The Strollers continued their good form in the league with another six points at Nottingham in matchday 4 in a curious day where their football oscillated from the sublime to the ridiculous, one minute playing flowing passing football and the next leaving gaping holes for the opposition to counter.
First up were last years runners up Chilwell. Despite the opposition not finding things quite going their way this year, the Stamford lads were prepared for a tougher game than league positions suggested. This proved to be the case as the teams exchanged goals in the first half, with Chilwell coming from behind twice to go in 2-2 at the break.
The second half brought improved play and greater dominance from the Stamford lads and Gary Wildsmith soon has us 3-2 ahead. The Chilwell lads weren't giving up though and despite being on the back foot they got their third equaliser of the day. This was a temproary blip though as the Strollers were beginning to create more chances and Wildsmith notched two more for a double brace. Stamford running out 5-3 winners.
The second match against Hucknall was again a fixture that Stamford were favourites to win on paper due to league position.
Straight from the off our lads put them under pressure and Hucknall were struggling to keep us at bay. In a dominant first half Wildsmith scored two well taken goals to put us ahead at the break.
The second half started much in the same fashion and a few minutes in we were 3-0 ahead and cruising. Perhaps things were a little too easy as slowly but surely Hucknall started to put some moves together and began to find space as Stamford dropped the pace and started to look a bit jaded. An unfortunate deflected shot saw them get a late goal and this was followed a few minutes later by a well worked second, Stamford found wanting at the back post. It was now 3-2 and despite dominating the bulk of this game we were starting to rock and panic a little ( I now know how Mourinho feels at Spurs).
Fortunately with experienced players the Strollers were able to run down the last minute or so of the game and held on for a deserved, if shaky, win.
Although playing some excellent football at times and bringing home the six points, at the end of the day there was a certain amount of relief that Gary Wildsmith had his shooting boots on and his seven goals on the day were a huge factor in us getting the points our play deserved at times.
Halfway through the season we are tucked in third spot 4 points behind Bramcote and 2 points behind Boston. The earlier reversed score fixture against Boston hitting us hard. Boston are next up on matchday 5 so we'll be hoping for the same score as the first game but this time without any mistakes on player ages.
The league table can be seen here
One black mark on the day was that on his return to the league after eight months out injured, skipper Taff Lovesey turned his damaged ankle whilst blocking a shot and limped off after 1 minute of the second game.
Strollers 5 Chilwell 3 (Barrett-Treen, Wildsmith x 4)
Strollers 3 Hucknall 2 (Wildsmith x 3)
Trevor Oliver (gk), Taff Lovesey (capt), G Wildsmith, Colin Barrett-Treen, Tim Marsden, Paul Beard, John Hutchins, Tony Laughton