Here’s a look at how the Stamford AFC players did in their 3-0 defeat away at Hartlepool United in the FA Cup First Round on Saturday.
It was always going to be a tough job playing a side 95 places above them in the football leagues pyramid but there were some strong performances from the underdogs and the scores reflect that.
Stamford AFC (All marks out of 10)
Sam Donkin 8
Outstanding display from the young goalkeeper who was unlucky to concede three goals in the second half. He but had no chance of stopping any of them, with a free kick in the top corner, deflected goal and good header into the corner of the net. Donkin made a great save at his near post in the first half with the score at 0-0 and a couple of other notable stops. Good in the air, quick off his line.
Delroy Gordon 6
The skipper’s day was spoilt by scoring the own goal to go 2-0 down and end any chance of a comeback. Otherwise he had a very solid day in defence, making a couple of key interceptions and blocks. Header from a corner just before half time was a great chance to score - it could have changed everything.
Jon Challinor 7
Solid at the back and read the game excellently to be in the right place against some fast wingers. Standout out moment was his interception to set up Brown for a shot on goal.
Sam Hill 8
Worked tirelessly in the heart of the Stamford midfield and did not stop chasing down the Hartlepool players, who moved the ball well, all afternoon. Had a shot on goal blocked.
Chris Salt 7
The central defender has been the key player in the Daniels’ backline and this was another impressive display. Powerful in the air as Stamford shut out the League Two side for 65 minutes.
Kern Miller 6
Normally a defender, Miller was asked to do a job up front by manager Graham Drury and gave it his all. He held play up relatively well and produced a decent shot which went just wide in the first half. His lack of pace compared to a normal striker was apparent.
Lee Beeson 7
A tough day at the office as Hartlepool looked to thread the ball through the defence but for two thirds of the match he was part of a very disciplined backline which frustrated the home team and their fans.
Jake Duffy 8
Absolutely everywhere in midfield, taking the ball off the toe of the Hartlepool players time after time as he helped break down wave after wave of attacks from United.
Jordan Smith 9
A standout performance from a player who has missed some of the cup run through suspension. This made up for it, using his pace to cause problems down the flanks. A late cross was just begging for someone to get on the end.
Jevani Brown 7
Skilful on the ball and great link play in the first half to attack Hartlepool despite the away side not risking too many numbers going forward. A curling shot just high and wide was his best chance of the match. Brilliant to watch but needs to test the keeper more.
Ollie Luto 6
Due to the pressure the lower league side were under Luto spent more time defending than attacking and did a good job of it for the most part. Not a day to be a marauding winger.
Elliot Sandy 6
Came on after 60 minutes for Brown, but Stamford were under the cosh at that stage and conceded five minutes later. He battled hard but Stamford never really looked like scoring in the second half.
John King 6
Came on in the 71st minute for Luto as Stamford chased an equaliser. Made up a three man strike force and was the closest to getting on the end of Jordan Smith’s cross.
Ryan Robbins 6
The St Kitts and Nevis international striker replaced Kern Miller after 63 minutes and almost made an immediate impact, going down in the box, but to the striker’s frustration his appeals were waved away. Despite Stamford going three up front Robbins was isolated and asked to do too much by himself against a higher calibre defence than the Daniels are used to.
Substitutes not used:
Manager Graham Drury 7
The Stamford boss once again opted for a defender up front to try and bring some physicality, having used Tom Batchelor in a similar role in the 1-1 draw at home to Wrexham, and Miller in the same position towards the end of the 3-2 replay win at Wrexham. For me it didn’t work and an out-and-out striker with real pace would have been a bigger threat to the home side, who were largely comfortable at the back with the skilful Toto Nsiala bossing things.
However the defence, which has been Stamford’s problem of late, excelled. The Daniels looked well drilled and from the lofty position of the press box at the British Gas and Power Stadium, the two banks of four could be clearly seen and were rarely broken.
The spirit of his side was obvious to be seen and Drury must be applauded for that.
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