Comeback keeps unbeaten record

Evo Stik NPL Division One South

New Mills 2 Stamford 1

New Mills maintained their unbeaten start to The Evo Stik League campaign with a comeback victory against Stamford at Church Lane on Bank Holiday Monday.

On a miserable afternoon, both sides had early opportunities to score. Practically from the kick-off, the visitors’ Lee Benson broke free down the right but fortunately for The Millers, his effort was blocked for a corner. Straight down at the other end, Antony Field’s corner was met by Carlos Meakin who flashed his header narrowly wide of the target.

Meakin again came within inches of breaking the deadlock in the tenth minute with a free kick 25 yards from goal which agonisingly hit the base of the post with the keeper Mario Ziccardi well beaten.

Stamford took the lead in the 12th minute when Sam Mullarkey created his own space on the edge of the penalty area and his shot across Ben Proctor nestled in the bottom corner.

New Mills struck back almost immediately and were back on level terms within four minutes. Antony Field’s pace was causing endless trouble to the visitors’ defence and when he fired in yet another cross, nobody, defender or goalkeeper alike, took control of the situation as the ball zipped across the wet playing surface and this indecision allowed Ashley Stott to nick the ball home from close range.

Around the half-hour mark following a scramble in the home penalty area, Tony Barras was injured. The centre half’s strained knee ligaments could mean a lengthy break from the game.

After the interval, Field had an early chance to test goalkeeper Ziccardi. Ashley Stott dispossessed Stamford’s Miles Chamberlain but rather than taking on the ball himself, he passed to the young winger who could only slice his first-time effort well wide.

Stamford were far from out of it, and Danny Jackson appeared lucky to get away with pulling the shirt of an attacker when the Stamford player appeared to have broken free. Referee Mr Sarsfield elected to play the advantage and this only saw the visitors gain a corner so the vocal protestations at the decision appeared to be justified.

On the hour, the home side had a glorious opportunity when Ashley Stott’s dipping shot from 25 yards was tipped onto the crossbar by Ziccardi. With the keeper still trying to recover his position, the rebound fell kindly to Carlos Meakin who connected sweetly from eight yards but struck the ball straight into the only area Ziccardi could protect and incredibly the keeper kept out the shot despite knowing very little about it.

Ziccardi’s counterpart Ben Proctor then made his own excellent save when he tipped Lee Beeson’s dipping free kick onto the top of the crossbar and away for a corner.

As the hard-working visitors started to tire New Mills grabbed the all-important third goal.

Again, the provider was Antony Field whose cross to the back post was attacked by full debutant defender Nik Kudiersky who headed the ball back across the goal to where Ashley Stott, whose first effort was stopped dead on the goal-line by Ziccardi. The striker was not to be denied for a second time though as he bundled the ball home to give The Millers a priceless lead.

Both teams provided an entertaining spectacle but once again it was New Mills who grabbed the three points which extends their unbeaten start to the NPL season to six games.