CARL ADAMS is hoping on-loan Wayne Thomas’ presence will be a fantastic example for his new Stratford Town team-mates to follow in the final month of the season.
The Town manager said experienced defender Thomas, signed from Kidderminster Harriers for the rest of the campaign, has huge know-how to pass on to his new colleagues.
The 37-year-old former Stoke and Southampton player made his debut in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Southern Premier play-off contenders Banbury United as Town produced one of their best performances of the season.
“A great result and a tremendous performance” was Adams’ verdict.
“Everyone did their bit but I thought that Wayne Thomas was magnificent,” said Adams.
“Players like him are a dying breed and I brought him in for the last few games of the season to pass on his experience to the likes of Jimmy Fry and Liam Francis. He has got so much for them to learn from.”
The test, stressed Adams, is to repeat such displays on a consistent basis.
On Saturday, Town, who all but secured their status last weekend, can move beyond the 50-point mark when they head to St Neots Town.
“We have once again taken points off a top six side against Banbury and proved what we can do when we put our minds to it,” added Adams.
“The frustrating thing is that if we had been able to play like we did on Saturday more consistently, what a season we might have had.
“As it is we are surely safe now and we can look forward to a third season at Premier Division level.”
Town’s win against sixth placed Banbury took them to 48 points, 12 points clear of the bottom four with five games to play.
Stratford wasted little time in grabbing the opening goal after six minutes at the DCS Stadium.
Mike Taylor powered his way to the byline to pull back the ball for Will Grocott to flash his shot past keeper Jack Harding.
Banbury had the better of the possession for much of the first period, with Cooper saving from Tom Winters and Luke Carnell, but Town had their second goal four minutes before half time.
Thomas collected a loose ball to crack a fierce effort which Harding parried, but Taylor reacted quickest to nod home his 11th goal of the season from close range.
Banbury had a chance to reduce their arrears on 82 minutes after Justin Marsden was adjudged to have handled, but Cooper dived to parry Ricky Johnson’s penalty away from danger.
Meanwhile, Stratford’s away fixture with Hayes & Yeading will be played on Friday, April 7 at Beaconsfield.
Courtesy of STISA.