FC STRATFORD were left to rue what might have been after bowing out of the Midland League’s League Cup with a 4-1 defeat at Tividale last night.
Stratford had led at a team playing two levels higher, then had goalkeeper Luis Sone sent off before then ending with nine men when, having already made three subs, Dan Atkins limped off.
Manager Dave Poulson had no complaints about Sone being sent off for handling outside the area but he had nothing but praise for how his side stepped up to the challenge.
“We were looking comfortable at 1-0 up and having Luis sent off made a massive difference,” said Poulson. “They might still have won 4-1 but that was the major turning point.
“We still went with two up top, we tried to have a go. But after going down to nine men we were out on our feet in the final 20 minutes.”
Stratford had started brightly and were rewarded on 23 minutes when Jamie Gifford fired past former Stratford Town keeper Louis Connor following a corner.
But Sone was sent off on 36 minutes as he raced out of goal to deal with a long through-ball and Matt Compton then had to take over the keeper’s gloves.
Tividale could find no way through until bagging two quickfire goals on the stroke of half-time. Lee Smith levelled after some neat interplay and then, with the final kick of the first period, Daniel Bryson converted from a corner.
Tyree Clarke then slotted home a simple finish for 3-1 seven minutes after the break.
Stratford kept battling and had a chance when Tom Daccus went through one on one but Connor rescued Tividale.
Clarke then sealed Tivi’s progress on 74 minutes, tucking home after Compton had parried a Jacob Barnes shot.
FC Stratford are next in action on Saturday with a trip to Bolehall Swifts.
FC STRATFORD: Sone, Robins, Percival, Cox, Janes, Everard, Poulson, Atkins, Wilkes, Gifford, Hylton. Subs: Kirby, Soute, Compton, Williams, Daccus.