Matchday Squad: Paul Giffen(GK), Paul Beard, Iain Ross, Tim Marsden, Mark Kelby, Richard Batty, Colin Barrett-Treen (with Paul G - GK and Mark making their competitive debut for Stamford Strollers WF).
This really was a game of 3 halves - or to be precise 3 x 20min sessions!
Stamford started well with some great one-touch football and testing the Sleaford keeper in the first couple of minutes. Some neat interplay between Mark and Richard, and then an absolute 'rifle-shot' from Iain in to the roof of the net gave Strollers the early lead. This was quicky followed by a 2nd goal for Strollers with a well hit shot from Mark (assist from Richard - well so he keeps telling me!) to make it 2-0. Sleaford were beginning to find their feet and towards the end of the first half managed to pull one back making it 2-1 to Stamford after the first session. (Stamford just nudged it!)
The second 20mins started with both teams having half chances which were well saved at both ends. Some quick feet from Mark resulted in a shot well saved by the Sleaford GK, though the ball rebounded to Mark who drove his second shot home. Stamford 3-1 up midway through. Sleaford came right back at us stretching our defence and eventually their striker found the gap to score and make it 3-2 to Stamford after the second session. (Honours even for this half!)
The final 20min saw Sleaford playing 2 Strikers, creating chances on a regular basis and putting the Strollers defence under pressure. Stamford could never quite retain the ball in the way they had in the first 40mins and some good movement by Sleaford, coupled with some mistakes by Strollers, resulted in Sleaford getting a well-deserved equaliser and then a further goal to take the lead 4-3! As Strollers went looking for the equaliser Sleaford manged to find the net to make it 5-3 at the final whistle. (Sleaford dug deep to pull away and win 5-3!)
This was a really competitive game of WF with both teams continually looking for opportunities to score and move the ball well. Must give a mention to Paul Giffen (GK Stamford Strollers) & John Sykes (GK Sleaford & England GK) who made some great saves throughout the game.
Finally, a big thanks to Steve Morgon for Reffing and pulling things together, along with Peter McCafferty and the lads at Sleaford for a cracking game of WF - we look forward to the rematch!