Stratford Town 0 Ellesmere Rangers 2
TWO second half goals sentenced Town to a disappointing defeat in their final Baker Joiner Midland Alliance home match of the season at the DCS Stadium on Tuesday night.
Town, who went into the clash on the back of four straight victories, were aiming to complete a rapid double over the Shropshire outfit but produced a lacklustre display and Ellesmere took full advantage to end their relegation fears.
The visitors were quickly into their stride and it required a splendid save from young keeper Sam Brady to prevent Chris Cathrall from opening the scoring after just five minutes.
Town were struggling to stamp their authority and were restricted to a couple of long range eforts from Michael Hayden which failed to trouble keeper Dave Maguire.
Stratford's best chance came when Maguire failed to hold Joss Holford's cross but shots from Andy Gregory and Jamie Molyneux were blocked by desperate defenders.
Molyneux cleverly worked himself an opening shortly after but his well struck shot was comfortably saved by Maguire.
Ellesmere should have broken the deadlock just after the break when Ashley Wells delivered an inviting cross which the unmarked Dale Williams headed wide from close range.
But the visitors opened the scoring after 63 minutes when Williams was adjudged to have been brought down by Brady in the area and picked himself up to confidently convert the resulting penalty.
The points were wrapped up three minutes later through Andy Ford who robbed Ricky Baker and fired home.
Gregory and Holford both had efforts saved by Maguire but Town never really threatened to get back in the game.
Town had previously cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Heath Hayes at the DCS Stadium on Saturday.
Town signalled their intentions from the start with Ricky Baker, Chris Laight and Mykel Beckley all going close.
James Travis, twice, and Chris Murphy, who has returned after a brief spell at Evesham United, were denied by fine saves from keeper Scott Mullett before Town deservedly opened the scoring after 26 minutes.
Mark Faulds and Baker were heavily involved in setting up an opportunity for Beckley who easily rounded Mullett and slotted into the empty net.
Town doubled their advantage just before the break when a cross from Travis was headed home by Murphy.
Victory was sealed in spectacular fashion in the closing stages when Faulds thumped an unstoppable shot into the net via the underside of the bar.
Town, who have slipped back to ninth in the table, complete what has been a disappointing campaign with a trip to Boldmere St Michaels this Saturday (3pm).
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