TIM Flowers enjoyed a winning start to his reign as Stratford Town boss after the Bards secured a 4-2 win against Nuneaton Borough to move further clear of the relegation zone.
The home side raced into a three-nil lead thanks to first-half goals from home debutant Jack Storer, Ahmed Obeng and William Grocott – the latter scoring from the spot.
Nuneaton staged a comeback in the second-half with quickfire goals from Anthony Dwyer and former Premier League star Leroy Lita only for Ryan Edmunds to see red for a poor challenge on William Dawes.
And Dawes would make sure of the points deep into injury-time with the last kick of the game although the win came at a cost after Bards goalkeeper Liam O’Brien was taken to hospital following a goal line clash with Nuneaton’s Luke Benbow.
The win means Stratford are now 11th in the Southern League Premier Central table – five points clear of the relegation zone.
And new boss Flowers could not have dreamed of a better start at the Arden Garages Stadium when Storer forced the ball home from close range on 33 minutes from Grocott’s inswinging corner.
The Bards doubled their lead just two minutes later when Obeng drove the ball low across goal into the bottom corner to leave Nuneaton on the ropes.
And Obeng would then win his side a penalty after he was the victim of a high boot to the head which was duly dispatched by skipper Grocott on 42 minutes.
However, the visitors responded after the break – making the most of the strong wind – when a long ball caught out the Bards defence and allowed Dwyer to reduce the deficit on the hour mark.
And Borough soon had their second on 64 minutes when ex-Birmingham striker Lita deflty headed past O’Brien into the corner from a set-piece.
The game took a turn for the worse with eight minutes left to play as O’Brien suffered a serious injury which saw the keeper taken to hospital after a coming together with Benbow when competing for the ball.
That led to 14 minutes of injury-time in which Nuneaton were reduced to 10-men after Edmunds raked his studs down Dawes’ calf.
And Dawes had the last laugh when he forced the visiting keeper into an error before scoring with the last kick of the match.
Stratford are next in action at home to Lowestoft Town on Saturday, December 4 with kick-off at 3pm at the Arden Garages Stadium.