7th Dec, 2019

Best is yet to come says Town gaffer

Stratford Editorial 29th Nov, 2018

THOMAS BAILLIE revealed he has yet to settle on his preferred formation for Stratford Town, despite their storming run.

Town earned a mouth-watering trip to one of the top teams in non-League after being drawn to visit AFC Fylde in the club’s first appearance in the FA Trophy first round next month.

Last weekend’s 2-1 win over South Shields, courtesy of Wilson Carvalho’s equaliser and Mike Taylor’s injury-time cracker, meant Baillie’s men have lost just lost once in 90 minutes in 16 matches since he arrived at the club.

But the head of football and No 2 Scott Machin suggested that has been a short-term fix before they can develop the team further.

“We are not the finished article by any means,” said Baillie.

“I don’t think is the formation we really want to play but this is the formation that has got the best out of the side at the moment,” he said.

“It’s not the formation I want to play long-term but we are using the squad we’ve got to the best of their ability and we’re getting results.

“The priority when I came in was to steady the ship and use a formation that suits the players we’ve got. I want us to be more attacking and that will come.”

Baillie saluted the spirit in the squad after last week’s Trophy success against a South Shields side that won its six previous games and which had taken the lead through Carl Finnigan.

The turning point was the penalty awarded when Nathan Lowe handled Jamie McAteer’s header on the goalline. The South Shields man was sent off on 58 minutes and Carvalho tucked home the penalty.

“The first half wasn’t good enough,” said Baillie. “We stood off them and showed them far too much respect. Yes they are a good team but so are we and showed that when we took the game to them after half-time.

“A few months ago, that team could have collapsed going 1-0 down but they showed their character to come back. We kept going and got our rewards.”

After the thrills of the Trophy win, Stratford were then frustrated when Tuesday night’s trip to Alvechurch was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

But the focus remains on climbing the Southern Premier Central table and they head to Halesowen Town on Saturday looking to close the gap on the top five.

Town lie 15th but only five points behind fifth-placed Leiston, who have played two games more.

While the visit to AFC Fylde, who occupy fourth place in the National League, takes place on December 15, Town have four games before then – three in the league and next Tuesday’s trip to Didcot Town in the CSS League Challenge Cup.

Baillie stressed it was important they did not slip too far behind the pack and be left with a fixture backlog.

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