Stansfeld took a significant scalp as they comfortably beat Rochester United 5-1 in the First Round of the Kent Senior Trophy, writes Mark Litchfield…
Stansfeld took the lead against the Premier Division outfit after only five minutes, when Jack Gibbons – playing only his second game of the season since returning from injury – scored his second goal in as many games with a brilliantly curled effort into the top right-hand corner of the net.
The lead was short lived, though, after some poor defending from a corner saw Rochester captain Ricki Holmes head home at the far post.
Stansfeld reacted well to the setback, however, wrestling the initiative once more, with Billy Shinners and Georgie Lowes forcing good saves out of opposition goalkeeper Michel Elder.
The lead was regained again in the 23rd minute as Shinners expertly volleyed home a superb defence-splitting 40-yard diagonal pass from Billy Jolley.
Shinners, Lowes, Jolley and Sam Ryan all had shots saved by Elder before the end of the half, meaning Stansfeld had to settle for their one goal advantage at the break.
A two-goal cushion was created on the hour mark, though, when Lowes forced an error from Elder, allowing Holmes to chip the ball into an empty net from 30 yards out.
The game was extended beyond Rochester’s reach with twenty minutes remaining, as Lowes again once more forced Elder into an error – the Stansfeld man had the easiest of tasks in dribbling the ball into an empty net for his fourth goal in three games.
Shinners was unlucky not to add to his total with two more efforts, but on both occasions, the ball rolled agonisingly past the far post.
With time ticking away, Frankie Beale put the icing on the cake with a neat finish through the helpless goalkeeper’s legs for goal number five.
Charlie Burgess received the Man of the Match award after the game.
Stansfeld Manager Lloyd Bradley stated that his side were “superb” in their thumping victory: “After last week’s superb 5-0 win against Phoenix, I didn’t think we could play any better, but Saturday’s performance from the boys surpassed that – especially as it was against a Premier Division side.
“Other than some poor defending for the equaliser, the whole team were superb and the score-line could easily have been even more convincing, as we created chance after chance all afternoon.
“The defence were solid all game and James Bradley in the Stansfeld goal hardly had to make a save all game. Hopefully we have now turned the corner and we can start picking up some much needed points in the league”.
In other news, Stansfeld’s new first team won 5-3 at home against Staplehurst & Monarchs in the Kent County Premier Division, with Joe Clark, Sam Collins, Mark McKenna, Ben Mulrooney and George Martin on target.
The reserve team drew 1-1 at Halstead United, with Olivio Bergamin bagging Stansfeld’s solitary goal.
Next up for Stansfeld is a trip to Crockenhill in the SCE League on Saturday. Kick-off is at 3:00pm.