The first round of football's NIMMO cup saw McDonald Stratford play Charrua Kaponga.
The game was a certainty to produce drama and it came within the first five minutes. Stratford keeper Phil Blake came crashing to the ground after his leg collapsed under him. While he was on the ground, the resulting melee saw Kaponga score. Blake was carried off the field and taken away by ambulance. Despite contention about the game not being stopped the goal was still awarded.
This was not the start Stratford needed. Matt Jamison once again donned the gloves to fill the gap taking him away from the wing. The next 10 minutes was messy with Stratford trying to settle themselves down but a strike from outside the 18 yard box was just beyond Jamison's reach and Kaponga were 2:0 up.
Stratford needed something special now and it was the skill of Brad Townsend that delivered. Taking the ball from almost half way, through Kaponga's defence, he was able to slide it back in from the left, across the goal face, then a touch from Junming Ma, to deliver their first goal.
The second half saw Stratford put pressure on every Kaponga move. This paid off with a messy ball in the Kaponga box being won by Duane Leggett who just feathered it past the keeper for goal number two. This was followed shortly after by goal number three from Matt Hawkles.
As tensions rose so did the altercations and there were no less than five yellows in the last 40 minutes along with one red that saw Kaponga lose a man.
The final whistle saw a jubilant Stratford take a deserved 3:2 win.
Next week its back to the league games with McDonald Stratford playing Pipeline Peringa at Swansea Park.
The Stratford Dairymaster 13 grade also had their first round knockout cup match playing Inglewood. Adam Belk dropped back out of his normal position to bolster the ranks bringing some deft skill.
Their new keeper, Jordon Rogers, was tested but showed himself to be a natural and the final score would have been dramatically different if it hadn't been for some spectacular keeping.
On attack there was effort and determination but all that was needed to complete the task was a little co-ordination.
Stratford lost the game 7:0 but only conceded one goal in the second half showing that they were quick to learn but just couldn't bring the game back.