Match Report & photos Stratford Town 1 v St Neots Town 0
By Andy Chilton
Will Grocott fires Town off to a winning start in compelling league opener
Match Report by Kevin Hand, photos by Granty , Match Stats by Rod Abrahams
Stratford Town v St Neots, Saturday 11 August, 2018 3.00pm
Evo-Stik Premier Division Central League at the Arden Garages Stadium.
Stratford Town 1 St. Neots Town 0 (HT 0-0)
Mamma Mia, here we go again! (Not Shakespeare)
There was a very positive atmosphere in the stadium as a crowd of 292 assembled for the first fixture of a new season. The omens were good in that of the 6 previous meetings between the two clubs Stratford were unbeaten having won 2 and drawn 4.
This was a much-changed team from 2017/2018 as Town fielded no less than 7 debutants with a further 3 on the bench. Captained by Jimmy Fry Town made a bright start and it wasn’t long before a long ball found its way to Powell who released Edwin Ahenkorah in the inside left channel. He shot narrowly wide across the face of goal. The Saints were straight back at Town and on 5 minutes Jimmy Fry had to be alert to block a goal bound shot.
As the game developed there were chances for both sides with the long throws of St. Neots Johhny Herd being troublesome. McAteer, Maslen-Jones and Nathan Vaughan at the back were quick to impress. In midfield Carvalho was a willing runner and when Callum Powell switched from right to left, his mesmeric quality was quickly evident.
It was the Saints who came closest to breaking the deadlock when, on 30 minutes, James Peters headed against the Town crossbar following another long throw from Herd. Inevitably, there were some misunderstandings in Town’s approach play but also pleasing passages of fluidity. Perhaps best passage play of all was on 43 minutes when Powell, Carvalho and Westwood combined to force a corner.
If the first half was ‘Even Steven’ Town dominated the second half. With just 4 minutes played Carvalho and Wilson combined to set up Grocott who fired home in style. Powell now cut free and another goal seemed on the cards but somehow never came. Ahenkorah broke free following a mistake by Daniel Olaniran but fired wide. Grocott had a fierce drive tipped over the bar for a corner and in stoppage time Carvalho carved open the Saints’ defence but his pass evaded substitute Luckie and Jimmy Fry following up shot wide.
The last passages of the game were extremely well-managed by Stratford and after the game manager, Darren Byfield, praised the team ethic and was delighted with 3 points and a clean sheet.
Marston Man of the Match – Bradley Maslen-Jones
|Stratford|| St Neots|
| 17||Goal Attempts|| 8|
| 5||On Target|| 2|
| 2||Blocked Shots|| 1|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 1|
| 10||Corners Won|| 6|
| 11||Crosses into Box|| 7|
| 8||Fouls Conceded|| 9|
| 5||Off Side|| 0|
| 1||Yellow Cards|| 0|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Stratford Yellow Cards – McAteer
St Neots Yellow Cards – None
Stratford Red Cards – None
St Neots Red Cards – None
Next up: Monday 13 August Stourbridge (A) 7.45pm