FOOTBALL: CARL Adams insists Stratford Town will continue their fearless approach to their debut season in the Southern Premier.
The Town manager said Saturday’s 2-2 draw at St Neots Town, one of the expected promotion contenders and play-off finalists last season, was further proof the newcomers are quickly adjusting to their first season in Step Three.
And he believes they can keep surprising their rivals as the team, which added half a dozen summer signings, keeps improving.
“We’ve taken everything in our stride so far – we don’t fear anybody and you can see that in our play,” said Adams.
“St Neots are one of the teams everybody is saying will be up there but I was gutted we came away with a draw on Saturday. I thought my lads were excellent and honestly I thought we should have beaten them.
“We weren’t fazed. We’ve shown we belong in this division.”
After two promotions in three seasons, Adams has built around a successful core but he says the new additions are also still adjusting to the Stratford structure, so they will get better.
“This is still a team in the making,” added the manager. “It’s very much like our first season in the Southern League after winning the Alliance. We went and enjoyed the experience, tinkered with the squad and got used to the league. Then we learned how to be promotion contenders.
“I’ve brought in five or six lads in the summer and they are getting used to how we do things.”
The next challenge will be the Bank Holiday double-header, when they entertain Chesham United tomorrow (Saturday) at the DCS Stadium and then make the short trip to Redditch United on Monday. Both games kick off at 3pm.
Full back Aaron Stringfellow misses both matches to complete his suspension while Stratford will also be without striker Kevin Charley, who is having to rest for a couple of weeks to ease his tendinitis of the knee. Midfielder Scott Hadland, unavailable last week, can return.
Robbie Thompson-Brown and Joe Halsall netted the Town goals as they twice led at St Neots before being pegged back.
After a goalless first half, Stratford took the lead nine minutes into the second period with a wonderful 35-yard curling free kick from Thompson-Brown.
Saints’ top scorer Tom Meechan equalised in the 65th minute after a free kick fell to him inside the box but the visitors again hit back seven minutes later.
Man of the match Thompson-Brown crossed from the left, Tyrone Fagan rolled the ball back and the onrushing Halsall swept home with typical aplomb.
The lead, however, lasted just a minute before Meechan headed home from six yards.
Adams said: “I thought we had the better of the game and created some good chances with good play.
“They didn’t really cut us open and only threatened from set pieces and throw-ins from one of their players who threw it like Andy Legg.”