DAVE POULSON said he had no complaints about the red card for goalkeeper Luis Sone which proved the turning point in their bid to become cup giant-killers in midweek.
Stratford were leading hosts Tividale, who play two levels higher in the Midland League, in Tuesday night’s League Cup clash but Sone’s dismissal for handling outside the area proved crucial in a 4-1 defeat.
Two quickfire goals on the stroke of half-time and another seven minutes into the second period gave Tivi the edge and Stratford’s hopes were ended when they finished with nine players.
They had used all of their substitutes before Dan Atkins had to limp out of the action with 25 minutes still to play.
Manager Poulson, though, was proud of their effort and hopes they can follow it up when they head to Bolehall Swifts on Saturday for a Division Two fixture.
“The sending-off of Luis was the major turning point but I’ve got no complaints – it was a red card,” said Poulson.
“He came out to chase for a through ball and did handle it outside the area.
“We were looking comfortable until Luis went off. Then they scored twice just before half-time, the second with the last kick in injury-time and that changed things completely.
“I have to credit my players. We kept going and going but in the last 20 minutes, going down to nine men, we were out on our feet.”
Jamie Gifford had fired Stratford into the lead on 23 minutes but 13 minutes later Sone was sent off and Matt Compton had to take over the keeper’s gloves.
Lee Smith equalised on the stroke of half-time and then, with the final kick of the first period, Daniel Bryson converted from a corner.
Tyree Clarke then slotted home a simple finish for 3-1 seven minutes after the break and Clarke tucked home a fourth on 74 minutes after Compton had parried a Jacob Barnes shot.