m proud of my players and told them to hold their heads up” was the reaction of Paul Davis to the controversial incidents which had such an impact in their loss to Tamworth.

“The penalties and sending offs obviously changed the game.   I’m not even sure the first penalty was a penalty at all let alone a red card offence but the trouble is that referees don’t fully understand what an attempt to play the ball is or what a goalscoring opportunity is plus the fact that the Tamworth player was heading away from goal.

And when the keeper was sent off I was disappointed that the ref produced the red card instantly without pausing to reflect on what exactly had gone on.

Having talked in the dressing room at half time our aim in the second half was to try to play for a 1-1 draw, and 15 minutes into the second half that is what we were doing.  I then tinkered with our shape to try to give us a bit more presence higher up the field but that didn’t work and they went on to get another penalty which was probably more of a penalty than the first one.

So changing the shape was wholly down to me and I’m happy to  apologise to the players for that.

After they went 3-1 up the game was dead and that suited us.   If we were playing against nine men for over half a game I would expect us to score five or six and if we had players of Tamworth’s quality I would expect us to score seven or eight so to restrict them to only three is testament to how well we competed.

It was a hard night for us but they all did magnificently.  We had players playing out of position such as Nabil at right back and Lewis at left back while Matt Bower did exceptionally well in goal and Dan Vann was different class in the middle.

And in difficult circumstances they all conducted themselves far better than Tamworth’s and I’m sure the supporters recognised that.

We must now look forward to the Trophy tie against Hednesford on Saturday.  I watched them last weekend and they are a well organised and well drilled side who are hard to break down and favour the long ball going forwards.

It will be a stiff challenge and we will need to set ourselves up properly to  combat them, but I’m convinced that we now have the squad to deal with their threat and I’m confident that we can get the right result.”

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