CARL ADAMS heaped praise on his Stratford Town side after Saturday’s 5-2 home win over St Neots ended a nine-match run without a league victory.
The win means Town sit 17th in the Southern League Premier Division and sets them up nicely for successive home games against Hayes & Yeading and Kings Langley on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.
Adams, who saw Tuesday’s scheduled visit to Biggleswade Town postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, said: “I could not emphasise enough to the lads how important a game this was and they responded magnificently.
“Finally, we got rewarded for our hard work and attacking play. We badly needed this win and it sets us up nicely now for the upcoming games at the DCS. It’s going to be a big, big ten days for us.”
Stratford, who saw leading scorer Richard Gregory move to local rivals and leaders Leamington 48 hours before kick-off, were in rampant mood, not least Edwin Ahenkorah who netted their first hat-trick of the season to take his tally to six goals in five games.
Before kick-off there was a minute’s silence in memory of Enzo Buquet, a member of Town’s Academy and Colts teams who tragically lost his battle with lymphoma earlier in the week.
Stratford took a fifth-minute lead when Will Grocott floated over a cross to the far post where it was met by a bullet header from Liam Francis to open the scoring.
Four minutes later the lead was doubled when Kieren Westwood seized on a defensive mistake before crossing for Mike Taylor to convert from close range.
Incredibly it was 3-0 after just 13 minutes when Grocott lifted a free kick into the box and the ball was handled by Taylor Parr, allowing Ahenkorah to confidently score from the penalty spot.
There were numerous further chances at either end before Ahenkorah made it 4-0 in the 44th minute when he evaded a couple of challenges before drilling a left-footed drive into the bottom corner of the net.
Ahenkorah, often unplayable on his day at this level, completed his hat-trick two minutes after the break when he rifled home emphatically from 18 yards.
The visitors bagged two consolation goals but nevertheless it was a day to savour for Adams, who handed a first team debut to prolific youth team striker Dylan Parker who impressed and came close to scoring.
Adams said: “That was just what we needed. I believe we’ve played well in recent weeks without getting what we deserved, but we certainly turned on the style and showed we are a very good team.
“Our ambition this season is to close the gap on the mid-table teams in this league and this result shows we are well on the way to achieving that.”