Stamford Strollers Over 50 B team kicked off the new season with two afternoon fixtures. The squad for the day was:
Paul Giffen GK
Tim Marsden Cap
Our first fixture was against Glinton and Northborough, Giffen in goal, Marsden at the back, Smith and Edwards in midfield and Barrett-Treen up front. In an end to end game both keepers were in good form and despite having the lion’s share of the ball and chances Strollers were unable to break the deadlock and the first half finished goalless.
In the second half Strollers continued to dominate, however, it was from a quick breakaway that Stamford took the lead. Marsden won a challenge on the edge of his own area and played it forward to Edwards who played a first time pass perfectly into the path of Barrett-Treen who swept the ball first time past the G&N keeper.
In response G&N threw everybody forward and another clearance from Marsden found Barrett-Treen unmarked on the halfway line who carried the ball half the length of the pitch and calmly fired into the corner of the G&N net.
G&N continued to push forward and, despite the best efforts of Giffen in the Strollers goal, G&N pulled one back to make the final score 2-1 to Strollers.
Our second game was against Oakham who we knew would be more difficult opponents. Ross replaced Barrett-Treen in the only change, Ross now at the back, Edwards and Marsden in midfield and Smith up front.
In an open first half both teams had chances with the Oakham GK pulling off a series of fine saves. At the other end Oakham found two clinical finishes to go two up, undeterred Strollers forced their way back into the game with Ross lashing in right foot from a quick Marsden free kick to make it 2-1 to Oakham at half time.
The second half was equally open and Oakham went 3-1 up, again Stamford fought back, Ross this time shooting powerfully left footed into the roof of the net from a Marsden corner. Strollers pushed hard for the equaliser, but were caught on the break for Oakham to make the final score 4-2.
Overall two good performances from Strollers B against two good teams. Special mentions, firstly, for Paul Giffen who played both games in pain with an injured shoulder, but who nonetheless pulled off a series of fine saves. Secondly for Mike Edwards who made his competitive debut for Stamford with two polished performances. Thirdly for Iain Ross who, since March, has played in 37 consecutive Over 50 matches scoring 23 goals in the process, playing at the back!