27th Feb, 2021

Late heartache leaves Davis sick

Stratford Editorial 8th Jan, 2020

BOSS Paul Davis admitted he felt sick at seeing Stratford Town go down to a last-gasp penalty at Needham Market.

And he suggested it was a harsh handball decision against Dan Vann which allowed Joe Marsden to fire home the spot-kick for the Needham winner in Saturday’s Southern Premier Central fixture.

The 1-0 defeat – a sixth in a row – leaves the Blues fourth from bottom as they prepare to face Stourbridge on Saturday at the Arden Garages Stadium.

Town had to defend resolutely last weekend at Needham as the hosts looked the more likely winners and Davis admitted they struggled in possession to create chances.

But some good saves from Jack Bennett and some brave covering tackles including a goalline clearance from Kyle Rowley seemed to have earned only their third away point of the season until Vann was adjudged to have handled a bouncing ball as he challenged Will Hunt in the 90th minute. Referee Tom Harvey pointed to the spot and Marsden fired the kick past Bennett.

“I feel physically sick at losing a point right at the death like that,” Davis told the Stratford Town Independent Supporters Association.

“Although that’s as bad as we’ve been for a long time in terms of moving the ball about I felt that we defended exceptionally well with some last-ditch tackles that we haven’t been doing recently.

“But I feel sick because depending on who you talk to it’s another questionable penalty decision that as at Hednesford has cost us a point and which on another day might not be given.

“So it’s those sort of things which leave me frustrated, but I have to admit that overall we weren’t good enough. Did we deserve to get beat? On the balance of play we probably did.

“We were good against Rushall [on New Year’s Day] but for some reason we were poor when we had the ball.”

Stratford included two new recruits, taking the tally of players used for the season to 54.

Mo Sebbeh-Njie, who was part of last season’s play-off squad, has returned from a spell at Kettering Town, while Senegalese defender Abdou Diakhate, who has latterly been on loan from Parma at Belgian club Lokeren, made his debut.

He departed, however, at half-time in a tactical switch with Geden Otaki, who joined a couple of weeks ago from Banbury United, coming in for his second appearance.

Other recent additions include the capture of former Hinckley and Alvechurch winger Javia Roberts from Walsall Wood, plus Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis from Farnborough and Rheis McLean from Wisbech Town.

McLean netted his first goal after coming on as a sub in the 2-1 home defeat to Rushall last week.

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