Stratford Town's run without a goal extends to 315 minutes after Bromsgrove Sporting stalemate
STRATFORD Town drew for the third time in four matches after they were held to a goalless stalemate by Bromsgrove Sporting in front of a bumper New Year's Day attendance.
The 1,083-strong crowd were not exactly treated to a spectacle at the Arden Garages Stadium in a game where defences won, and it was only the crossbar that prevented the visitors from snatching all three points right at the death.
A dangerous cross from Josh Quaynor was met by second-half substitute Callum Ebanks, but he could only direct his header against the crossbar, meaning the spoils were to be shared.
However, the big talking point came in the 78th minute when it appeared Sporting's Tom Taylor stamped on Jack Storer's back and escaped a red card.
For the Bards, it now means they have gone five hours and ten minutes since last scoring when Joe Magunda was on target in the 1-1 draw at Leiston.
Although Tim Flowers' men have tightened up at the back, it's the lack of goals which is a concern right now.
The draw means 11th-placed Stratford – who are seven points clear of the relegation places – have now just won one of their last five outings.
Flowers made two changes to the team which lost 1-0 at Banbury United on Monday, with Owen James and Storer coming in for Dan Vann (Covid-19) and Harry Wakefield (benched).
The hosts had a good chance to open their account in the ninth minute when man-of-the-match Jordan Williams was fouled right on the edge of the area, but Storer’s poor effort hit the wall and Sporting managed to counter, but Lewis Wilson was on hand to bring an end to that threat.
Both sides cancelled each other out as the half wore on, with the Bards favouring the wide ball out to Will Dawes and James, while Sporting always looked a threat on the break with Demetri Brown leading the line.
Although James did see a wayward left-footed shot fly over the bar, that was the best as it got for the hosts in this scrappy affair. And midway through the half the Bards were forced into a change, as Magunda had to be replaced by Michael O’Regan following a challenge on Joseph Willis.
Sporting ended the half stronger of the two and from a series of successive corners, Taylor came close to nosing the visitors ahead five minutes before the interval, but he could only head Quaynor’s inch-perfect delivery over the bar from six yards out.
The Rouslers shot out of the blocks in the second half with Jamie Molyneux going on a mazy run deep into Stratford's half before seeing his shot blocked.
The scrappy nature of the game continued and there limited chances for both sides. Magunda and Williams once again formed a solid pairing at the heart of the defence, while Isaac and Wilson mopped up anything on the wings.
Sporting's defence was equally as assured, with Storer often cutting a lone figure up top and lacking any support.
Just past the hour mark Mahoney superbly tipped a Quaynor pile-driver from distance over the bar, while Ashley Sammons decided to take aim ten minutes later and his arrowing shot from 25 yards out was expertly pushed behind by Oliver Taylor.
Then came the big talking point. Storer appeared to have been stamped on whilst on the ground by Taylor but the incident went unpunished. Storer – who had been yellow-carded in the 15th minute – was lucky to escape a second booking for pushing Taylor.
The drama did not end there, though, and in the third minute of stoppage time the crossbar denied the visitors from stealing an unlikely victory. Quaynor found himself in acres of space on the right-hand side and his inch-perfect cross was met by an unmarked Ebanks.
Ebanks had all the time in the world to pick his spot, but could only direct his header against the crossbar much to Stratford's relief.
STRATFORD: Mahoney, Wilson, Isaac, Fry, Magunda (O’Regan 31), Williams, James (Lafferty 83), Dawes, Storer (Wakefield 81), Grocott, Sammons. Unused subs: Beresford, Andoh.
BROMSGROVE: O.Taylor, C.Taylor, Quaynor, Hayward, T.Taylor, Kettle, Molyneux, Newell, Brown, Willis, Shorrock (Ebanks 64). Unused subs: Wise, Clayton, Wilson, Ebbutt.