CARL ADAMS has urged Stratford Town to use their Birmingham Senior Cup upset as another step towards becoming an established Southern League Premier Division side.
Michael McGrath’s late winner, to follow an early strike by top scorer Edwin Ahenkorah, sealed an impressive 2-1 first round victory against Coventry City’s youngsters at the DCS Stadium on Wednesday.
The result made it four games unbeaten for Town and manager Adams says they need to keep the momentum going when they welcome lowly Frome Town to the DCS on Saturday.
“It’s all about consistency and I’ve been hammering the message into the players that they need to perform in every game.
“We’ve put four games together now and hopefully we can kick on again on Saturday.”
Town, however, will await a fitness test on Alex Price, who damaged his ankle on Wednesday, while Simeon Tulloch and Aaron Moses-Garvey are unavailable to face Frome. Scott Hadland (hamstring) is out while Tyrone Fagan could miss out through work commitments.
While Coventry’s under 21s included half a dozen first-teamers, it was Town who dominated.
Striker Ahenkorah ran the Sky Blues youngsters ragged, midfielder Emmitt Delfouneso provided the power in the engine room and centre backs Marcell Simpson and Liam Francis snuffed out any sign of Coventry getting any foothold in the game.
Ahenkorah’s direct play made the breakthrough after just two minutes, with the Town top scorer racing on to Francis’ long ball down the right and then outstripping two defenders to drill home his ninth goal of the season.
Francis had already been denied by Cian Harries’ goalline clearance but Coventry’s first real attack brought an equaliser on 15 minutes.
Lateef Elford-Alliyu’s shot struck McGrath from close range and the assistant referee ruled it was handball. George Thomas, City’s brightest talent on the night, coolly converted the penalty past Andy Kemp.
Stratford, though, recovered and only two top drawer saves from the flying Corey Addai kept out Robbie Thompson-Brown’s wonderful free-kick and then Simpson’s header from a Thompson-Brown corner.
Richard Gregory, making a first appearance since being injured in the first game of the season, had another effort blocked, before Ahenkorah’s curling short rebounded off the post and Dior Angus could not convert.
With penalties looming, McGrath slammed home from 20 yards after a corner from Ahenkorah was only partially cleared.
Adams said: “It was a strong performance by us. There were plenty of positives.
“Edwin was a real handful, his best asset is that at times not even he knows what he is going to do. His hard work is paying dividends for him at the moment. He is doing great.”
Ahenkorah had been on target again on Saturday, netting the equaliser in a 1-1 home draw with high-flyers Chippenham Town.
Stratford had the worst possible start, conceding after 64 seconds when Ashan Holgate capitalised on a defensive mix-up.
However, Ahenkorah was again the right man in the right place to tap home a header from Francis on 32 minutes.
Stratford entertain Kettering Town in their rearranged Red Insure League Cup game on Tuesday, knowing the winners will be on their travels in round two.
The draw has given either Town or the Poppies a trip to Bedford Town or Hitchin Town.
Town will be holding their annual Halloween party at the club tonight (Friday).
Doors open at 6pm, before the bonfire is lit at 6.30pm and fireworks start at 7pm. There will also be live music, a fancy dress competition, a pumpkin competition and refreshments.
Admission is £4 adults, £2 children, under twos free and a family ticket £10.