A first half horror-show on a foggy Halloween night ensured Stamford AFC returned from Basford with a 3-2 defeat in the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South last night (Monday).
The Daniels fought back from 3-0 down to get themselves back in the game, and they could have even nicked a draw late in the day but the damage had been done before the break.
Stamford were fortunate early on that Tyrelle Shannon-Lewis’ radar was well off sync as he twice directed headers off target in the early moments. But a theme for the night was set as the visitors were caught on the break twice early on but Basford failed to punish them - but that would change.
Stamford striker Jevani Brown had the first effort of the match on target, curling the ball from the edge of the box after a second effort from a corner. But his crisp strike was well gathered by the home keeper.
What the Daniels didn’t know at that early point in the game was that was going to be their only shot on target before the interval.
Basford really should have had the lead on 10 minutes, a gorgeous diagonal ball caught out the Daniels defence and Courey Grantham had room for a free shot but he pushed it across the face of the goal.
In the 15th minute Basford got the goal that was coming, scored by centre back Reece Bertram at the third attempt from the hosts in quick succession, hit firmly from the edge of the box.
A second soon followed and it came from an all to familiar scenario, a corner fired into the box was poorly cleared by Stamford and former Daniels man Lewis Carr was on had to back heel it home in a great piece of improvisation.
It was not for a lack of effort but Stamford lost near enough every 50/50 ball in the first half and their passes were failing to stick time after time.
There was no width in the Daniels’ play and the front men looked isolated, registering just one shot on target before the break.
Stamford manager Graham Drury reacted at half time, bringing on Ollie Luto and Taylor Rhiney to provide some width, which they did.
But in the 63rd minute a horrible mistake by Stamford centre back Tom Batchelor effectively gifted United the game. His back pass went straight to Shannon-Lewis who raced away to score past Sam Donkin in the Stamford net for 3-0.
Just moments later Grantham went on a great run, skipping past several attempted challenges but he pushed his final shot wide.
Drury threw on Ryan Robbins and the striker made an immediate impact, getting behind the Basford defence for one of the first times on the night. He was eventually brought down on the edge of the box and Jake Duffy fired the resulting free-kick into the wall.
When it came, in the 74th minute, Stamford’s goal was a thing of beauty. An individual piece of brilliance from new signing Rhiney. He picked the ball up on the edge of the box, spun his man, cut in from the left and then curled the ball into the far side netting across goalkeeper Saul Deeney.
Stamford were now on top and five minutes from time Grant Ryan headed home to give the away side some hope.
Towards the end of the match visibility, because of the fog, was deteriorating, and despite Stamford’s spirited comeback Basford were already out of sight by the time the Daniels decided to turn up.
So that means Stamford have now lost their last three matches in a row ahead of their big FA Cup First Round proper match away at Hartlepool United on Sunday.
A nice aside from the match on Monday was that it was a record attendance of 379 at Basford’s Greenwich Avenue as the local football community turned out in force to support the club’s injured players fund, raising £4,540 for Jake Sheridan, Rob Duffy, Rob Darkin, who are all off work after getting hurt playing for the club. That’s non-league football at its best.
Basford United: Saul Deeney, Billy Bennett, Jamie Walker, Reece Bertram, Lewis Carr, Deon Meikle, Ashley Grayson, Kyle Dixon, Courey Grantham, Callum Smith, Tyrelle Shannon-Lewis.
Substitutes: Jack Wood, Jack Duffy, Robbie McNicholas, Ben Hutchinson, Jake Wood.
Stamford AFC: Sam Donkin, Delroy Gordon, Jon Challinor, Sam Hill, Tom Batchelor, Kern Miller (c), Ollie Brown-Hill, Jake Duffy, Grant Ryan, Jevani Brown, John King.
Substitutes: Lee Beeson, Ollie Luto, Taylor Rhiney, Ryan Robbins, Keenan King.
Referee: Lee Freeman