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Stratford Town squad given much-needed minutes in defeats to Leicester City and Oxford City



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TWO friendlies in the space of two days gave Stratford Town the opportunity to give much-needed minutes to all the squad, writes Harry Hibbert.

Joshua Kilbride takes on his man during Saturday's defeat to Oxford City. Photo: Paul Grant / STFC
Joshua Kilbride takes on his man during Saturday's defeat to Oxford City. Photo: Paul Grant / STFC

On a very warm afternoon at the Arden Garages Stadium on Saturday, the Bards were beaten 4-0 by National League South side Oxford City.

Due to the previous night's tough encounter against Leicester City, many first-team players were left out of the side by boss Dean Holdsworth who was led into giving others a chance, with many youngsters starting the game.

Predictably, the starting line-up contained only one player that started the previous day's clash against the Foxes, that being a triallist.

Both sides' line-ups were scattered with triallists, with Stratford having six and Oxford naming three.

The Hoops proved too strong for the young Bards and their dominance was rewarded with three goals before the break – two from a triallist and one from striker Joe Iaciofano.

Despite the Bards being strengthened in the second half by the introduction of Will Grocott, James O'Neill and Curvin Ellis, the game was killed off by a goal in the 66th minute by a triallist.

The Bards matched the Hoops for periods of the second half, however, Oxford's quality proved too much in the end.

Jack Storer in action for Stratford Town agaisnt Leicester City on Friday night. Photo: Paul Grant / STFC
Jack Storer in action for Stratford Town agaisnt Leicester City on Friday night. Photo: Paul Grant / STFC

Prior to the game against Oxford, the Bards were involved in an entertaining 3-1 defeat to a Leicester City side full of youngsters.

An appreciative audience filled the Arden Garages Stadium and an electric atmosphere was created when Josh Hawker cancelled out the Leicester opener which was put home by Ethan Fitzhugh.

Sixteen minutes passed and already the fans had witnessed a thrilling game. It remained 1-1 until half-time, with both sides going into the break off the back of a lively first half.

Many changes were made in the second period from both sides which made the game inevitably disjointed but the Foxes came out the stronger, and their dominance was emphasised by two goals in 15 minutes from Chris Popov.

There was concern for the Bards when Liam O'Brien had to be withdrawn midway through the second half.

Despite putting up a good fight it ended with a Leicester win, however, it was a performance the management team can be content with.



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