Stafford Town claimed their biggest scalp of the season so far, overcoming fifth-placed Sandbach United 4-2 in an enthralling spectacle at Evans Park. In an incident-packed encounter that will be a sure-fire contender for game of the season, Stafford jumped out to an early lead before Sandbach showed their quality; Stafford scoring at key moments and managing to keep them at arm’s length for their third consecutive home league victory. Stafford should have taken the lead in the first minute, Josh Oultram intercepting a weak pass back to the goalkeeper inside the box and despite evading a defender; he was unable to get enough power on his effort and the ‘keeper saved with his feet. After Sandbach hit the post with a superb shot across goal from the right, Stafford took the lead in the fifth minute as Josh Wilson jinked his way down the right side of the box before squaring the ball to Ryan Taylor to tap in from close range. Sean Kinsella then placed a free kick over the bar before the lead was doubled in the ninth minute, Ben Wood winning the ball high in midfield and slipping it through to Taylor who made no mistake with the finish into the corner. Following an evenly contested next ten minutes, Sandbach began to look more threatening; playing some excellent neat and intricate short passing but the final ball always seemed to evade the last attacker in the box. Stafford were defending well, their high press and quick counter attacks through Oultram, Nathan Scott and Kyle Ashman causing Sandbach defensive headaches. As Stafford found it more difficult to maintain the press in the final fifteen minutes of the half Sandbach began to enjoy more sustained periods of possession, having multiple crosses into the box and several shots at goal. Fortunately for Stafford, defenders Matt Dudley, Henry Smith, Jack Pollard looked up for the task, with returning ‘keeper Sam Amedu also in inspired form as he made a number of decisive saves.
HT 2-0 Stafford Town.
Never being able to do things the easy way, Stafford conceded in only the sixth minute of the second half as a Sandbach overlap down the left resulted in a low cross that was finished from close range. Oultram then saw a shot blocked following a cross by Ashman, before Amedu had to be at full stretch to palm away another Sandbach shot from distance. More chances were to come, a Stafford attack down the left led to a delightful dinked cross from Scott that drifted agonisingly over the head of an unmarked Taylor inside the six yard box. Minutes later, another Stafford break saw a perfectly weighted through ball by Wilson send Oultram clear on goal, the Sandbach ‘keeper somehow saving his effort. Following several more Stafford shots in rapid succession, some interplay down the right in the 75th minute resulted in a Taylor cross that was headed down into the corner by Oultram for the goal his outstanding performance deserved. Two minutes later, Wood hit the outside of the post from the edge of the box after a cut-back by Ashman. Sandbach were not beaten yet however, pulling a goal back in the 78th minute as a cross from the left saw an initial shot saved by Amedu but he was unable to prevent the follow-up into the net. As Sandbach pressed for an equaliser, the competitive edge in the game saw tempers flare on occasion. The Stafford players refused to be intimidated, substitute Morgan Payne almost lobbing the goalkeeper from the half-way line in the 85th minute before he put the result beyond doubt in the third minute of injury time, latching onto a cut-back by Oultram and drilling the ball home from the edge of the box. There was still time for Amedu to make two more saves, the second seemingly impossible as he reacted quickly to keep the ball out following a close-range deflection. FT 4-2 Stafford Town. Stafford next welcome Stockport Town to Evans Park on Saturday 16th October before another tough away trip, this time to the Derbyshire-Cheshire border to face high-flying New Mills on Saturday 23rd October.
To re-live the best bits of a pulsating encounter visit our YouTube Channel Stafford Town TV: https://youtu.be/DFKJt64pe08