STRATFORD TOWN 4 HEDNESFORD TOWN 1
Ravin Shamsi 6, 63. Ben Bailey 45+6
Chris Wreh 12.
Kyle McFarlane 84.
After losing their last seven games Stratford Town beat 3rd place Hednesford Town, in an entertaining encounter at The Arden Garages Stadium on Tuesday night, with a sterling and determined performance for the win, to please the Town faithful fans.
There was only one change from the side that played Nuneaton, Ross Oulton coming in to replace Kiaro Edwards-John.
It was a quick fire start by Stratford as they went forward, and were two goals up inside the first 15 mins. First Chris Wreh, who caused the Pitmen’sdefenders some problems for most of the game, got down the right flank to the by-line and his low cross was duly converted by Ravin Shamsi at the far post to put Town in front in the 6thminute. It was Wreh again in the 12th minute, as he beat two defenders down the right, and from a tight angel his goal bound strike was deflected into the net by defender Kieran Morris as he tried to clear to give Town a two goal lead.
Being two down Hednesford started to put the pressure on Town, but were unable to get a break thorough, as they were foiled by Towns stout defending, well marshalled by Matt Bower and Dan Vann. Kieran Morris, Tom Elliott and the tricky Osebi Abadaki all had efforts on goal for the visitors, which were off target or easily dealt with by Town keeper Sam Lomax.
It looked as if Town would go in at the break with a 2 goal advantage, but it all changed in the 6th minute of added time. Tom Elliott’s free kick was deflected for a corner, and his flag kick was not dealt with by Stratford, and in the following melee Ben Bailey fired home the loose ball to get the visitors back in the game with the last kick of the half.
At the start of the second half, Ross Oulton, who had picked up a first half injury, was replaced by Kyle McFarlane.
The next goal would be important for both sides. It was the Pitmen who had the early pressure, Elliott headed wide from a good position 10 minutes into the half, but however it was Town who got the next vital goal. Dan Vanns clearance found Lewis Wilson in the inside right channel he outpaced the visitors defence and found Shansi who clinically beat the keeper as he came off his line to restore Towns 2 goal lead, and his second goal.
The Pitmen looked for a way back into the game. Town stopper Sam Lomax made a couple of good saves, turning a header from Dan Glover round the post, and then blocking his shot, the loose ball fell to Elliott, but luckily his shot went wide. Stratford wrapped the game up with 5 minutes left, with a carbon copy of the third goal, this time it was Shamsi who picked up the defensive clearance, and he set up substitute Kyle McFarlane who coolly beat keeper Wycherley with a quality finish. The Pitmen had a couple of chances in time added on. Elliott and Abadaki both had efforts that were smartly saved by Town custodian Sam Lomax as the final whistle went.
Overall an entertaining game and a much needed win for Town. A great performance, with some resolute defending, and quality finishing, against a strong Hednesford outfit. The Stratford Management team will be happy with this performance.
Stratford Town. Lomax, Vann, Woollard-Innocent, Richards, Bower, Rowley, Wilson, Oulton,(46 McFarlane), Wreh, (82 Ambris), Shamsi, (89 Hylton) Nabay.
Subs Not Used Bennett, Edwards-John.
Hednesford Town, Wycherley, Curley, O’Hanlon, Bailey, Morris, Hurst, Hodge, King,(51 Brown), Glover, Elliott, Abadaki,
Subs not Used Gatter, Reid, Fry, Hallahan,
REFREEE R Williams, Ass Ref M Cartwright, J Clarke
Match Report Rod Abrahams