Blues Blitz the Marketmen in battle of the play off contenders
By Andy Chilton
A brace of goals from Nabil Shariff and one from Jordan Williams see Town maintain their red hot play off form
Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS , Photographs by GRANTY
Stratford Town v Needham Market Saturday 19 January, 2019 3.00 pm
EvoStik Premier Division Central
Stratford 3 Needham Market 1
* O wonderful, wonderful…….
With a playing record in all matches under Head of Football, Thomas Baillie, of 20 wins, 7 draws and just 3 losses this victory over a classy Needham Market team was impressive. The purr of appreciation from the stands was only matched by that of the ‘gaffer’s’ He concluded it was the best 70 minutes of football in his reign as manager. He identified the return of Chris Cox and the mid-field hub of Fry, Oulton and Skendi as part of that dynamic.
It was Town who were first to threaten. Wilson Carvalho, who had an outstanding game, drifted in from the left in the first minute. His fierce shot was spilled by keeper Jessup, who reacted quickly as Shariff and Lewis Wilson were close by to pounce.
The mid-field triangle of Fry, Oulton and Skendi were bossing the middle of the park, allowing Cox to roam free down the right. On 22 minutes Oulton fired wide following good play but it was Needham Market who came closest to scoring on 25 and 33 minutes. First, Reece Dobson, was in on goal after a Town slip in mid-field which saw the excellent Etheridge turn away the striker’s shot for a corner. Then Luke Ingram slipped in the act of shooting when well placed.
This was to come back to bite Needham. First Albi Skendi drove into the heart of visitors’ defence before releasing Nabil Shariif in the inside right channel. His shot was dispatched with a minimum of fuss. Then on 45 minutes a Ross Oulton corner found Jordan Williams at the far post and it was 2-0 with the simplest of headers.
On 50 minutes Etheridge mad an outstanding, sprawling save from a Marsden header from an excellent Dobson cross. But the game was effectively sealed on 56 minutes when Carvalho found room on the left before putting in a telling cross where, man of the match Nabil Shariff, headed home in style.
As the half progressed Grocott, Barcelos and Kian Williams replaced Cox, Carvalho and Oulton and each was keen to impress with their running and progressive play. The one jolt was a penalty conceded on 78 minutes by Jordan Williams for a pull back. Joseph Marsden scored emphatically.
Deep in stoppage time James Baker saw a header strike the bar but game management by Stratford was once again impressive. So Town remain in 5th place and now look very likely play-off contenders. Heady stuff, indeed!
* O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful… As You Like It Act 3 Scene 2
Man of the Match: Nabil Shariff
Match Stas by ROD ABRAHAMS
| 12||Goal Attempts|| 6|
| 7||On Target|| 3|
| 1||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 1|
| 5||Corners Won|| 3|
| 11||Crosses into Box|| 4|
| 12||Fouls Conceded|| 7|
| 0||Off Side|| 0|
| 2||Yellow Cards|| 1|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Stratford Yellow Cards – Oulton & J Williams
Needham Yellow Cards – Kamanzi
Tuesday 22 January 7.45pm Alvechurch (A) EvoStik PDC
Saturday 26 January 3.00 pm Redditch (A) EvoStik PDC