MANAGER Paul Davis saluted match-winning captain Courtney Richards and the influence of new signing Michael Townsend after Stratford Town edged further away from the drop zone in the Southern Premier Central.
Richards’ 81st-minute winner earned the points at Biggleswade Town, sealing only their second victory on the road and pushing them six points from the relegation places.
Robbie Thompson-Brown, making his first appearance since rejoining from Stafford Rangers, was fouled and when the Waders failed to deal with Kynan Isaac’s free kick Richards provided the finish for his first goal for Stratford.
But a third clean sheet was equally important in a knife-edge game, with former Tamworth and Cheltenham player Townsend, signed from Coalville Town via Walsall Wood, a kingpin.
“I said to [assistant] Dale Belford early in the second half that neither team had really got going and were just waiting for a mistake or a set-piece or a bit of quality and I’d have taken another 0-0 at that point,” Davis told the Stratford Town Supporters Association.
“Then the bit of quality comes from Courtney Richards and I’m really pleased for him as he does a lot of work off the ball so to grab his goal and for it to be the winner was special.
“And it was also important to keep a clean sheet. I thought we defended really well after we went 1-0 up and I don’t recall [keeper] James Pardington having to make a save after that.
“Michael Townsend made a massive difference. He’s got a real presence. He talks and commands and Kyle Rowley next to him was tremendous as well.
“Another to make a difference was Rob Thompson-Brown when he came on and he drew the foul which led to the goal.”
It was just the result Stratford needed as they face a fortnight without a game before they tackle the seemingly-doomed Redditch United at the Arden Garages Stadium a week on Saturday.
Davis felt it was a reflection of the hard work put in by the players and staff in recent weeks.
“We’ve been getting there for a long time and it’s nice to walk off the pitch with the win,” he said. “I’m not sure we deserved to win but sometimes recently we have definitely deserved more from games and not got it.
“I think we edged it in terms of chances with most of their shots being from long range and I’m sure that our efforts over the past few weeks deserved this result.
“We’ve now got a fortnight off so it was important to go into that fortnight with something and I’m pleased we go into it with four points from two games.”