Stamford draw in a battle of the bottom two

Action from Stamford AFC v Halesowen Town. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-151021-152923001
Action from Stamford AFC v Halesowen Town. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-151021-152923001
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In a preverbal relegation battle ‘six pointer,’ where victory for either struggling side would have greatly helped their cause at the bottom of the table, Stamford AFC had to make do with a share of the points at Ramsbottom United on Saturday.

The Daniels went behind in the 24th minute from the penalty spot after former FC United of Manchester striker Shelton Payne was fowled by Stamford’s Jason Field in the box. He dusted himself off to score the spot kick, calmly stroking the ball past skipper for the day Ashley Timms between the sticks.

However the lead was short lived as the visitors levelled just two minutes later with Elliot Hodge hitting his first goal for the Daniels.

Some terrible defending by Ramsbottom saw Stamford have four quick shots on goal in succession, eventually scoring through Hodge who slid the ball under the keeper.

Stamford could have taken the lead moments later from a set piece of their own. The Daniels won a free kick for a handball in a dangerous area and Lee Beeson found the target only to be denied by keeper Grant Shenton who tipped the ball around the post.

Stamford threatened from a corner but the ball would not fall kindly and up the other end Aaron Smith and Payne both wasted chances to put the Rams in the lead.

The pouring rain only got worse in the second half. Payne had a great chance to give the hosts the lead when he met a cross from the right but he could only put the ball over the crossbar. It was one of two good chances he failed to take after the break.

Both sides’ defences were largely on top in the second half and Stamford’s organisation at the back was undisturbed despite Lewis Carr replacing the injured Field.

And it was the Daniels who had perhaps the best chance to win it. Duffy delivered a cross from the right and an unmarked Jordan Smith had a free header at the back post but he could only put it wide of the mark.

In the closing moments Timms had to make a decent stop to ensure Stamford went home with something from the game.

The point does little for the Daniels’ efforts to get out of the bottom four as they remain second from bottom of the Evo-Stik NPL, above only Ramsbottom, and at least seven points from safety.

Stamford host Barwell on Boxing Day at the Zecco Stadium (3pm ko) next.

Stamford AFC: Ashley Timms (C), Ellis Myles, Jason Field, Tom McGowan,Tom Batchelor, Brad Gascoigne, Lee Beeson, Jake Duffy, Greg Smith, Jordan Smith, Elliot Hodge

Subs:- Lewis Carr, Kallum Nix, Korey Nix, Andre Johnson, Jack Drury (gk).

Ramsbottom United: Grant Shenton (C), Prince Haywood, Luke Heron, Marcus Poscha, Nia Bayunu, Alex Meaney, John Pritchard, David Kuba-Kuba, Jordan Bove, Aaron Smith, Shelton Payne

Subs: Michael Oates, Liam Gibson, Robbie Bromley, Jake Cliffe, Matthew Crothers.

Referee: Mr Justin Hayes

Attendance: 177