AFC Telford United 1 Stamford AFC 2 report
The result adds to the scrutiny of manager Gavin Cowan’s prospects for Bucks, and while postponements have broken a season barely a month old, disappointment in that failure was palpable.
Early exits from the Emirates FA Cup aren’t just reserved for the Bucks under Cowan. Since its re-establishment, the club’s record in this most famous of all competitions has seldom reached the top; Perhaps the club’s fans were spoiled by Telford United’s rich history in the 1980s, or for those not old enough to remember those days, it may be a desire to experience some of this for themselves instead hearing fans wistfully but excitedly remember trips to Derby County. Lincoln City and Everton under Stan Storton.
The Bucks manager is well aware of Telford’s history in the competition, but he re-inscribed himself in the club’s history books on Saturday.
A shy representation saw the Bucks slip on the banana peel provided by opponents from two lower divisions; Although Stamford’s two-goal hero was the magnificent cosmos of Matwasa, the truth was that the visitors were out of this world. Instead, Graham Drury’s team simply played to their strengths, while the Bucks seemed unsure, at least to the layman, of their strengths. Cowan’s team watched Stamford peel the banana and throw it in their path, but couldn’t help but stand on it.
The result was a cup tie with the hosts instead spreading the welcome mat and calling on Stamford to take a two-goal lead before the urgency of their situation hit them, sparking some frantic but ultimately unsuccessful attempts at redress.
To add to the misery, the Bucks had sacked veteran defender Nathan Pond, who was sacked against substitute Michael Frew against substitute Michael Frew, towards the end of the game, an incident that betrayed Pond’s vast experience.
Pond, recently knocked down by Covid, returned to a Bucks team with a 4-4-2 formation, Jed Abbey returned in midfield and Tyrell Hamilton gave a start to the front alongside Jason Oswell.
The guests from the Northern Premier League Division One arrived in good shape but without coach Graham Drury; he had to watch his team from the stands and not from the sideline after he was sent off due to an incident prior to his team’s last game against Spalding United.
Drury was struggling to control his instincts and had to break away from his starting position when his bellowed admonitions to his team disturbed some nearby home fans.
His team started sensibly, although neither side seemed to take the initiative; However, the Bucks enjoyed the better chances and could have been in the lead in the first 25 minutes. Jason Oswell’s free-kick header lacked strength but still struck goalkeeper Daniel Wallis before bouncing off the base of his left post. Tyrell Hamilton could not stop the rebound and the chance passed, but Hamilton brought Wallis off a real save within a minute, his fierce attempt was blocked at close range.
Within a minute, the Daniels escaped to the other end and Matwasa’s flat blow from outside the box struck Russ Griffiths to his right to open the gate. The nifty No. 11 was the obvious threat, and carried by her lead, full-back Michael Armstrong joined an attack before firing an iron shot into the net.
The “Trip Hazard” signs were up and despite the warnings and Elliott Durrell’s attempt to get his team involved, the visiting team soon found a real boost. Within ten minutes of her first goal, Matwasa was back in control when a similar shot slid down the tuff from a distance and hit Griffiths’ right post before bouncing back behind him. The Bucks keeper either looked wrong or expected the effort to go far.
The Bucks seemed like a star and the lack of atmosphere in the ground was punctuated by a couple of boos when halftime hit and the hosts didn’t seem to have a clear idea of how to get back into the competition .
Within five minutes of the restart, and shortly after Durrell shot a shot past the far post, Cowan rolled the dice and made two changes, replacing Jed Abbey with Jack Byrne in midfield and pulling Oswell back; His replacement, Kai Williams, made a light-footed attacking partner for Hamilton, and it seemed the Bucks would stop playing Stamford in a game they were more familiar with and try to play through midfield to the two.
The plan brought out some brighter moments. Kyle Bennett shot over the gate, but wide, while Wallis held well, low down at his near post to defeat Hamilton. There was no one-way traffic, and a dangerous low cross from Matwasa invited, but got no contact in the six-yard area, a moment that could have signaled ‘Game Over’.
The game began to open. Matwasa fired a rising shot from the ‘D’ after converting Ross White and attacking partner Tendai Chitiza curled a shot off Griffiths’ left post. The Bucks responded through Hamilton, whose speed put him in a good position but whose composure failed him as he shot past the far post.
In the 76th minute, Hamilton was rewarded for his willingness to run when he was chopped down for a penalty by a panicked Stacy Freeman; Elliott Durrell took charge and beat Wallis when the keeper dived in the wrong direction.
The Bucks then ran toward the slit of light that goal offered; Substitute Matthew Barnes-Homer saw a stab shot deflected from six yards as the Bucks filled the visitors’ area, but then metaphorically slamming the trapdoor on their own fingers according to their ability to harm themselves.
Pond had gotten into an argument with someone at Stamford Bank, frustration and nerves rising, and staff on both sides stepped in to cool the moment. Unfortunately, Pond was obviously far from calm when he and substitute Michael Frew challenged shortly after the restart; Calling his lunge against Frew agricultural would be more than nice, and when the Stamford bench shot to the feet to demand a reprimand, umpire Sam Mulhall stopped him, reached for his back pocket, and dismissed Pond.
Except for ten men, the Bucks’ ferocious efforts to earn a replay almost paid off when Durrell took an under-hit from the flank and lifted the ball into the six-yard area, nearly defeating Wallis. The goalkeeper toppled over but knocked the ball away, blocking Williams’ succession when the game slipped.
Visiting Daniel, named after former Stamford resident Daniel Lambert, once the heaviest man in Britain, may have a great chance of moving forward; However, while not outstanding, they deserved their advancement simply by knowing what they were good at and sticking to it, a lesson the Bucks may need to consider.
Telford (4-4-2): Griffiths; Birch (Barnes-Homer 74), White, Pond, Streete, Abbey (Byrne 51), Walker, Oswell (Williams 51), Bennett, Durrell, Hamilton.
Unused subs: Lilly, Bood, Abbey.
Goals: Durrell (76 penalty)
Stamford: Wallis, Armstrong, Bartle, Vince, Cook, Blunden, Chitiza, Butterworth, Freeman (Wright 80), Challinor (Frew 70), Matwasa.
Unused Subs: Johnson, Goncalves, Duffy, Morgan, Haystead.
Goal scorers: Matwasa (26, 35).
Forewarned: Vince, Cook, Blunden, Wright.
Assistants: Jason Roberts, James Lunn.