THE cup hopes of Stafford Town were blown away twice in the space of five days.
Midweek, in the first round of the Walsall Senior Cup, the Reds bowed out 2-0 at the hands of unbeaten Midland Alliance title favourites Tividale.
However, Town made them fight all the way. After an even 25 minutes, with no clear cut chances for either side, Tividale took the lead on the half hour. Ryan Winwood swung in a corner from the left which went into the net at the near post. Karl Edwards claimed the final touch.
Dan Brown responded and fired wide of the right-hand post before the excellent Ben Sturgeon produced two super saves in quick succession to prevent the visitors from doubling their lead.
Twice in the 42nd minute, the goalkeeper first did well to push a rising 20-yard snap shot from Andrew Parsons round the left-hand post, then kept out Levi Bailey’s far post downward header from the resulting corner
In the final few minutes, with Town looking for an equaliser, Tividale scored their match clinching goal on 87 minutes when a bouncing ball played forward into the Stafford area by Tim Jackson caused problems for Sturgeon and Brett Clark touched the ball into an empty net.
On Saturday, Town visited Sporting Khalsa in the Staffs FA Vase first round and went down 5-1.
Clinical finishing from the home side and some puzzling decisions from the referee resulted in a scoreline which flattered the home side.
Khalsa took the lead after 15 minutes when Dale Faultless saved well but the loose ball fell to former Wolves striker Liam Hughes who rolled the ball into the empty net.
The home side doubled their lead three minutes later when the unmarked Ben Love headed home. Town fought back and Morgan Hurley was wrestled to the ground by a defender but the referee waved play on and did not award a penalty.
After 32 minutes a superb turn and shot by Hurley smashed against the home post from 20 yards and bounced to safety.
Just before half time, Khalsa’s Nicky Cambell appeared to be yards offside but the flag stayed down and he netted.
Mark Habbershaw made it 4-0 on 55 minutes, then Campbell added a fifth. Town netted a late consolation through Hurley.
On Saturday, Town will look to return to winning ways when they travel to Castle Vale for a Midland Combination premier fixture (3pm).