THE GLASSBOYS CLASS TELLS IN THE END
Stratford Town 1 Stuorbridge 3
Town completed their programme of pre-season friendlies on Tuesday evening when Stourbridge were the visitors to the DCS. Following Leamington and Evesham United the Glassboys were the third side from the Southern League Premier Division that Town have met in the last fortnight, and although it was a pretty even game for the first hour in the end Town were worn down by their extra touch of class.
Unusually Town lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Martin Thompson being joined up front by Nick Pollard and Josh McKenzie, but it was Stourbridge who were quickest into their stride with Ryan Rowe heading narrowly wide after only five minutes and then shortly after latching onto a long ball to close in on goal only to take one touch too many and allow Town keeper Tom Cross to smother the ball at his feet.
But once Town settled down it became an absorbing contest with both sides looking to play some decent football on the billiard table surface. The lively Pollard was the pick of the front three with some pacy runs, while Chris Murphy caught the eye with plenty of hard running in midfield and Danny Haynes and Adam Cooper again seemed unruffled in the centre of the Town back four.
Scoring chances were however few and far between with both defences generally on top and the interval was reaches goalless, but it was probably a sign that both managers were taking this game more seriously than a normal pre-season practice match when no substitutions at all were made at half time, and the game continued much as before until the Glassboys went ahead on the hour mark.
Just before Haynes had done well to cut out a dangerous left wing cross from Drew Canavan and when Canavan once more got the better of Karl fellows his whipped-in centre was turned past Cross from close range by the predatory Rowe.
Five minutes later Town were back on level terms when the busy Pollard floated over a looping cross from near the right corner flag and with the Stourbridge defenders concentrating on Thompson and McKenzie the alert Murphy nipped in to head firmly past the startled Lewis Solly.
The inevitable changes were now being made and in the last quarter of an hour Stourbridge's greater strength in depth was apparent. They regained the lead in the 76th minute when Rowe's header came back of the post and Dave Plimston reacted quickest to fire the loose ball into the roof of the net, and after Cross had made a couple of smart saves to keep out useful efforts from Mahon and Plimston they completed the scoring in the final minute with a Lyndon Dovey spot kick after Mahon had been brought down by Ryan Parisi.
As alwaysr in these matches it is the performance rather than the bare result that matters most, and Morton Titterton was in a fairly buoyant mood afterwards. " There are plenty of positives to take from this evening" he enthused. " We had six important players missing for various reasons and still competed well which shows that the squad is moving in the right direction."
TOWN : Cross, Fellows, Coleman (Parisi 73), Alsop, Cooper, Haynes (Reeves 73), McKenzie (Ruff 80), Faulds, Thompson (Baker 67), Pollard, Murphy. Unused Sub - Morris (GK)
Report by Bryan Hale