Shaun Richards scored his first goal for Stamford AFC since returning from a year-long injury layoff last night (Tuesday) but it was not enough to earn the Daniels victory at the Zeeco Stadium.
Stamford’s wait for a first win at home in the league this season goes on as they went down 2-1 at home to Halesowen Town.
Despite more defensive improvements both of the visitor’s goals came from the Daniels failing to clear the ball effectively.
The loss, Stamford’s ninth of the season after 15 matches, means they have only won twice at home in the Evo-Stik NPL in the last 12 months. No wonder the team were almost relegated last season and find themselves in 22nd place and four points from safety this season.
Both teams had early chances on Tuesday with an Ellis Myles cross creating an opening for Stamford’s Tom McGowan in just the first minute but the midfielder put his header wide.
Halesowen then responded a minute later, intercepting a poor pass Aaron Daniels was played in one-on-one with Stamford goalkeeper Richard Knight who had another excellent display between the posts. Daniels tried to chip the keeper but his effort drifted wide.
Halesowen were getting their eye in, Keyon Reffell fired over for the visitors before Knight denied Daniels with a save.
Myles was busy for Stamford and again he delivered a dangerous cross which Halesowen keeper Daniel Platt failed to deal with sparking a goal mouth scramble but nothing came from it.
Stamford began to impose themselves on the game and both Myles and Roger Lee had efforts from distance.
While Stamford were on top, Knight was called upon to make an outstanding save at full stretch from a Rob Elvins header at a corner.
Challinor, who was captain again after recovering from his ankle injury, then looked in prime position to tap in from a Nathan Hicks ball across goal but a Halesowen defender managed to intercept the ball and cut out the danger. With the first half coming to a close Knight pulled off another outstanding save to keep the scores at 0-0.
However seven minutes after the break the visitors took the lead. Dan Bragoli was in the right place to fire home after Stamford failed to clear a dangerous ball into the box.
The Daniels came to life after going behind and Nabil Shariff went close with a header shortly after.
It came as no surprise that Myles was the inspiration for Stamford’s equaliser. He beat two defenders with his pace and agility before delivering a perfect cross for Richards to head home in the 62nd minute.
However 12 minutes later Halesowen struck the winning goal. Daniels saw his initial shot saved by Knight but substitute Jean-Michael Gueyes burried the rebound with his first touch of the match.
Stamford had half chances through Hicks, Fox and Richards to earn a draw but none of them could find the target and when they did someone was in the way to block it.
The Daniels face three consecutive away games now, starting with a trip to Ashton United on Saturday. With their home form as bad as it is maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Stamford AFC: Richard Knight, Ellis Myles (Will Rawdon), Nathan Fox, Roger Lee (Dan Clements), Lewis Carr, Dominic McGarr, Shawn Richards, Tom McGowan (Jordan Neil), Nabil Shariff, Nathan Hicks, Jon Challinor.
Halesowen: Dan Platt, Luke Connolly, Aaron Griffiths, Jay Denny, Joe Hull (Rob Elvins), Bradley Lewis, Asa Charlton, Daniel Bragoli, Keyon Reffell, Aaron Daniels (Isaac Cooper), Reece Hales (Jean-Michael Gueyes). SUBS unused: Kyle Morrison and Matthew Sargeant.
Referee: Mr M Smith