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Reaction from Stamford AFC manager Graham Drury after their victory over Long Eaton United

Results will take priority over performances for Stamford manager Graham Drury as his side enter the business end of the season with their play-off hopes still alive.

The Daniels were 2-0 home winners over already-relegated Long Eaton at a wind-swept Zeeco Stadium on Saturday to continue their push for a top five finish.

The blustery conditions affected the contest but Jack Duffy's early opener and a late own goal ensured Stamford triumphed on a day when many of their play-off rivals were defeated.

Manager Graham Drury. Photo: Rob O'Brien
Manager Graham Drury. Photo: Rob O'Brien

Three of the top five teams in the Southern League Premier Division Central lost their matches which means Stamford are now six points away from the play-off spots with games in hand on all of the sides above them.

Drury said: "It was a very tough game in difficult conditions.

"We got the early goal and you have to give a lot of credit to Long Eaton because they put us under a lot of pressure in the second half and came out and had a real go at it.

"We had to stay really disciplined and that's what the business end of the season is all about rather than chasing the game when we're in possession of the ball.

"We've got five more league games to win to have a chance of making the play-offs and it doesn't matter about performances because it is all about results.

"You can't play pretty football in those sorts of conditions. You have to have two sides to you - play when it's nice and ugly when it's not.

"Long Eaton pushed us all the way and it was a relief in the end to get that second goal."

Stamford's end of season injury woes were further compounded by losing two key players during the contest.

Centre-half Ashton Offler was replaced at half-time while James Blunden went off with 15 minutes remaining which left Stamford to play out the contest with 10 men having already made their three substitutions.

Goalkeeper Dan Wallis was also playing through the pain barrier for a Stamford side which already had Connor Bartle, Joe Burgess, Ollie Brown-Hill and Billy Bennett ruled out for the rest of the season.

Michael Duggan will be available again from suspension for Tuesday night's trip to Needham Market who were crowned league champions on Saturday.

The midweek trek to Suffolk is the first of three successive away games as Stamford visit fifth-placed Leamington next Saturday before a derby duel at Kettering Town on Tuesday, April 16.

Drury added: "Credit to Dan Wallis for playing. I thought he did really well and was brave to play when we really needed him.

"It isn't boding well at the moment though with all of the injuries, especially with two centre-halves and all of the full-backs now out.

"We will be patched up on Tuesday night but we'll go there with confidence and belief. We'll give it a real go because we've got nothing to lose."

Stamford are unable to make any more signings to cover for the injured players as the registration deadline has now passed.

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