Ten-man Stratford Town claim hard-earned point at Coalville Town
Coalville Town 1-1 Stratford Town
Southern Premier Central
BOSS Gavin Hurren hailed Stratford Town’s “professional” performance as they battled hard with ten men to come away with a point from Coalville Town on Saturday, reports Stuart Morse.
The Bards had taken a 28th-minute lead when Paul McCone fired in from Will Grocott’s corner but their task of claiming a first win on the road was made harder when Josh Hawker was sent off on the hour mark.
Stratford defended valiantly but 12 minutes from time the Ravens rescued a point when Eliot Putman scored from the spot after debutant Carl Dickinson was judged to have fouled Luke Shaw in the box.
Speaking after the match, Hurren said Hawker’s red card was “harsh” but was proud of how the squad carried out their game plan.
“It was a credit to the boys on Saturday, we went with a game plan and they carried it out professionally,” he said.
“I was immensely proud in the way it was carried out. I thought the sending off was harsh but it was one of those things.
“Josh was gutted but the lads all dug in deep. Our defence on Saturday was a wall and it took a penalty to break us down but to go to Coalville and get a point is something I’m really happy with.”
There were four changes for the Bards from the last fixture against Basford United.
In came Dickinson for his debut, Jamie Molyneux, Taylor Morrison and Hawker. Dan Lafferty and Sam Wilding dropped to the bench, Jack Turner was out injured and there was no place in the squad for James O’Neill.
Coalville, fresh from their FA Cup defeat to Charlton Athletic the previous week, started the stronger but for all their pressure were unable to get anywhere near Stratford, with the newly-formed defence looking like they had played together all their careers and admirably repelling all attacks.
Stratford gradually put their mark on the game as the first half went on. Molyneux had the first real opportunity and his effort was tipped over by Paul White, resulting in Stratford’s first corner.
Grocott took the set-piece and a perfectly flighted delivery was met at the back post by McCone who had the easiest of finishes to give his side the lead in the 28th minute and it would stay 1-0 at the break.
After the interval Coalville came out all guns blazing but Stratford’s defence stood firm.
In the 57th minute Hawker received his first yellow for delaying White’s movement and was then shown a second, followed by a red, four minutes later for an untimely tackle.
The Bards regrouped excellently and held the home team at bay until the lively Shaw found himself in the penalty area in a group of players and hit the deck, with Dickinson deemed to have caused the foul.
Putman converted from the spot to make it 1-1, leaving Stratford with 12 minutes to hold on for a point. There was a sense of shock when six additional minutes were added on but the Bards showed excellent gamesmanship to run down the clock to come away with a draw.
COALVILLE TOWN: Paul White, Alexander Dean (Timothy Berridge 67), Eliot Putman, Jake Eggleton, Chris Robertson, George Wilson, Luke Shaw, Joe Doyle-Charles (Herve Pepe-Ngoma h/t), Ashley Chambers, Billy Kee (Tendai Chitiza 76), Thomas McGlinchey. Unused subs: Jake Laban, Connor Smith.
STRATFORD TOWN: Liam O’Brien, Paul McCone, Taylor Morrison, Ashley Sammons, Martin Riley, Carl Dickinson, Jamie Molyneux (Aksum White 55), Josh Hawker, Mikey Taylor (Dan Lafferty 63), Will Grocott (Sam Wilding 67), Andre Wright. Unused subs: Louis Beresford, Cameren Philip.
REFEREE: Daniel Woolley