Strollers arrived at Nene Valley joint top of Division 1 after two wins on match day 1 in October.
The build up to this match day had been disrupted by Covid; thankfully not due to any of our players going down with the virus, but we did lose two players in the days leading up, Paul Blakemore (self isolating) and Tim Marsden (bad reaction to booster). Jez Norris came in to provide the additional player we needed to offer cover for tired legs and (although mercifully none emerged) injuries.
Two very tough games awaited.
The first was against the second of the Boston teams in Division 1.
Stamford Strollers 2, Boston Blues 1 (Kirby 2)
Having beaten Boston Yellows on match day 1, Strollers were hoping to make it a “double” over our near neighbours and friends.
The game started with the Blues playing some really impressive, high quality football, which slow starting Strollers found difficult to live with at times.
As the first half progressed Strollers managed to get a foothold in the game, but it was no surprise that at half time the game was tipped slightly in Boston’s favour as they led 1-0.
In the second half Strollers really stepped up a few gears and took a much firmer foothold in what continued to be a very tight game. Two goals from Paul Kirby turned the game on its head and Strollers finished victorious with a 2-1 win.
Next up, and fresh from a 3-0 win over Boston were Netherton B.
Netherton B 4, Stamford Strollers 3 (Hellawell 2, Kirby 1)
Both sides went into this tie unbeaten in the season so far, so a tight game was expected, and it didn’t disappoint.
Again Strollers were the slowest to start, falling 2 goals behind, before Jay Hellawell scored late on in the half to cut the deficit.
In an almost symmetrical way to the first game, Strollers were much stronger in the second half, the game ebbing and flowing to a point late on in the game where further goals from Hellawell and Kirby brought the game to 3-3, a score line which perhaps would have been a fair reflection of the game as a whole and a result both sides might have settled for.
However, a moment of brilliance followed from one of the Netherton players who, having been shepherded into a “safe place” close to the left hand touch line by the Strollers defence, still managed to score with a scorching drive into the top corner of the goal.
This sealed the win for Netherton in the tightest of matches, giving them the advantage over Strollers in the table at the end of Match Day 2.
Fantastic performance by all of the squad throughout both matches on a very enjoyable day.
This is undoubtedly a very competitive league where each game will be tough, but if Strollers can field the quality of team that we have been able to call on for both of the first two match days, we can definitely be in the mix by the end of the season!
Squad for the day
Paul Newiss (GK)