STRATFORD Town secured their first win in pre-season as Edwin Ahenkorah’s double sealed a 3-2 victory at Boldmere St Michaels on Tuesday night, writes Rod Abrahams.
Again, the Town squad was mainly players from last season’s side with a few new faces on show.
The game, played on Boldmere’s newly-installed 3G pitch, was a relatively even affair, but over the 90 minutes Town just had the advantage.
However, it was the Mikes that took an early lead, when Brad Lindsey put a cross into the Town box, striker Stuart Capaldi volleyed into the roof of the net unchallenged.
Parity was restored six minutes later when a Guy Clark pass put Edwin Ahenkorah clear on goal to beat keeper Lewis Fenney with a neat finish.
Within two minutes, Town took the lead. A Ben Stephens cross found Clark, whose strike from the edge of the box was only parried by keeper Fenney and Liam Francis was on hand to tuck home the loose ball.
Both sides had further chances to score. Ahenkorah, Clark and Stephens went close for Town, but some timely blocks and some poor finishing failed to increase the Town lead.
The Mikes were also creating some chances, Capaldi, and Richard Reid, had efforts well saved by Louis Connor in the Town goal, and from a free-kick a Capaldi header looked goal-bound, but defender Lee Thomas hooked it clear.
The save of the game came a minute before the break, when keeper Fenney tipped over an Ahenkorah special at full stretch, which was heading for the top corner.
With an influx of substitutes in the second half the game developed into a midfield battle, but in the 57th minute Town increased their lead when the Mikes’ Joe Lyng handled a Ben Stephens shot, and Ahenkorah coolly sent keeper Fenny the wrong way with the spot-kick.
The deficit was reduced seven minutes later with a goal that would normally be a contender for goal of the season.
Former Town favourite Kieren Westwood scored with a spectacular overhead kick from the edge of the box, which gave keeper Connor absolutely no chance, to make it 3-2.
Westwood is off to the USA next week to study at St Louis University.
With both sides cancelling each other out, neither side looked like scoring another.
The best chance of the half fell to a Mikes substitute, who picked up a poor clearance from Town keeper Connor, but with just the keeper to beat, he was wide of the target.
With six players still unavailable due to holidays or minor knocks, the Town squad is still taking shape for the new league campaign.
So things could be looking good for Stratford Town, whose next game is on another 3G pitch, when Town go to the Oval to play Bedworth United on this Saturday.
Stratford Town: Connor, Summerfield, Thomas, Gallinagh, Recci, Clark, Fry, Francis, Ahenkorah, Taylor, Stephens. Subs: Hancocks, Evans, Faulkner, Alcaraz, Gomes, Parker.