5:13pm Thursday 22nd August 2013
WILL Richards stunning stoppage time winner preserved Stourbridge’s 100 per cent start to the season’s Southern League campaign this week.
Following a fairly straightforward 4-1 opening day success at AFC Totton last Saturday, the Glassboys were given a much sterner examination by St Neots Town in front of a large Amblecote crowd on Tuesday night.
Having taken a 28th minute lead through Ben Billingham, the Glassboys were rocked when Ryan Sharman levelled matters early in the second-half from a well worked corner routine.
Second-half chances went begging as Stourbridge struggled to find the target and a 1-1 draw looked on the cards until Richards swooped to launch a looping header three minutes into stoppage time to seal the points with a 2-1 win.
Relieved Stourbridge boss Gary Hackett said: “Full credit to St Neots, because they came to have a go at us. “The game was end to end and must have been a great match for the neutral to watch.”
The victory at Totton was most memorable for a hat-trick of penalties converted by Sean Geddes.
Leon Broadhurst bagged a fourth goal, although in truth Stourbridge should have won by a wider margin as Geddes saw a goalbound shot deflected over the bar while new signing George Washborne hit the post.
Hackett said: “We probably played Totton at the right time. They’ve had to put a side together very quickly and I’m sure they’ll strengthen things soon.”
Hackett also sprang to the defence of his major summer signing Ryan Rowe who was replaced by Richards in the second-half.
He said: “Ryan’s not match fit at the moment. People have to remember he’s played very little football for quite a while.
“I never expected him to come in flying, but Ryan is a proven striker and he will get sharper the more games he plays.
“He was one of the fittest players at Kidderminster Harriers and he will get better.
“With the trio of Ryan, Will Richards and Luke Benbow, we have an exciting strike-force at our disposal.
“However, we are still a work in progress and I’m not clouded by events just because we’ve started with two wins.
“There are still certain aspects I’m not 100 per cent happy with and there is big room for improvement.”
With cricket taking centre stage at Amblecote this weekend, the Glassboys find themselves making a couple of trips to Redditch United’s Valley Stadium ground.
On Saturday they host last season’s losing play-off finalists Chesham at Redditch.
Then Stourbridge switch to the away dressing room at the Valley for the clash with derby clash with the Reds on Bank Holiday Monday.
Hackett expects former Kidderminster Harrier Dean Bennett to feature following his recovery from a calf injury, however, Drew Canavan is away on a coaching course in China.
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