Match Report by ROD ABRAHAMS, Photos by GRANTY & WOODY
STRATFORD TOWN 6 BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS 1
Joseph Lyng 23 OG Jack Skinner 47
Liam Hughes 36 Pen
Nabil Shariff 59, 62, 89,
Callum Ball 90+1
A Nabil Shariff hat-trick saw Stratford Town progress to the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup, with a comfortable win over MFL side Boldmere St Michaels, at the Arden Garages Stadium, and are in the draw for the next round on Monday.
There were several changes to the Town side after the disappointing defeat by Biggleswade Town, including Ross Oulton making his first start since last season following a long injury.
There was an early chance for Town in the 2nd minute, when Shariff just failed to get a touch to a low cross from Chris Wreh. The visitors responded with former Town player Simeon Tulloch, sending a lob over the bar after some hesitancy in the Town defence, and then he saw his powerful header from Jack Burgess cross go just wide with Town stopper Elliott Taylor beaten.
Stratford started to take control and duly took the lead in the 23rd minute, when an inswinging Ross Oulton free kick from the left, was diverted into his own net by Joseph Lyng. Town went two up in the 36th minute, when Liam Hughes slammed a spot kick down the middle, to give keeper Harry Buttery no chance, after Kurtis Revan was brought down in the box by Barry Healey. Shots from Owen Parry and Alister Brauns were wide and an easy save for the Town keeper for the Mikes, to bring the half to a close.
At the restart it was Boldmere who got off to a flyer as they scored in the 47th minute, when Town failed to deal with a routine cross from the left, and Jack Skinner drilled a sweet volley into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, to make it 2-1. This lead to the Mikes having their best spell of the game. A well struck free kick from Tulloch was straight at the keeper and Rikardo Reid’s effort went agonisingly wide as he beat keeper Taylor as he came of his line. However, Town bounced back, and two goals in the space of 3 minutes on the hour mark took the wind out of Boldmere's sails, as Nabil Shariff struck twice. Firstly latching onto Liam Hughes through ball and drilling a shot past keeper Buttery at his near post, and then heading into the roof of the net from Ross Oulton’s cross after some sustained Town pressure on 62 minutes.
The Mikes were still going forward, a free kick was just wide and only a great save from Taylor prevented Skinner getting a second goal with 18 minutes left. An effort from Parry went wide and Reid missed the target as he latched onto a through ball with just the keeper to beat. Town wrapped up the game with two late goals. Shariff getting his hat-trick in the 89th minute when he powered in a header from Mitchell Glovers corner, and Callum Ball got Towns 6th goal when he rifled in a low strike to the bottom corner in the first minute of added time to wrap up the scoring.
Manager Tommy Wright should be happy with the overall performance, and the £4,500 prize money, but there is still room for improvement in certain areas. He will be hoping for a similar result against Halesowen Town on Tuesday night at the Arden Garages Stadium, as we begin the defence of the Southern League Cup.
Taylor, Wilson, Vann, Morrison, Dovey, Oulton,(66 Parker), Revan,(79 Ball), Lawton, Shariff, Hughes, Wreh,(66 Glover).
Subs Not Used Lomax, Hancocks, Gyasi, Platt.
Boldmere St Michaels.
Buttery, Williams, Healey, Brauns, McGinnell, Lyng, Skinner, Burgess,(85 Allen), Reid, Parry,(61 Hussain), Tullock.
Subs Not Used Sweeney, Byrne, Hall.
GA OT BS H CW CIB FC OS YC RC
STRATFORD 16 9 0 0 10 11 12 0 1 0
BOLDMERE 15 5 0 0 2 4 8 6 0 0