Lacklustre Stratford suffer fifth straight defeat

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Jazz Luckie clashes with Biggleswade goalkeeper Craig Daniel. Photo: Steve Wood

STRATFORD Town’s disappointing end-of-season form showed no signs of ending as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Biggleswade on Saturday, writes Bryan Hale.

Town’s line-up included the returning Will Grocott together with Ben Stephens, who had played 90 minutes for Birmingham City’s under-23 side 24 hours earlier, while midfielder and skipper Craig Daniel continued in goal for Biggleswade due to their well publicised goalkeeping crisis.

But it was Stratford keeper Louis Connor had to be alert in the 12th minute when Jordan Patrick’s cross ricocheted off a Town defender and he did even better on 26 minutes going full length to his right to push away a header from Jack Bowen.

In between, the lively Stephens had a fiercely-struck volley from a Mike Taylor cross blocked at point-blank range by Reece Fielding and on the half-hour mark he was denied by a reflex save by Daniel.

Will Grocott battles for the ball against Biggleswade. Photo: Steve Wood

But it was the Waders who broke the deadlock three minutes before the break when Bowen reached George Bailey’s low cross from the left before Liam Francis to steer it just inside the post.

Stratford levelled seven minutes into the second half when the Waders conceded a penalty as Jazz Luckie was brought down by Tony Burnett and Stephens thumped the spot-kick past Daniel for his 22nd goal of the season.

The Waders regained the lead on 72 minutes when Bailey swivelled onto Bowen’s pass to fire left footed past Connor from 12 yards out, and three minutes later Connor did well to parry a Bowen shot, only for substitute Taishan Griffiths to react quickest and drill the rebound into the corner of the net.

And it almost got worse for Stratford eight minutes from time when a Bowen drive beat Connor and spun away off the outside of his right hand post.

Justin Marsden goes for goal at Biggleswade on Saturday. Photo: Steve Wood