Resolute Town move into play off postion with draw at Biggleswade
A defence dominated game see Town extend their unbeaten run
Match Report by MARK BICKLEY, Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS, Photographs by GRANTY
Town gave another resolute performance against 3rd placed Biggleswade in a New Year’s Day ‘local derby’. Their reward was to move into 5th and a play off spot.
Not even the most ardent Town followers would have predicted that at the end of August with only 5 points from their opening 5 games.
But this holiday period with 4 games in 11 days has shown how far Thomas Baillie’s side has come since then. Whilst the goalless draw against league leaders Stourbridge Saturday was high tempo and entertaining ….. this wasn’t.
Both sides looked to be suffering from the effects of playing on energy sapping pitches over the festive period, add to that two well organised and disciplined sides, chances were few and far between.
Town were without the absent Albi Skendi and the injured Chris Cox, who is out for several weeks with a hairline fracture. But back from suspension was Kynan Isaac who stepped in at right back.
Town started well and probably edged the first half but with Nabil Sharif alone upfront and having to rely on little quality service, Town created very few opportunities as the defences and midfield of both sides took a firm grip of the game.
The only real chance in the first half fell to the Waders on 40 minutes when the impressive Makoma found himself unmarked 6 yards out but failed to connect with his head and a relieved Town defence cleared the danger.
The second half followed a similar pattern but the first chance didn’t arrive until the 72nd minute when McNamara broke through but his shot cleared the bar. Waders started bossing more of the possession but despite that Isaac, Williams, McAteer and Fisher dealt with everything that came their way. What they didn’t sort then the Classy Matija Sarkic in the Town goal dealt with confidently.
Williams was replaced by Dan Preston after leaving the field with an injury and Dias and Richards joined the line up replacing the hard working Oulton and Carvalho.
The best chance of the half came in the 90th minute, McNamara broke through but his shot was well held by Sarkic who got all his angles spot on.
There was a sense of relief for the crowd of 221 when the referee brought proceedings to end. But both sides should feature in the play off chase come the end of the season. The central defence partnership of Tom Smith and David Long-King and Donovan Makoma in midfiled add some quality to the Waders side.
For Town another example of getting results when not at their best but the commitment and work rate is all there for everyone to see. On the day several candidates for Man of the Match but Jimmy Fry led from the front with a full on energetic display in midfield.
Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS
| 4||Goal Attempts|| 13|
| 1||On Target|| 5|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 0|
| 4||Corners Won|| 2|
| 4||Crosses into Box|| 5|
| 6||Fouls Conceded|| 10|
| 6||Off Side|| 2|
| 1||Yellow Cards|| 1|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Stratford Yellow Cards – Oulton
Biggleswade Yellow Cards – Longe-King
Next up; Alvechurch at home on Saturday match sponsored by ABM Catering