Mickleover Sports 0-1 Stratford Town
Buildbase FA Trophy, Second Qualifying Round Replay
Report by Bryan Hale
MIKE Taylor climbed off the subs bench to power home one of his trademark headers just as it looked as if extra time was a certainty to propel Stratford Town into the third qualifying round for the first time ever.
Until then both sides had cancelled each other out in a physical encounter played at a frenetic pace with few if any clearcut chances at either end.
Tom Baillie made two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with Taylor giving way to Lewis Wilson in the striker’s role and Ross Oulton coming in for Jimmy Fry, while the most evecatching of the four Sports changes also involved their strikers with the replacement of the Burton Albion loanee Kyle Clamp with the Nottingham Forest loanee Victor Soleinde.
In the early skirmishes Wilson went close for Town while at the other end a promising run from Evan Garnett was halted by a dubious offside decision before Soleinde wasted a great opportunity in the 15th minute by blazing over from a pinpoint Ted Cribley cross.
Albi Skendi was next to threaten with a jinking run down the left on 28 minutes with his shot from an increasingly narrow angle beating keeper Corey Addai but being hooked off the line by Ricky Ravenhill.
Soon after Kieren Westwood strode forward to hit a fierce left-footer which was well held by Addai stretching to his left, but half-time was reached with the game still goal-less.
It was more of the same after the interval, and in an effort to give Town more of a presence up front Baillie introduced Taylor on the hour mark in place of Westwood with Kynan Isaac switching to left back and Wilson dropping into midfield.
Town had a couple of free-kicks in promising positions only for Grocott’s flighted deliveries into the penalty area to be confidently claimed by Addai and by now it was looking as if one goal would be enough if either side could manage it.
The Sports supporters thought that the decisive moment had arrived with a quarter of an hour to go when the tricky Garnett worked an opening for himself but from 12 yards out he somehow lifted the ball over the bar.
Taylor though was now making his presence felt forcing Addai into a smart save with five minutes to go.
And then Town at last produced the bit of quality needed to win the game on 88 minutes when Chris Cox’s deep cross from the right was met by Taylor at the far post for his 12th and by far his most important goal of the season.
As Baillie said afterwards Town had got there in the end.