BUILDING a togetherness and understanding will be the key focus for new-look Stratford Town as they look to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches on Saturday.
Town entertain Leiston at the Arden Garages Stadium in Southern Premier Central having chalking up a point away to King’s Lynn Town on Saturday before defeating hosts Alvechurch in the CSS League Cup on Tuesday night.
Church and Town will meet again at Lye Meadow a week on Saturday in the FA Trophy but before then head of football Tom Baillie will be looking to maintain their positive form against sixth-placed Leiston, who were transferred from the Isthmian League in the summer.
Rather than shuffling their ranks for the match at Alvechurch on Tuesday, Stratford made only three changes and they were rewarded with progress to round two of the league cup competition.
“An excellent performance and result” was the verdict of coach Scott Machin after goals from Lewis Wilson, Mike Taylor and Wilson Carvalho plus a 50-yard wonder strike from Will Grocott sealed a 4-2 success.
Wilson finished smartly to give Town a tenth-minute lead but Church hit back through Ben Cassidy and Mitch Botfield to make it 2-1 just after the half-hour.
However, Taylor equalised on 42 minutes after Church failed to clear a Grocott corner and a minute later Grocott spotted home keeper Paul Evans off his line and lobbed him from the halfway line.
Carvalho tapped in number four after some neat play to secure Stratford’s progress on 74 minutes.
“We deliberately kept the same 16-man squad from the weekend for this game to increase the togetherness and understanding as it’s still a very new team,” said Machin.
“In particular we kept the same back four as it was only goalkeeper Richard Walton’s third game for us and understanding between keeper and the defenders in front of him is vital.
“Will’s goal was of course the highlight and as he was right in front of us when he hit it – it was clear he meant it.
“But this was an overall team effort. We feel that the squad is now developing nicely and in the end we have been convincing winners.”
Victory followed a hard-earned point away to King’s Lynn in a goalless draw in Baillie’s first game in charge. It was Town’s first point from three trips to the Walks Stadium but it was a game of few chances with neither keeper really tested.
Baillie described it as “a fantastic point away from home”.
“King’s Lynn are a big club in this league with big players and big ambitions and it was testament to our tremendous workrate that we were able to compete with them as we did,” he explained.
“It was not the greatest of games with barely a shot on target and only half chances to either side throughout, but we had a game-plan and stuck to it to achieve the result we wanted.
“That’s now two wins and two draws in the last four league games.”
With thanks to STISA.