STRATFORD Town’s winless run was extended to four matches as the Bards were beaten 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller away at promotion-chasing Rushall Olympic.
The visitors twice came from behind to draw level in an extraordinary first half as Jack Turner, Andre Wright and Lewis Ludford-Ison all struck to cancel out Andre Carvalho-Landell’s hat-trick.
However, Alex Cameron scored the only goal in the second half to settle a pulsating affair at Dales Lane.
The result means the Bards remain in the Southern League Premier Central relegation zone in 20th position, six points from safety with three games in hand on the team above the drop.
Rushall took the lead on 21 minutes when Carvalho-Landell tapped home from close range before the same player struck again four minutes later with a similar goal after Bards goalkeeper Liam O’Brien was unable to gather Jermaine Hylton’s shot.
However, the Bards responded when Turned turned the ball on 29 minutes after Ludford-Ison’s header came back off the crossbar.
The home side restored their two-goal lead on 31 minutes as Carvalho-Landell completed an impressive 10-minute hat-trick when his driven shot from the edge of the penalty area found the net.
Once again, Stratford responded to reduce the deficit on 35 minutes as Wright finished well from the edge of the box after good interplay with captain Will Grocott.
And the Bards were level on 38 minutes in a remarkable first half as Ludford-Ison headed home his first goal for the club from Kyle Bennett’s perfect corner.
However, Rushall clinched the points on 75 minutes when Cameron strode into the box and beat O’Brien when one-on-one to score the game’s decisive goal.
Stratford are next in action away at Bedford Town TONIGHT (Tuesday, February 21) with kick-off at 7.45pm at The Eyrie.