Home league match played on 04 December 2021.
Kicked off at 3:00 PM

It was an afternoon of conflicting emotions for Stafford Town as they came from two goals behind to claim a point in a crazy, topsy-turvy 3-3 draw with Cheadle Heath Nomads at Evans Park. Stafford almost won the game late on and were frustrated not to do so but must accept that they were perhaps fortunate to get even a point, having been completely outplayed by Nomads for the entire first half and been 2-0 and 3-1 down in the match. There was an early chance for Stafford forward Declan Arber in the third minute, who dragged wide after he was played through by Josh Oultram following good work by Karen ‘Kaz’ Danilian. Despite this however, Nomads started by far the more assuredly, playing some excellent short passing patterns that were causing Stafford problems as they were unable to press effectively. In contrast, Nomads were pressing the game into the Stafford half and a lack of off-the-ball movement saw Stafford repeatedly force the ball forward and concede possession. Nomads had three good chances in the opening fifteen minutes; poking wide from a low cross from the left, shooting wide from a clever corner routine and a further attack through the middle ending with a weak shot that was easily saved by Stafford ‘keeper Henry Smith. Nomads then took the lead in the 16th minute, Stafford losing the ball on the right which led to an overload, a simple pass inside finished with a curling shot into the far corner. Arber then dragged another shot wide after he intercepted a Nomads backpass, a Stafford break minutes later ending with Ben Wood also missing the target. Nomads doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 28th minute, Charlie Swingwood fouling on a follow up effort after Nomads had won possession high in the Stafford half and Smith had saved an initial shot. Nomads continued to dominate, an impressive spell of possession resulting in a cut back and a shot blocked for a corner, Smith also forced into making another save a minute later. As the final five minutes of the half approached, Stafford failed to capitalise when Oultram robbed the ball from the Nomads ‘keeper in the box; whilst Arber was having a rare off-day, again dragging wide of the target after being put through by Danilian. HT 2-0 Cheadle Heath Nomads. Although Stafford were keeping possession better than in the first half, the opening fifteen minutes of the second period saw two more good chances for Nomads, one wide and the other deflected for a corner. Stafford were also forced to clear the ball off the line when it slipped through the hands of Smith on one occasion. Perhaps the turning point in the match came with the bold management decision by Stafford to replace forwards Arber and Oultram in the 64th minute, Ryan Taylor moving upfront to join substitute Morgan Payne and Kyle Ashman introduced out wide. After Taylor was denied by the offside flag following up an effort by Danilian that was only partially saved, Danilian curled another effort wide from the edge of the box and Payne hit the bar with a looping effort from distance. Ashman then got on the scoresheet, unleashing an unstoppable drive from 25 yards that kissed the underside of the bar as it flew past the ‘keeper. Nomads responded immediately, Chris Anderson dispossessed as he looked to sweep up a ball into the channel and despite his appeals for a foul, it did not look to be clear and obvious; the Nomads forward driving in at goal and finishing smartly. The wind was also becoming a factor in the game, Nomads finding it more difficult to clear their lines and one Stafford clearance by Anderson almost carried over the Nomads ‘keeper into the net, a slight touch saving a goal in place of a corner. Stafford were not giving in and began to sense there was still something in the game for them as Nomads appeared to tire, Danilian delivering an excellent 81st minute diagonal ball out to Nathan Scott who took the ball in his stride and slotted the ball under the Nomads ‘keeper. Harry Bowers then had a shot saved after an excellent driving run by Danilian before the Stafford equaliser came with two minutes to go, a Bowers corner delivered under the crossbar going straight into the net, the swirling wind making it nearly impossible for the Nomads defence to deal with. Stafford then thought they had won it in injury time, Bowers hitting the far post with another wicked delivery into the box from a wide free kick. There was still time for Wood to try and lob the ‘keeper from the halfway line but the referee brought an end to proceedings with honours even. FT 3-3. Stafford know they will have to be at their best to take anything from their visit to unbeaten league leaders West Didsbury and Chorlton on Saturday 11th December before welcoming East Staffordshire neighbours Rocester to Evans Park on Saturday 18th December.

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