Joel Richards Memorial Cup, Second Round
Stratford Town Youth 3
Report by Bryan Hale
AFTER enduring a number of weather related postponements, Stratford Town Youth at last returned to action on Tuesday evening for the first time since 28th November, as they progressed into the quarter-finals of the Joel Richards Memorial Cup with a thoroughly deserved victory at Bustleholme.
This tie had been particularly affected by the incessant rain in December and after being twice called off at the Arden Garages Stadium, the rules of the Birmingham FA competition dictated it be switched to Bustlerholme.
But Nick Ballinger’s side instantly shrugged off the change of venue by taking the lead in the opening minute of the game when Rory Nicholson raced away down the left and squared the ball inside to Rob Singer, who coolly slotted home his sixth goal of the season.
With Town bossing the possession Nicholson turned scorer as he doubled the lead with an assured finish from a Rob Sone cross and as Town continued to pile forward, Jack Ballinger, Nicholson and Singer all had on-target efforts smartly saved by the defiant Bustleholme keeper.
Even the keeper, though, could do nothing when Town went 3-0 up five minutes before the break when Singer was upended in the penalty area and Sone blasted in the spot-kick with the minimum of fuss.
Town stayed in control after the restart being content to soak up any Bustleholme pressure and break away on the counter attack, but the hosts pulled one back with 20 minutes still to go and added a second from a penalty of their own in the 80th minute.
Town, though, already had done enough to win and saw the rest of the game out in relative comfort.