STRATFORD Town put the shock departure of former boss Tim Flowers behind them as the Bards beat Leiston 2-1 despite Leroy Lita’s second-half red card.
Melis Bushaj’s first Stratford goal put the Bards ahead on 15 minutes before Dan Lafferty scored what proved to be the winner on 41 minutes at the Arden Garages Stadium.
The result means Stratford are all but assured of safety in the Southern League Premier Central this season as they sit 10th in the table 12 points clear of safety.
Ian King took charge of the Bards in the wake of Flowers’ departure, assisted by Jon Hill and Ian Weaving, and produced an impressive display on home soil.
And Bushaj opened the scoring on the quarter hour mark when he slotted home from a corner after Lita was manhandled on the line.
Stratford doubled their lead shortly before the break when Lafferty fired home after the Bards won the ball high up the pitch to send the home side into the break with a two-goal lead.
However, veteran striker Lita was sent off on 72 minutes after he received a second yellow card having been warned by the referee 10 minutes earlier.
And Leiston eventually made the most of their numerical advantage when George Quantrell halved the deficit on 89 minutes following a succession of set-pieces only for the Bards to hold out despite almost 10 minutes of added time being played.
Stratford return to action against Hitchin Town TONIGHT (Tuesday, March 22) with kick-off at 7.45pm at the Arden Garages Stadium.