CARETAKER boss Paul Davis insists Stratford Town will come up with a plan to topple Southern Premier Central leaders Hednesford Town in Saturday’s FA Trophy tie.
Town will be looking to bounce back after a controversial midweek defeat to visitors Tamworth – their fifth loss in six matches – when they entertain the Pitmen at the Arden Garages Stadium in the Trophy first qualifying round.
Stratford had led against the Lambs in Tuesday’s Southern League Premier Central game through a Lewis Wilson penalty, only to then have defender Kyle Ambris and goalkeeper Harvey White sent off moments before half-time either side of Tamworth levelling from the penalty spot.
Despite defender Matt Bower pulling on the keeper’s gloves, nine-men Town battled and battled but two goals midway through the second period secured the points as the Lambs prevailed 3-1.
Davis felt the first penalty and red cards were the turning point but said he was proud of his players’ response.
“It was a hard night for us but they all did magnificently,” Davis told the Stratford Town Independent Supporters Association website.
“We had players playing out of position such as Nabil [Shariff] at right-back and Lewis [Wilson] at left-back while Matt Bower did exceptionally well in goal and Dan Vann was different class in the middle.
“And in difficult circumstances they all conducted themselves far better than Tamworth’s and I’m sure the supporters recognised that.
“We must now look forward to the Trophy tie against Hednesford on Saturday. I watched them last weekend and they are a well-organised and well-drilled side who are hard to break down and favour the long ball going forwards.
“It will be a stiff challenge and we will need to set ourselves up properly to combat them, but I’m convinced we now have the squad to deal with their threat and I’m confident we can get the right result.”
On Tuesday, Stratford went ahead after just six minutes against title-chasing Tamworth.
Bower was adjudged to have been fouled as Ravi Shamsi’s corner came into the box and Wilson fired the spot-kick past keeper Jas Singh.
The Lambs levelled on 43 minutes after Hoeness had been bundled over by ‘last man’ Ambris who was red-carded and Ryan Beswick then slotted home the penalty.
As he went to chase the ball from the net, he and White tangled and the referee decided to send off the keeper.
Bower went in goal and produced two smart saves but he was beaten in the 67th minute when Tyrell Waite was fouled and Beswick tucked home his second spot-kick.
Tamworth’s third came five minutes later when former Town player Dan Creaney set up a simple chance for Waite.
Town had included five academy players when they went down 2-0 in a friendly at Kettering Town last weekend.
Michael O’Regan, Myles Lowe, Harry Parker, Sammy Mould and Max Thomas all featured against the National League North hosts.
Town host their monthly sports quiz tonight (Friday), starting at 8pm in the clubhouse.