Match Report by KEVIN HAND, PHOTOGRAPHS by GRANTY & WOODY
Stratford Town 1 v 2 Biggleswade Town Saturday (HT 1-1)
August 2019 3.00pm BetVictor Southern League PDC at the Arden Garages Stadium.
• When sorrows come……
With just minutes to go in this deeply disappointing contest ‘Stato’ Rod Abrahams revealed that the shot count was Biggleswade 21 Stratford 5. It would be difficult to gloss over how poor the performance was. Effort aplenty but a lack of mobility, pace and cohesion eventually told as Town folded in the second half. This was a truly anaemic and ponderous performance.
The first thing to ponder for home fans was team selection. There was general puzzlement at not seeing Chris Wreh in the starting eleven and only finding a place on the substitutes bench. Fishwick, Lomax and Ball returned at the expense of Wreh, Taylor and Gyasi.
It was a dull, uninspiring opening with Biggleswade winning three successive corners in short order. The first shot on target was on 18 minutes when Lucas Perry’s shot from distance was comfortably saved by Lomax. 5 minutes later and ever dependable Lewis Wilson cleared from his own goal line with the Town defence all at sea. With the home crowd getting restless it was against the run of play that Town took the lead. A through ball from Wilson found its way to Ball who was in on goal and as he tried to round the keeper he was brought down. Injured in the skirmish it was Shariff who dutifully scored the penalty on 44 minutes.
Celebrations were barely finished when the Town defence dithered and the alert Matthew Ball slotted home to equalize from inside the area. It might have been two seconds later with the Stratford defence cut to ribbons by a through ball only for ‘off side’ to be called.
Half time saw the introduction of Wreh and Revan and the former some added some much needed ‘vim’ to the lacklustre front line. But it was The Waders and front man, Joseph Wright in particular, who were posing the real problems. Three times he threatened shooting wide once and bringing saves from Lomax on the two other occasions. It was Liam Brookes’ goal on 83 minutes that settled the game with theTown defence hopelessly stretched.
On 75 minutes Matthew Ball of Biggleswade was lucky to stay on the pitch following the most cynical of late challenges on Gyasi. Just a yellow! Three games ago and Morrison got red for a similar challenge. So much for consistency! It is difficult to recall a Town effort on goal of note during the 45 minutes. The afternoon was summed up in the 90th minute when Town earned a rare corner. With Lomax ‘up’ Mitchell Glover’s effort sailed over everyone and out for a goal kick.
A good performance from Dan Vann and Yaw Ofosu seemed unlucky to be substituted on his home debut. It was route 1 stuff from Town playing from the back. When the ball was returned by The Waders Lawton and Glover were outnumbered and out manoeuvred in midfield leaving the back line exposed.
Reinforcements are promised and needed I suggest. With two important cup-ties in the offing immediate improvement is required and the crowd told its own tale of disappointment.
• When sorrows come, they come not single spies. But in Battalions! Hamlet Act4 Scene5
Match Stats by Rod Abrahams
| 5||Goal Attempts|| 21|
| 3||On Target|| 12|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 0|
| 3||Corners Won|| 8|
| 7||Crosses into Box|| 9|
| 8||Fouls Conceded|| 11|
| 4||Off Side|| 6|
| 0||Yellow Cards|| 2|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Stratford Yellow Cards – None
Rushall Yellow Cards – Ball & Richardson
Saturday 7th September 3.00pm FA Cup Preliminary Round (Home) Stourport Swifts or Boldmere St. Michaels KO 3pm
Tuesday 10th September 7.45pm League Cup (Home) Halesowen Town KO 7.45pm