RETURNING favourite Mike Taylor has urged Stratford Town’s players, management and supporters to stick together for a dramatic finale to the season.
Top-scorer Taylor has rejoined Town from Leamington and will provide a huge lift after Thomas Baillie’s side stuttered to three defeats in the last four fixtures.
Taylor netted 14 goals for Town before switching to Tamworth in December and then had a short spell at the Brakes and the striker, affectionately known as The Beast, will be back in blue and white on Saturday when Town head to Barwell.
“I am delighted to be back at my club for what will be an exciting run-in to the end of the season,” Taylor told the club website.
“Hopefully we can finish as strongly as possible and be in the mix come end of the season. It’s time for players, management and fans to stand up and be counted.”
Head of football Baillie was delighted to have the powerhouse forward back in his ranks for the run-in.
Despite recent setbacks, Town remain fifth, two points off third-placed Kings Lynn Town, and guaranteed their best ever finishing position, but Baillie says they need to rediscover the spark which has fired them into play-off contention.
“We are in a rut at the moment,” he told the Stratford Town Independent Supporters Association after the 2-0 defeat at Hitchin Town last week. “We have got to be better all over the park and we need to put it right in time for the game at Barwell.
“Ideally we need a lucky break or two. Here Kynan Isaac’s shot rebounds away from the underside of the bar whereas their’s bounces down over the line.
“Such are the fine margins and it would surely have been a different game if Kynan’s had gone in, but we are where we are and we must improve.”
Baillie handed new keeper Laurence Bilboe his debut at Hitchin after the 21-year-old Walsall-born custodian joined on loan from Rotherham and the boss also swapped to a 3-5-2 formation.
However, Hitchin’s recent run – now seven wins in eight – is only bettered by table-toppers Kettering Town and they put Stratford under plenty of pressure.
Alfie Cue’s goalbound effort was cleared by Jamie McAteer as Hitchin dominated possession but only the woodwork denied Stratford taking the lead just before half-time when Isaac’s shot smashed against the underside of the bar.
A similar scenario led to the opening goal on 63 minutes but Isaac Galliford’s shot was adjudged to have crossed the Stratford line and Galliford then set up the second on 81 minutes. His shot came back off Bilboe and Ezra Forde drilled the rebound into the bottom corner.