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Thursday 13 December 2012 Updated: 13/12 15:14
Stratford Town 2 Heather St Johns 1
LEADERS Town strengthened their grip at the top of the Baker Joiner Midland Alliance with a hard fought success at the DCS Stadium on Saturday.
Late goals from Aaron Forde and Joe Halsall helped Town come from behind for the second successive match to sink the visitors, who had Scott Smith sent off ten minutes into the second half, and establish a healthy 11 point lead over the chasing pack.
Heather, who won the team of the month award for November, showed why by storming into a seventh minute lead when Dan Tymon flicked on a long ball from Harry White and Shane Gibbs burst clear before slotting past advancing keeper Chris Jay.
Shell-shocked Town survived a scare shortly after when Joe Price unleashed a powerful 20-yard shot which beat Jay but rattled the bar.
Town were struggling to piece together any meaningful moves and the woodwork again came to their rescue after 27 minutes when Gibbs intercepted a poor clearance from Richard Robinson and thumped a 25-yard effort against the post.
Town almost got back on level terms in the 30th minute when Tyrone Fagan released Joe Halsall who was denied by a brave save from advancing keeper Peter McGuire.
Halsall had another effort well saved before Fagan saw his well struck shot defelcted wide but Heather went close on the stroke of half time when Ryan Nash combined with Gibbs and fire inches over the bar.
Both sides had chances at the start of the second half with Gibbs firing into the side netting for the visitors but at the other end Halsall’s fine shot was saved by McGuire at the second attempt.
The visitors were reduced to ten men after 55 minutes when Smith received his marching orders for a second bookable offence but Town continued to make little headway despite their numerical advantage.
Indeed, Heather almost doubled their lead on the counter-attack with Price having an effort well saved by the diving Jay before Gibbs hammered another shot just over.
Town boss Carl Adams introduced substitutes Jamie Molyneux and Dan Kerrigan with the latter instantly spurning a golden opportunity after good work by Mark Faulds and Molyneux.
Town kept plugging away and they were rewarded in the 78th minute when Kerrigan’s low cross was converted by Forde.
Two minutes later Simeon Tulloch ended a dangerous run into the area by finding Halsall whose shot took a wicked deflection to leave McGuire helpless and boost Town’s championship challenge.
Town face a trip to lowly Coleshill Town this Saturday (3pm) which will mean a return to his former club for manager Carl Adams.
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