Daniels beaten in entertaining opening day goal-bonanza

Stamford AFC v FC United of Manchester. Greg Smith with Dan Clements  Photo: John Evely EMN-150323-141006001
Stamford AFC v FC United of Manchester. Greg Smith with Dan Clements Photo: John Evely EMN-150323-141006001

Stamford AFC let a 2-0 lead slip to eventually lose 6-3 away at Nantwich Town on Saturday in the opening game of the Evo-Stik NPL season.

It was the first time the Daniels have lost on the first day for the season since 2010.

Stamford’s star performer of the afternoon was probably goalkeeper Richard Knight which is saying something when he still shipped half a dozen goals, although the scoreline does not necessarily tell the whole story.

With Daniel’s skipper Richard Jones absent in central defence because of an ankle injury, Knight was busy from the kick-off; he was called into action to make a couple of decent saves as Nantwich started the better of the two sides.

However it was the visitors who were first to score, well kind of.

After 17 minutes Jon Challinor released Dan Clements who unleashed a first time shot goalswards, it was saved by Nantwick custodian Terry Smith but he could only push the stinging effort onto the legs of his right back Josh Gordon who ended up putting the ball in the back of his own net.

Clements was at the centre of the action for Stamford and just three minutes later he won a penalty, fooling the defender into diving in. Andy Hall did the honours from the spot, sending Smith the wrong way.

But Stamford conceded an ill-timed goal just before the break to give the hosts hope of getting back into the match which they were somehow losing.

Josh Hancock struck the ball across Knight for 2-1 at half time.

Nantwich come out for the second half in search of and equaliser and wasted little time in finding it with substitute PJ Hudson finding the back of the net with practically his first contribution to the game.

However Stamford were back in front midway through the second period, with Greg Smith, on as a substitute for the injured Nathan Fox, successful with a low drive into the corner of the net. The chance was created by tireless worked from Hall who had hurried Smith into making a poor clearance from an equally poor back-pass. It fell to Stamford’s Smith, Greg, and he made no mistake.

However Stamford were their own worst enemies. The lead lasted just four minutes as Nantwich were awarded a penalty for a foul on Steve Jones. Elliot Osborne sent Knight the wrong way from 12 yards to convert and bring it back to 3-3.

Jones then gave the hosts the lead in the 80th minute from a header.

Trailing for the first time in the match Stamford threw caution to the wind in search of at least a point from the match, however in the end it cost them another two goals in injury time.

Daniels debutant Edi Appleton was red carded for another foul in the box which Osborne converted and then with Stamford reeling Liam Shotton added insult to injury with a sixth goal for the hosts, tapping in at the back post.

Stamford host Rushall Olympic at the Zeeco Stadium on Tuesday night, kick-off 7.45pm.

Rushall started their league campaign with a 2-0 win over Ramsbottom United.

Nantwick Town: Terry Smith, Josh Gordon, Andy White, Darren Thornton (c), Mat Bailey, Eliot Osborne, Matty Kosylo, Sam Hall, Liam Shotton, Matt Bell, Josh Hancok.

Substitutes: Steve Jones, Jon Moran, Troy Bourne, PJ Hudson, Chris Smith

Stamford AFC: Richard Knight, Lewis Carr, Nathan Fox, Edi Appleton, Tom Batchelor, Andy Hall, Dan Clements, Cameron Powell, Jon Challinor, James Jepson, Jordan Smith (c).

Substitutes: Greg Smith, Ryan Robbins, Dalton Bettles, Eddy Samba, David Staff.