JAMIE Spencer’s first goal for Stratford Town 12 minutes into Saturday’s game was enough for the side’s second win over Biggleswade Town in ten days, writes Bryan Hale.
The two faced each other at the DCS less than two weeks after Town beat them 2-1 on their own turf.
There was one change to the starting line-up from last weekend, with Jean Kalenda coming in for Liam Francis. Both Guy Clark and Barry Fitzharris were on the subs bench after completing their suspensions, while the returning Dan Summerfield was not risked due to a slight groin strain.
Town had the wind in their favour from the kick off, but neither side had really threatened until Town took the lead with what turned out to be the only goal of the game with just 12 minutes on the clock.
Man of the Match Simeon Tulloch floated over a cross from the right which landed in the Biggleswade six yard box where there was a bit of pushing and shoving before the ball fell kindly to Spencer who slotted it past the Waders keeper Ian Brown.
Biggleswade found it hard going into the wind with their only attempt in the opening 25 minutes being a deflected effort from Connor Vincent which dribbled through to Niall Cooper, and soon after Tulloch sent over another promising cross which was headed away by the Waders skipper Craig Daniel.
Spencer was enjoying his best Town game yet, but his luck was well and truly out on the half hour mark when he went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Jeff Woodward only to be booked for simulation by referee Richard Gardner.
Both sides were working hard but without creating anything resembling a clearcut chance until the closing minutes of the half when George Forsyth hit a decent low drive from 25 yards out which was comfortably held by Brown followed at the other end by Connor Hall lifting a left wing centre from Rhys Hoenes a good foot over Cooper’s crossbar.
The Waders had the wind behind them after the restart and immediately forced a corner which Hoenes could only launch onto the roof of the net, but they went a lot closer when Michael Richens’ lofted pass into the penalty area was only just out of the reach of the overlapping Lucas Perry.
But it was Town who almost doubled their lead on 52 minutes when Tulloch’s perfectly weighted pass sent Mike Taylor surging clear down the inside right channel only for his lob over the advancing Brown to drift tantalisingly wide.
A couple more better directed corners from Hoenes caused Town a few problems before they were dealt with and Daniel blazed a 30 yard free kick harmlessly over before Town again went close to going two up on 64 minutes.
Tulloch was brought down by Perry by the right touchline and Will Grocott’s free kick was mis-punched by Brown giving Taylor the chance of a shot which was deflected behind.
And when Grocott’s corner was not properly cleared Spencer’s follow-up from the loose ball was scrambled off the line.
Hall then put another header well over from Woodward’s deep cross before Spencer was involved in another penalty incident with 20 minutes to go. This time he was sent tumbling by Perry but in spite of frantic Town appeals referee Gardner waved play on leaving an incredulous Spencer sat on the ground shaking his head.
Shortly after Robbie Parker wasn’t far away for the Waders with a useful attempt from the edge of the penalty area, but by now the Waders were running out of ideas as Carl Adams made full use of his strong subs bench to bring on the fresh legs of Fitzharris, Marsden and Francis.
Deep into added time Parker had the Waders’ last chance but he hit his shot straight at Cooper and Town had efficiently and effectively seen the game out.
Town travel to Kings Lynn on Saturday.