The Tigers went out of the Doodson Cup at the second round stage losing 3-1 to Stamford at the Vic Cousins Stadium.
Mark Shaw made several changes giving a number of the fringe players an opportunity with only Jan Budtz and Adam Quinn starting who started the previous game at Rushall and ended the game with five players on the pitch that are still young enough to play for the U19’s.
And the young Tigers side pushed their more experienced hosts all the way, playing some good football in an entertaining game.
The first chance of the game fell to Ellis Wall who ran onto Tom Mullen’s flicked header before firing over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.
Aaron Cole was next to go close after beating Shawn Richards, he cut inside only to see his shot parried away by Will Jones.
However, on 17 minutes Stamford took the lead, Nabil Shariff getting behind the Tigers defence to latch onto a clearance from ‘keeper Jones before lobbing Budtz from the edge of the penalty area.
Then Jordan Smith shot just wide from 25 yards out for the Daniels, although Budtz had the ball covered.
On 24 minutes the Tigers equalised through Jack Barnett, but it was Jack Adams who was the architect of the goal as his persistence kept the move going before cutting the ball back to Barnett to finish with aplomb.
Minutes later Barnett tried his luck again, firing over from 25 yards.
Smith headed over Richards’ cross when well placed whilst at the other end Wall flashed a shot just wide of the post for the Tigers.
The final chance of the half fell to Daniel Moyo who shot straight at Budtz after being set up Shariff.
The first chance of the second half fell to substitute Ryan Robbins, Budtz deflecting his effort for a corner.
As the host started to exert more pressure Quinn made an excellent interception to deny Stamford as Richards’ cross looked destined for the unmarked Moyo inside the six yard box.
Stamford forced a number of corners but the young Tigers side defended resolutely, Smith going closest heading over Daniel Lawlor’s corner.
Robbins went even closer when his shot was partially blocked by Budtz before Chris Salt acrobatically cleared the ball off the line with the follow up shot well blocked by Josh Williams.
However on 80 minutes, with the Tigers temporarily down to 10 men with Quinn off the field receiving treatment for a cut, Stamford regained the lead when Moyo collected the ball on the corner of the penalty area unleashing an excellent strike giving Budtz no chance.
With Quinn unable to continue, he was replaced by Tom Elliott for his Tigers debut with the impressive Nick Hague moving to centre half and Wall dropping back to full back.
With five minutes of the game remaining the hosts made it 3-1 to book their passage into the next round. A cross from the right found Robbins who made space for himself before shooting past Budtz.
Will Jones, Shawn Richards, Liam Richardson (Alvin Jarvis 46), Jack Ashton (Ryan Robbins 46), Richard Jones (c), Cameron Powell, Daniel Lawlor, Jon Challinor, Nabil Shariff, Jordan Smith (Alex Walton 75), Daniel Moyo
Unused subs: Ryan Walker, David Staff
Goals: Shariff (17), Moyo (80), Robbins (85)
Booked: Moyo (6)
Jan Budtz, Nick Hague, Josh Williams, Josh Davies, Adam Quinn (c) (Tom Elliott 81), Chris Salt, Jack Adams (Harry Johnson 84), Jack Barnett, Tom Mullen, Ellis Wall, Aaron Cole (Conor Higginson 60)
Unused subs: Tom Denton, Tom Jackson
Goal: Barnett (24)
Bookings: Williams (63), Mullen (88)
Referee: Mr J Thornhill
Assistants: Mr J Carter & Mr L Somerset