STRATFORD Town have been challenged to keep on upsetting the odds as they prepare to face the Southern Premier leaders on Saturday.
Manager Carl Adams believes his side’s midweek win at top-ten side Biggleswade was imperative to open a cushion over the bottom four teams.
But the manner of the victory – a first win since January 2 after they had trailed until the 82nd minute – will deliver plenty of belief to his squad to keep pushing towards mid-table safety.
Stratford are now ten points clear of fourth-from-bottom Cirencester Town and Adams hopes the trials and tribulations of recent week will make his squad stronger.
“There have been ups and downs but I really believe in this set of lads – we are not far off from being a half-decent side,” said Adams.
“I hope they can learn from the past few weeks. We’ve made mistakes but the pleasing thing about Tuesday was that after we went ahead we were able to see out the game.
“Too many times, we’ve been ahead but then let the points slip late on. We did to Biggleswade what other teams have been doing to us.
“I’ve said from the start of the season I wanted young players and inevitably you get dips with young players.
“People said we should go and get a 30-year-old to help the players get over the line in games but I think Tuesday showed they are learning themselves.
“It was a huge win for us. Now it gives us a 10-point gap over the teams in the bottom four and I think with 12 games to go it will be really hard to catch us.”
Town’s match at Dunstable Town last weekend had been postponed but they introduced new signings James Hancocks and George Forsyth, both on loan from Kidderminster Harriers, at Biggleswade on Tuesday.
Stratford had to battle to keep the score goalless at half-time but had more a threat in the second period, only to then go behind in bizarre fashion.
Keeper Niall Cooper and defender Jean Kalenda both looked to clear a cross from Rhys Hoenes but the ball flew off Kalenda into his own net.
But, with both Jamie Spencer and Ben Stephens coming in off the bench, the equaliser came on 82 minutes when Taylor bundled home a corner from Will Grocott and another Grocott flag-kick three minutes later led to Liam Francis nodding home.
“Chippenham is going to be another huge test now on Saturday and you look at their results and they should win,” said Adams.
“We’ve got to be as good as we can be and they are going to have to be below their normal standard, but there’s no reason why shouldn’t go out and give it everything.”
Suspensions will mean both Barry Fitzharris and Guy Clark are ruled out while Edwin Akenkorah is still injured but Adams says the growing strength of his squad – despite the loss of Kieren Westwood last week – was shown on Tuesday’s substitutes with Jamie Spencer, Ben Stephens and Charlie Faulkner all coming on to provide influential options.