THOMAS Baillie feels vindicated by his decision to leave Stratford Town top-scorer Mike Taylor on the bench after he became an FA Trophy super-sub.
Head of football Baillie opted for a change in attack for Tuesday’s Trophy replay at Mickleover Sports following last weekend’s 1-1 draw, by going with Lewis Wilson in the number nine shirt.
Wilson certainly played his part but it was Taylor who fired Stratford through to the third qualifying round for the first time in their history with an 88th-minute winner in a 1-0 success.
Taylor nodded home his 12th goal of the season from a deep cross from Chris Cox.
Town will now entertain South Shields a week on Saturday.
“I thought their backline had it too comfortable on Saturday and I wanted to challenge them with something different,” said Baillie.
“Lewis provides us with exactly that. He is a hugely versatile player who can perform well in any number of positions, and I felt that the change really worked for us in the first half.
“Mike was naturally disappointed to only be on the bench and when he went on he obviously wanted to prove a point which is great for the team and was key to us winning right at the end.
“But these have been two physically demanding games played at a high tempo and there’s some tired bodies in the dressing room right now. One or two may well be doubtful for the weekend but we’ll know more on that score nearer the time.
“Meantime we can enjoy this result and look forward to South Shields who will undoubtedly provide us with another incredibly tough challenge.”
Stratford had led until the 85th-minute of Saturday’s first match at the Arden Garages Stadium before being caught out by an equaliser.
Jordan Williams slotted home Albi Skendi’s cross to give Town the lead on 26 minutes and they looked likely to add a second as they took control.
But Northern Premier Mickleover stepped up to the challenge after the hour mark and sub Will Norcross grabbed the equaliser.
Stratford are now unbeaten in 13 games and their attention will turn to continuing their push up the Southern Premier Central table with a trip to Needham Market on Saturday.
Baillie says Town will await any reaction to their Trophy endeavours before deciding his selection for the visit to Suffolk.
Stratford then host Aston Villa in the Birmingham Senior Cup second round on Tuesday.
Thanks to STISA for information.