Stafford Town returned from the home of TNS with a deserved and much needed three points following a 2-1 victory over St. Martins. Although Stafford did not play their best flowing football, the result was the most important thing, giving them their first points of the league campaign. Stafford got off to a good start, taking the lead in just the 4th minute with a goal for the dubious goal commission. A good corner from Dominic Heath was headed goalwards by Ryan Bradshaw; it was then unclear if Ben Vangucci got a secondary touch as the ball passed a host of bodies in the box before crossing the line. Post match deliberations concluded that he had not and the goal was awarded to Bradshaw. After Charlie Swingwood fired over in the eleventh minute following another nice delivery by Heath, two good pieces of Stafford interplay both resulted in dangerous crosses from the right by Bradshaw. St. Martins were not without threat, Stafford struggling to properly follow midfield runners in particular which led to an unsuccessful penalty appeal, an effort that was just over the bar and a shot across goal from the left that was just wide of the far post. Stafford doubled the lead in the 29th minute when a Josh Wilson free-kick was spilled at the feet of Bradshaw who made no mistake with the rebound. Wilson then missed a great chance to make it three as he intercepted a pass on the edge of the box but his effort was straight at the ‘keeper and was saved. St. Martins pushed for something to give them hope for the second period, heading wide after a dangerous looking break. Stafford ‘keeper Joe Morris then denied them again, saving with his feet after a mix-up in the Stafford defence. St. Martins reduced the deficit with thirty seconds of injury time to go in the half, Stafford failing to close the ball on the corner of the box which resulted in a shot across goal into the far corner to leave the visitors facing a tough second period. HT 2-1 Stafford Town. Stafford looked to finish the game early in the second half, a good cross by Bradshaw fell to substitute Cydon Walker but his shot was blocked. An excellent break by Stafford saw another effort by Bradshaw tipped wide for a corner, before a clever overlap and cut-back from the left by Heath led to a shot by Bradshaw that was again blocked at the last second. St. Martins were struggling to create a clear chance but were working hard and began to take more risks, the game becoming more stretched with Stafford wary of conceding a sloppy goal that would undo their efforts. Walker had legs to burn upfront and his hunger to press the St. Martins backline in possession gave Bradshaw a chance to lob the St. Martins ‘keeper but the effort was too strong and went over. Stafford had to endure a nervy few minutes of injury time but saw the game out, much to their relief. FT 2-1 Stafford Town. Stafford host Cammell Laird at Evans Park on Saturday 14th followed by a midweek away trip to local rivals Rocester on Tuesday the 17th.
Match highlights can be found via our YouTube channel here;