Bouyant Blues win five goal thriller
By Andy Chilton
Blues put on a show for the Town faithful and go unbeaten in the last 7 games
Stratford Town Football Club
Match Report by Kevin Hand
Stratford 3 Leiston 2 (HT 2-2)
Saturday 20 October, 2018 3.00 pm at the Arden Garage Stadium.
EvoStik Central Premier League.
• For now sits Expectation in the air
An impressive 7 game undefeated run and 10th in the league completed a wonderful transition from the ‘tricky’ start to the season. Thomas Baillie, Manager, has clear ambitions to be pushing for a ‘play-off’ spot come February/March. By contrast Leiston was in turmoil with manager Glen Driver leaving the club earlier in the week. A 5-1 thrashing to Kings Lynn on Tuesday was hardly an ideal preparation together with a long journey from Suffolk for today’s match.
Undaunted Leiston was much the faster out of the blocks and on 22 seconds took the lead without a single Town player touching the ball. From the kick off Leiston sliced through Town’s mid-field and the ball found its way out on the right. Byron Lawrence crossed and Christy Finch headed home from 6 yards with not a Stratford player him. Richard Walton got a hand to the ball diving low to his left but the ball trickled over the line.
The Town crowd was silenced but back on their feet after 7 minutes when Wilson Carvalho replied. Kieran Westwood worked the ball to Carvalho who wriggled his way into the area. His first shot was blocked but he quickly recovered to drill a low shot past keeper, Marcus Garnham.
From that moment the Boys in Blue took charge. There was neat passing between Wilson, Grocott and Taylor as the Leiston defence was constantly probed. The inevitable goal came on 23 minutes from a Grocott corner when Skendi was on hand to fire home from close range; his first club goal and received with popular acclamation.
As Town continued to dominate, Skendi again, Grocott and Cox threatened the Leiston goal. Then out of nothing on 36 minutes Leiston was level. A ‘nothing ball’ arrived at the feet of striker Jake Reid who turned the usually immaculate Jordan Williams. Reid’s shot deflected off Williams beyond Walton’s despairing grasp.
The second half saw Town make the faster start. Carvalho, Grocott and Fry combined to send Westwood clear on the left hand side op the area. His shot was turned aside for a corner.
The game slackened from the high tempo football of the first half and the Town defence had to be wary of a rugged and persistent Leiston side. Still Town pressed and on 61 minutes the wonderful Albi Skendi powered through the middle before delivering a rasping left footed drive. Garnham saved spectacularly high to his left. Then Taylor found himself alone 6 yards out but couldn’t connect with Cox’s floated cross from the right.
It was Wilson Carvalho on 68 minutes who made the decisive breakthrough. Persistent on the left again he worked the ball onto his right foot before scoring with a low drive..
Not that Leiston was finished. Jordan Williams had to make a wonderful recovery tackle as Jake Reid threatened. While in added time substitute Kynan Isaac might have wrapped the game up for Town. Cox showed wonderful touch on the right bringing down a long cross-field ball and then playing Isaac in. Isaac delayed a fraction and Garnham smothered his shot.
Thomas Baillie declared himself pleased with the developing shape of the team, fitness levels and growing team confidence. He also reported that the Club was close to adding an additional striker to the squad to support Mike Taylor.
Man of the Match: Wilson Carvalho
Next up: Alvechurch (A) Saturday 27 October FA Trophy
• Now sits Expectation in the air – Henry V The Prologue