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Stratford Town up to sixth after victory over AFC Rushden & Diamonds

GOALS in each half from Dan Vann and Dexter Walters helped Stratford Town to a 2-0 victory over basement boys AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Tuesday night, reports Kevin Hand.

Dexter Walters got Stratford Town's second goal in the victory over AFC Rushden & Diamonds. PhotoL Steve Wood & Paul Grant / STFC (59326426)
Dexter Walters got Stratford Town's second goal in the victory over AFC Rushden & Diamonds. PhotoL Steve Wood & Paul Grant / STFC (59326426)

Vann got the Bards off to a flying start at the Arden Garages Stadium, powering in with his head from Will Grocott's corner after just three minutes.

Man-of-the-match Grocott also played his part in the second goal which arrived in the 72nd minute, this time crossing to Walters to smash home and give the home side some breathing room.

Victory for the Bards lifted them up to sixth place in the Southern Premier Central standings after seven games, however, if it weren't for the three occasions of dropping points when leading, they'd be top instead.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and despite those draws, Dean Holdsworth's men are just four points off leaders Nuneaton Borough.

Adam Rooney was unavailable for the Diamonds fixture and Vann made a welcome return to the starting XI.

Jamie Molyneux led the attack with Jack Storer and Walters occupying the wings.

There was also a surprise opportunity for young goalkeeper Louis Beresford who came in to replace Liam O'Brien just before kick-off.

The Bards started well and in the third minute, Grocott's corner to the back post was met by Vann who delivered an unstoppable header to open the scoring.

Storer, Molyneux and Walters were a constant menace to the Rushden defence but somehow Stratford could not add to their lead.

Diamonds goalkeeper Dean Snedker was resolute in keeping the score to just 1-0, while Beresford was equally as smart at the other end to keep his side's lead intact.

The half ended with Storer on the end of a number of rough challenges in the hurly-burly of a feisty but fair encounter.

Stratford started the brighter in the second half but it took until the 72nd minute for the second goal to arrive.

After an excellent passage of play, Grocott’s cross from the right was smashed home by a gleeful Walters to double the advantage.

There was a flurry of substitutions for the Diamonds but the Bards remained in control for the full 90 minutes plus six added on to claim all three points.

The Bards now turn their attentions to the FA Cup second qualifying round on Saturday, when fierce rivals Banbury United visit the Arden Garages Stadium (3pm kick-off).

STRATFORD TOWN: Stratford Town: Louis Beresford, Dan Vann, Jack Turner, Dan Lafferty (Ashley Sammons 74), Paul McCone, James O’Neill, Dexter Walters (Felix Miles 88), Josh Hawker, Molyneux (Chris Lait 80), Will Grocott, Jack Storer. Unused sub: Patrick Zito.

AFC RUSHDEN & DIAMONDS: Dean Snedker, Courtney Lashley, Ryan Hughes, Connor Furlong, Jesse Akubuine, Jordan Hines (Jenson Cooper 60), Nathan Hicks, Anthony Agemoh-Davies (Charles Black 80), Conor Tee, Evangelos Empochontsif, Morgan Worsfold-Gregg (Miguel Ngwa 69). Unused subs: Jack Connor, Tyrese Sutherland.

REFEREE: Gareth Davis


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