The Blues and Glassboys in engrossing stalemate
By Andy Chilton
Engrossing encounter at the Arden Garages Stadium ends scoreless
Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS, Photographs by GRANTY
Stratford v Stourbridge Saturday 29 December2018 3.00 pm, EvoStik Premier Division Central.
Stratford 0 Stourbridge HT 0-0)
• I pray you, Sir, is it your will to make a stale of me amongst these mates?
If football was a game of chess this was a game played between two Grand Masters resulting in an honourable stale mate. Table toppers, Stourbridge, included strikers Greg Mills and Luke Benbow with 23 EvoStik goals between them already this season. Stratford featured debutants, Dan Preston and Nabil Sharif.
If there were nerves in the Stratford ranks it didn’t show and it was a cohesive performance from the start. On 8 minutes Fry found Wilson on the right whose cross was cut out. This led to a Town free kick and from broken play McAteer had a fierce drive blocked. Stourbridge replied and Grocott and Sarkic nearly got themselves in trouble from a long through ball.
Defence and mid-field dominated and it was difficult for either side to fashion a clear opening. The game was fierce but fair and well managed by the officials but that didn’t stop Preston and McAteer picking up ‘yellows.’
The best chance of the half fell on 44 minutes to Stratford from a Grocott free kick. McAteer was on the end of it at the far post and his header seemed to be deflected by keeper, Niall Maher, onto the post before being scrambled away.
There was a quiet start to the second half with defences dominating again. On 54 minutes Fry linked with Richards who played Carvalho in on the left but his shot was blocked at the near post by Maher. Greg Mills began to work Lewis Wilson hard who was booked on 90 minutes for a foul too many. Luke Benbow had a goal bound effort turned aside for a corner by Sarkic.
At the other end on 69 minutes Wilson and Carvalho combined to play in Jimmy Fry whose shot was blocked leading to a corner. Preston and Grocott gave way for Dias and Benjamin and although the Glassboys may have shaded possession in the later stages of the game a goalless draw looked likely from a long way out.
There were murmurs of approval from both sets of fans as the gladiators left the pitch from a good natured and appreciative crowd of 620. Head of Football, Thomas Baillie, said, ‘the team fears no-one, We’re a good team and in the play-off mix.’ There was speculation about returning players, Isaac and Skendi, but in their absence this Town side remain an impressive unit.
Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS
| Stratford|| || Stourbridge|
| 9||Goal Attempts|| 11|
| 2||On Target|| 5|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 1||Hit Woodwork|| 0|
| 3||Corners Won|| 4|
| 7||Crosses into Box|| 5|
| 20||Fouls Conceded|| 11|
| 2||Off Side|| 1|
| 4||Yellow Cards|| 1|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Stratford Yellow Cards – Preston, McAteer, Wilson & Williams
Stourbridge Yellow Cards – Pierpoint
Man of the Match: Jordan Williams
• I pray you, Sir, is it your will to make stale of me amongst these mates? The Taming of the Shrew Act1 Scene1
Biggleswade (A) Tuesday 01 January 3.00pm EvoStik PDC
Alvechurch (H) Saturday 05 January 3.00pm EvoStik PDC