Harvey Billing double inspires Stratford Town Reserves to convincing win over Hampton in Birmingham FA Saturday Vase
STRATFORD Town Reserves travelled to the leafy suburbs of Solihull to take on Hampton in the Birmingham Vase second round and ran out convincing 5-2 winners, reports Richard Price.
After an impeccably observed sixth-minute tribute to tragic little Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, the game kicked in at a frantic pace.
Stratford opened the scoring when Jake Williams nodded in a parried Jake Collins shot, but Hampton hit back almost immediately when a swift incursion down the right flank resulted in an equalising tap-in.
After the Hampton ‘keeper flapped away a Cian Hodson header, Harvey Billing floated in the resulting corner for skipper Kian Hamer to rise above the melee and power home a bullet header for 2-1.
The second half saw a young Stratford side really begin to impose themselves on their experienced hosts.
Collins struck to make it 3-1, while Max Thomas hit a shot agonisingly close but high and Zidan Sutherland saw an effort cleared off the line.
Billing scored the best goal of the game with a beautifully curled shot from the left edge of the box into the top corner and with the newly-introduced Harry Baines and James Kiley running their markers ragged on the flanks, it was a surging run from the latter that led to the ball finding its way via Collins to Billing who stroked home his second and Stratford’s fifth.
After Joe Sykes had seen a shot whistle over the bar, some late pressure from Hampton saw them notch up a consolation penalty for 5-2 but the honours lay with Stratford, who move on to a third round meeting away at Jet Blades in a fortnight.
Stratford return to Midland League Reserve Division action on Saturday with a home game against unbeaten leaders Leamington (3pm kick-off).