Stratford step up their survival bid

15/03 Updated: 15/03 12:30

Warwick University 1 Stratford 3

STRATFORD kept their Midlands One survival hopes alive with an important victory at fellow strugglers Warwick University on Saturday.

Stratford were never at their best but three first half goals proved decisive and sentenced the students to the drop.

Both sides started nervously but Stratford’s first attack saw striker Terrance Malcolm and Richard Stokes combine to set up top scorer Mark Leary who clinically finished.

Vice-captain Malcolm then hammered home an unstoppable effort, while Craig McKee slid a drag flick past the post before Malcolm and Leary combined to leave Richard Stokes with the simplest of finishes.

The hosts gradually gained a foothold and looked dangerous down their right flank as well as from set pieces.

After Martyn Helliker had twice denied the home team from open play, he was beaten by a drag flick.

Stratford led 3-1 at half-time with the home team down to ten players after a defender was sin-binned.

The second half was something of a non-event though, memorable more for the number of cards and sin-binnings.

Excellent defending allied with some incisive attacks leaves Stratford’s fate still in their own hands.

Edwards Estate Agents sponsored Stratford face another potential relegation decider when they entertain Stone in the penultimate game of the season on Saturday.

Stratford Ladies maintained their Warwickshire League Division One title challenge with a fine 3-1 victory at Coventry & North Warwickshire on Saturday.

Stratford quickly signalled their intentions with captain Hayley Nicholls sliding an early effort inches wide.

The visitors dominated the first half but had to be content with just one goal which was scored by Mel Coleman.

Keeper Becky Casement was not tested in the first half with Emma Van Der Heyden, Vicki Guise and Coleman defending superbly.

The half-time break did little to reduce Stratford’s momentum with Rachel Kent and Nicholls going close, while player of the match Juliet Heyworth was twice denied by good saves.

Holly Outhwaite eventually doubled the lead with a sweetly struck 45th minute shot.

It sparked the home side into action and they reduced the arrears but Casement produced a splendid save to prevent an equaliser and Coventry’s threat faded.

Stratford sealed their 15th victory from 16 starts when Outhwaite and Nicholls combined to find EJ MacLeod who rounded the keeper and slotted home.

Stratford will be aiming to avenge their solitary defeat when they entertain leaders Warwick at Stratford High School this Saturday (11.15am).

Warwick currently hold a one point lead but Stratford have played one game less.

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