18th Oct, 2019

Baillie urges Town to show their Trophy best

Liam Moakes 9th Nov, 2018

STRATFORD Town boss Tom Baillie says the focus will be to make FA Trophy progress, rather than simply preserving their unbeaten run, on Saturday.

Town welcome Mickleover Sports to the Arden Garages Stadium on the back of an 11-match undefeated sequence following their 2-1 CSS League Challenge Cup win against Redditch United on Tuesday.

There is a confidence in the squad and a buzz around the club after head of football Baillie and Scott Machin have helped retivalise their fortunes since joining in September.

However, Baillie is conscious they will face a difficult opponent in Mickleover, who play at the same Step Three in the Northern League Premier. Despite lying in the bottom six, they have won three games in a row in all competitions and progressed to this stage by defeating Redditch.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” said Baillie. “It’s got all the hallmarks of being a proper cup tie.

“Mickleover put Redditch out in the last round and they’ve had a couple of good results so they’ll be coming with some confidence.

“We’re looking forward to it too. The lads have been brilliant and we’ve put a good run together, but we also know we can do better.”

First half goals from Lewis Wilson and Kynan Isaac gave Stratford a lead they never looked like surrendering against Redditch.

Wilson slotted home from Mike Taylor’s knockback for the opener on 18 minutes and Isaac scored his first goal from the club on the stroke of half-time after Jimmy Fry’s shot had been saved.

Ahmed Ali pulled a goal back eight minutes from time but the Reds did not further threaten keeper Richard Walton.

Baillie had made three changes to the line-up, but it could have been more but for a late change of heart.

“To be honest, the team was a lot different to what was going to be on the team-sheet at 3pm,” he said.

“I decided to go with a stronger team than I had originally announced, much to my staff’s amusement. We just wanted to keep the momentum going and I’m glad we did.”

On Saturday, Town also had a dream start with a goal after just 50 seconds to set up their 2-0 win at St Ives Town.

Chris Cox rose unchallenged to head home a Will Grocott corner and then top-scorer Taylor netted his 11th goal of the season when he headed home from a Grocott free-kick.

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