Baillie weighs up options in making Trophy history

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Mike Taylor, right, challenges a South Shields defender in Saturday's tie. Photo: Steve Wood.

FOOTBALL

THOMAS Baillie says Stratford Town will be onto a winner – whoever they draw in today’s FA Trophy first round.
Town booked their place in this stage for the first time in their history after Mike Taylor’s thrilling stoppage-time winner accounted for South Shields 2-1 on Saturday.
The National League elite now join the competition in the first round, which Town could be paired with a clash at former League clubs Leyton Orient, Chesterfield or Wrexham or Salford City, the club jointly owned by Manchester United’s Class of 92, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
Head of football Baillie says he has no preference about who Town could face but they will enjoy the occasion whoever they face.
“There are two sides to who you could be playing – do you want a tie with somebody you can beat, somebody who on form and league status, you think you’ve got a chance?” he said.
“Or do you wish for a really big club, get a big pay day and a great occasion?
“It’s just great to be involved. It’s been a great journey so far and the boys have got to enjoy it.”
Saturday’s match with Northern Premier was a roller-coaster, with Town going behind and being well below-par in the first half but then raising their game in the second period. WIlson Carvalho’s penalty levelled matters with the visitors’ Nathan Lowe being sent off for handball. It was a turning point but Town were already in the ascendancy at the point and Baillie was delighted with the way Town’s spirit shone through to score so late in the contest when a replay looked likely.
“We kept going,” said Baillie. “A few months ago, the team would have collapsed but they showed real character to battle through and find a way to win.”