Evo-Stik South Premier Central
Biggleswade Town 0-0 Stratford Town
Report by Bryan Hale
STRATFORD Town came away from the Carlsberg Stadium with a hard-earned point against fellow play-off contenders Biggleswade Town after a scrappy encounter in which they had to dig deep to survive concerted second-half pressure from the determined home side before clinching their second successive goalless draw.
Thomas Baillie made two changes to the starting line-up from Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Stourbridge, bringing in Kynan Isaac following the completion of his suspension and the fit-again Ross Oulton in place of Dan Preston and Shawn Richards respectively.
On a difficult pitch, most of the early action took place in midfield.
Nabil Shariff had a header from a Will Grocott free-kick deflected behind while at the other end Joe White wasn’t far away with a shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area, but otherwise, neither goal was really threatened in the first half-hour.
The ball fell kindly to provide Matt Ball with a decent opportunity on 36 minutes only for his shot to loop off Jamie McAteer and make it a comfortable save for Matija Sarkic, but the Stratford keeper was tested more seriously two minutes before the break as he got down low to his right to hold a well-struck drive from Lucas Kirkpatrick.
The Waders looked to up their tempo after the restart, with White making a couple of promising runs and the speedy McNamara showing up well on the left as Stratford struggled to get out of their own half.
And they went close with 20 minutes to go when McNamara nicked the ball off Isaac to surge down the inside left channel and fire inches over.
Soon after Sarkic showed his class as he came out to pull a deep cross from Jack Bradshaw out of the air as McNamara waited to pounce, and as the game headed into added time it was Sarkic who secured the draw as he advanced to keep out a close-range effort from McNamara who had latched onto a long ball down the middle.
For match reaction and the full report, read Thursday’s Herald.