Town ease past Bedworth to progress in FA Trophy

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Will Grocott slots home Stratford Town's second goal against Bedworth. Photo: Steve Wood

STRATFORD Town eased into the second qualifying round of the Buildbase FA Trophy with a 2-1 victory over Bedworth United at the MoodChimp Stadium on Saturday, writes Bryan Hale.

Mike Taylor’s opportunism gave Carl Adams’ side a half-time lead which was doubled by Will Grocott early in the second half, and from then on the game more or less petered out until the closing minutes when Stratford’s Jazz Luckie was sent off followed by Luke Keen netting, what could only be a consolation goal for the Greenbacks right at the end.

The early exchanges were fairly even with neither side able to create a worthwhile chance until Stratford took the lead in the 26th minute.

Town players congratulate Will Grocott on his goal. Photo: Steve Wood

The Bedworth defence failed to deal properly with a cross from James Hancocks and the ball fell kindly to Taylor, who thumped it past the Greenbacks keeper Dan Crane from ten yards out.

Bedworth responded and came close to levelling on the half-hour mark when Elliot Parrott’s lob over Stratford keeper Louis Connor was headed off the line by Andy Gallinagh.

Stratford doubled their advantage three minutes into the second half after a slick passing move down the right led to Dan Summerfield launching over a deep cross which drifted beyond the far post, but was retrieved by Ben Stephens, who slid in inside to Grocott and he expertly swivelled past his marker to hit a crisp right footer into the top corner.

Mike Taylor bears down on goal against Bedworth. Photo: Steve Wood

Bedworth were close to pulling a goal back on the hour mark when Parrott’s header from Luke Rowe’s right wing cross landed on the roof of the net, but they seldom threatened to get back into the game as Stratford concentrated in holding on to their two-goal cushion.

Then with only two minutes to go Luckie – who had already been booked – was involved in an off-the-ball incident with Ricardo Dudley and was inevitably shown a second yellow by referee Neil Pratt.

Sensing a possible reprieve, Bedworth piled forward in one last desperate effort with Keen firing in from Levi Rowley’s pass, but it was too little too late and Stratford were safely through to Monday’s draw.

Stratford Town: Louis Connor, Dan Summerfield, James Hancocks, Andy Gallinagh (Charlie Evans 78), Loyiso Recci, Lee Thomas, Eli Bako (Justin Marsden 76), James Fry (c), Mike Taylor (Jazz Luckie 38), Will Grocott, Ben Stephens. Subs not used: Christian Tudorache, Scott Martin.

Bedworth United: Dan Crane, Ryan Smith (Richard Blythe 66), Luke Rowe, Elliot Parrott, Mark Albrighton (c) (Khaellen Bailey-Nicholls 72), Ricardo Dudley, Iyesden Christie (Kai Williams 76), Reece Blackmore, Luke Keen, Levi Rowley, Joe Pegg. Subs not used: Janabi Amour, Adam Harrison.