STRATFORD Town have been told to forget their cup disappointment and focus on an important clash against Cirencester Town on Saturday.
Town’s final hope of silverware ended on Tuesday when two goals in the final ten minutes sent them to a 2-1 defeat at Leamington in the Birmingham Senior Cup quarter-finals.
Stratford had led through Simeon Tulloch’s 25th-minute strike – the wide player firing home from stand-in forward Liam Francis’ pass – but the Brakes snatched a semi-final place with two goals from corners.
James Mace was left unmarked to nod home the 81st-minute equaliser from Rob Thompson-Brown’s corner before Courtney Baker-Richardson was left unchallenged to net the winner.
Manager Carl Adams was again left bemoaning Stratford’s defensive frailty but stressed they had to bounce back quickly when they meet Cirencester at Knights Lane.
Cirencester lie third from bottom in the Southern League Premier Division, with Town in 17th place, ten points clear of the bottom four.
“We just switched off on Tuesday. Two defensive errors have cost us dear and that’s not good enough,” said Adams.
“It’s also yet another game in which we’ve taken the lead but not been able to hold on to it and we’ve got to improve that aspect of our play.
“We’ve now just got the league left this season and Saturday’s fixture against Cirencester is a really massive one for us.
“They are one of the teams currently in the relegation spots and it’s essential that we take the three points to keep ourselves well clear of the bottom four.”
Town will be boosted attacking-wise against Cirencester after having to omit latest signing Jamie Spencer, Justin Marsden and Mike Taylor at Leamington. All three were cup-tied after playing for Alvechurch, Rugby and Redditch respectively.
It meant defender Francis, who two weeks ago reached 100 appearances for Town, having to lead the strikeforce.
Stratford will be seeking a first league win since January 2 this weekend after a below-par performance on Saturday brought a 3-1 defeat at Frome Town.
“We were very poor particularly in the first half and in games like this we have to stand up and be counted,” said Adams.
Play-off chasers Frome were in the ascendancy from the third minute when a corner from Jon Davies bounced off Jean Kalenda for an own goal.
It was 2-0 when another corner from Davies hit the hand of Will Grocott and Davies slotted home the penalty past keeper Niall Cooper.
Stratford pulled a goal back when Taylor headed home Ben Stephens’ cross on 68 minutes but Frome secured the points six minutes from time when Davies netted from Jake Jackson’s pass.
Report thanks to Bryan Hale/STISA.