THOMAS BAILLIE will be hoping Stratford Town’s return to goalscoring form in midweek cup action will provide a spark to their league campaign.
Town booked their place in the CSS League Cup semi-finals for the first time in their history after knocking out title-chasing Kettering Town 4-1 on penalties following a 3-3 draw on Tuesday.
It ended a run of three matches without a goal and, after boss Baillie admitted the side had struggled in the final third, he was delighted by the performance.
The challenge now is to keep up their play-offs challenge in Southern Premier Central when Town, three points off fourth place in the table, visit Tamworth on Saturday.
“We scored three goals and could have had a few more, the Kettering goalkeeper was excellent,” Baillie told the club’s website.
“We changed the formation to go with two up top and added a it more from the wingers pushing forward. It made a difference.”
After making five changes to the side against his old side, Baillie will have extra options after switching to a 4-4-2 formation. Kynan Isaac took his chance with a man of the match performance, Mohammed Sebbeh-Nye impressed on his first start after joining from Redditch United and on-loan Leicester City winger Kian Williams showed his fledgling quality.
New signing Curvin Ellis, a former Redditch, Highgate United and Coleshill Town striker signed from Coventry United, looked a threat coming on as a substitute.
After the shock of conceding a first-minute goal through Rhys Hoeness against the Poppies, Wilson Carvalho and Nabil Shariff put Town 2-1 ahead at the break. Luke Graham made it 2-2 before Isaac edged Town ahead on 80 minutes, only for Graham to head home the Poppies’ third moments later
Will Grocott, Jimmy Fry, Kian Williams and Lewis Wilson slotted home the penalties to send Stratford into the last four alongside Hartley Wintney and Cinderford Town so far.
Last weekend, chances had been few and far between as Stratford and Alvechurch faced each other for the fifth time this season before a stoppage-time goal gave Church the points at the Arden Garages Stadium.
Substitute Josh March bagged the decider two minutes into injury-time for a 1-0 win.
“We haven’t done enough in the final third in our recent matches and it happened again against Alvechurch,” Baillie told the Stratford Town Independent Supporters Association website.
“It was bound to come back and bite us and on Saturday it did. They had one chance and they took it after not looking as if they really wanted to win.
“We are very sound defensively but we are not creating anything like enough chances up front and that has got to change.”