Stafford Rangers 1 Norton United 0
Evo-Stik Northern Premier 1st Division (South) - Tuesday 19th August 2014

Neil Kitching's side made it two wins out of two on a night when Stafford Rangers paid their respects to former Chairman and Secretary Mike Hughes with a heartfelt minute's applause prior to kick off.

It was the visitors, managed by former Rangers midfielder Scott Dundas, who were first to show with a scuffed shot from Michael Lennon and another effort from Niall Green taking a deflection off Joe Ballinger inside the opening three minutes.

Rangers gradually got a foothold on the game and saw Ryan Wynter fire wide with a shot on the turn from 18 yards out.

Wynter then turned provider as his left wing cross was laid off to James Dance but the midfielder failed to get a clean connection with the shot and the opportunity went by.

Half time came with the two sides still on level terms but there were chances at both ends just before the break. After Dan Cope blazed his shot high over the Norton bar, Rangers keeper Adam Whitehouse showed good reflexes to push over a rising shot from Lee Cropper.

Rangers received a set back early in the second half when midfielder Levi Reid limped off with a hamstring strain but it was his replacement, Ryan Edmunds, who was to grab the only goal of the game on 58 mins when he climbed to head an Alex Curtis free kick beyond the reach of Ryan Boot.

Cope forced a save from Boot with a low shot from 20 yards out while Norton's Richard Smith wasted a great chance for the visitors when he sent his free kick high over the Stafford bar.

Wynter missed a couple of chances to add to the score while Edmunds was denied a second when Boot parried his shot.

Norton gave the Rangers fans a nervy ending to the night as they pressed for an equaliser but Whitehouse rarely looked threatened.

Stafford Rangers: 1 Adam Whitehouse, 2 Sam Griffiths, 3 Mark Branch, 4 Joe Ballinger, 5 Wayne Daniel, 6 Chris Smith, 7 James Dance, 8 Levi Reid (16 Ryan Edmunds 49m), 9 Ryan Wynter (15 Tom Vaughan 90+1m), 10 Dan Cope (18 Jordan Nadat 77m), 11 Alex Curtis.
Unused Subs: 12 Michael Williams, 14 Ollie Davies.

Norton United: 1 Ryan Boot, 2 Sam Bradbury, 3 Paul Taylor, 4 Richard Smith, 5 Adam Dawson (12 Chris Baker 88m), 6 Glyn Blackhurst, 7 Tom Winkle, 8 Mark McDonald (16 Daniel Cocks 81m), 9 Lee Cropper, 10 Michael Lennon (14 Leigh Skellern 72m), 11 Niall Green.
Unused Subs: 15 Kyle Diskin, 17 Robert Hawthorn

Cautions: Daniel (Rangers) Dawson (Norton)
Referee: Craig Taylor
Attendance: 483

Report by Chris Elsley

Carlton Town 1 Stafford Rangers 3
Evo-Stik Northern Premier 1st Division (South) - 16th August 2014

Rangers started the season with an emphatic victory at Carlton Town.

A young Rangers side took the game to their hosts with Alex Curtis seeing a shot saved inside two minutes. Curtis turned provider a minute later, an inch-perfect cross being headed home by Levi Reid in the 6-yard box. Rangers continued on the front foot with Reid again testing Millers keeper, Liam Mitchell.
Dan Cope missed a glorious chance in the 9th minute, putting a header wide from an excellent Reid cross. Joe Ballinger was next to miss the target with a header from a James Dance corner. Cope again went close when his shot was deflected for a corner.
It took Carlton 19 minutes to make any impression and when they did Kallum Keane should have done better from a Benn Minshull corner. The impressive Ryan Wynter failed to hit the target with a header before the home side equalised against the run of pay. Minshull’s free-kick was flicked on by Alex Troke, and Junior Ogede-Uzokwe headed home at the far post.
Mitchell made a final double save for Carlton denying Curtis and Chris Smith. Wynter hit a fine 30 yard effort just over the bar before Rangers had the ball in the net from an unlikely source. Goalkeeper Adam Whitehouse hit a free-kick which squirmed through the hands of Mitchell into the net only to have the goal unluckily chalked off for a supposed foul by Wynter. Kameron Campbell then headed past his own post while at the other end Whitehouse saved well from Aaron Hooton.
In first half stoppage time, a through ball by Curtis was taken in his stride by Cope and slotted past the advancing Mitchell to give Rangers a deserved lead.

Rangers continued to control the game after the break with Wynter creating an early opportunity for Cope who volleyed wide. Cope and Curtis combined for the left winger to force a sharp save from Mitchell. Rangers sealed all three points in the 72nd minute. Wynter was fouled outside the area. Reid hammered the free-kick inside Mitchell’s near post leaving the keeper grasping at thin air. As hard as the home side tried, Whitehouse wasn’t tested as Rangers ran out comfortable winners.

Carlton Town: Liam Mitchell, Robert Nnaji, Tyler Guy (Kameron Campbell 29), Alex Troke, Lee Torr, Kallum Keane, Benn Minshull (John Lufudu 72), Maksym Kowal, Junior Ogede-Uzokwe (Ben Flynn 80), Aaron Hooton, Joseph Brothwell.
Subs not used: Daniel King-Bisungu, Luke Cook.

Stafford Rangers: Adam Whitehouse, Sam Griffiths, Oliver Davies, Wayne Daniel, Joe Ballinger, Chris Smith (Tom Vaughan 84), James Dance, Levi Reid, Ryan Wynter, Dan Cope (Jordan Nadat 75), Alex Curtis.
Subs not used: Michael Williams, Mark Branch, Ryan Edmonds

Booked: Minshull, Brothwell (Carlton), Griffiths, Smith (Rangers)
Referee: Oliver Bickle
Attendance: 165

Report by Gary Hazlehurst

Rushall Olympic 2 Stafford Rangers 1
Pre Season Friendly Saturday 9th August 2014

Craig Marshall popped up to give Rushall a win in their final pre-season friendly before the real action gets underway.

Marshall was on the spot right at the end of normal time to apply a neat finish to a low Luke Keen cross after Josh Craddock had done well to win the ball.

Stafford, who the Pics played in the league last season, had the better of the first half, former Rushall player James Dance just putting a shot wide after nipping in on 16 minutes when the Rushall defence failed to clear the ball.

Immediately after though, Graham Deakin brought the ball down well and volleyed over the bar.

It was Stafford who deservedly took the lead though on 33 minutes when a mix up between Chris Gemmell and his defence meant the keeper failed to clear his lines and Ryan Wynter shot into an empty net from 25 yards out.

Rushall came into the game after the break and on 50 minutes Zak Martin found some space and tried a measured drive which hit the post.

Seven minutes later Alex Curtis brought out a good save with a close header from Gemmell.

Then on 64 minutes, half time substitute Marshall was just wide of post with a shot.

Jack Duggan headed a Ryan Winwood corner just wide and Marshall headed an Aaron Farrell cross onto the top of the cross bar as the Pics continued to press.

Craddock headed another Winwood corner into the net on 80 minutes and turned provider for Marshall right on time to give Rushall a boost before the league opener at Frickley.

Gemmell; Christophorou; Martin; Tolley; Caines (c); Westwood; Farrell; Deakin; Craddock; Heath; Danks.
Subs: Duggan (for Westwood 45); Smith (for Tolley 31); Winwood (for Deakin 45); Marshall (for Danks 45); Keen (for Farrell 71); Craner; James

Wright; Grriffiths; Davies; Ballinger; Daniel; Smith; Dance; Reid; Wynter; Cope; Curtis.
Subs: Branch (for Davies 59); Downes; Spittle (for Wynter 87); Mills; Edmunds (for Smith 51); Edwards (for Cope 72); Palmer; Berekeley

Report courtesy of Rushall Olympic

Stafford Rangers 1 Chester 3
Pre Season Friendly Saturday 2nd August 2014

Rangers enjoyed another good work out against Steve Burr’s  Chester with the visitors eventually winning by three goals to one.

Rangers more than held their own in the first half against what is likely to be the conference Premier outfits’ starting line up and even went ahead inside 8 minutes when a long ball from Ollie Davies picked out Dan Cope and he clipped the ball neatly over Jon Worsnop in the Chester goal.

Chester levelled on 27 mins when John Rooney’s high ball into the area saw Kieran Charnock fairly hold off Wayne Daniel and Craig Hobson snapped up the chance.

A few minutes later, Daniel kept the scores level as he blocked a shot from Kingsley James while Charnock should have made it two when he sent a free header over the Stafford bar.

Although he looked to have fouled Daniel in the build up, James fired Chester in front on 52 mins with a powerful drive that gave Callum Preston little chance.

Multiple substitutions saw the game lose momentum but there were still some promising chances for Rangers as James Dance forced a save from Jon Danby while Jack Edwards sliced his shot wide.

But it was Chester who finished the scoring five minutes from time when Peter Winn cut in from the left and squeezed home a 20 yarder beyond the reach of Stafford’s sub keeper Wes Hopwood.

Callum Preston (Wes Hopwood 80m), Michael Williams (Matt Berkeley 78m),  Mark Branch, Ollie Davies (Joel Mills 74m), Wayne Daniel, Levi Reid (Steve Palmer 62m), Chris Smith (Ryan Edmunds 46m), James Dance (Dean Bromley 78m), Ryan Wynter (Matt Berkeley 74m), Dan Cope (Richard Greaves 62m), Alex Curtis (Jack Edwards 57m)

Jon Worsnop (Jon Danby 57m), John Disney, Gareth Roberts, Matty Brown (Danny Taylor 46m), Kieran Charnock, Craig Mahon (Wayne Riley 46m), Kingsley James (Liam Blake 64m), Craig Hobson (Sean McConville 46m), John Rooney (Tom Pears 78m), Jamie Menagh (Peter Winn 46m), Danny Harrison (Bradley Tomlinson 78m)

Referee: Craig Taylor
Att: 297

Report by Chris Elsley

Stafford Rangers 1 AFC Telford United 2
Pre-Season Friendly Thursday 31st July 2014

Rangers suffered the first defeat of their pre season schedule but it was still another good work out for the Boro.

Telford took an early lead through Mike Phenix who poked home the rebound after Deale Chamberlain had saved well from his first effort.

Rangers went close to an equaliser through Ollie Davies but his header went across the face of the Telford goal before being scrambled away for a corner.

Telford were just that bit stronger and quicker in most departments and it was they who created the better chances as Andy Owens and Sean Cooke both missed the target when well placed while a volley from Phenix bounced back off Chamberlain’s legs.

Ryan Wynter looked increasingly confident and forced a good save from Andy Pryce with a 20 yard drive before heading an Alex Curtis corner straight at the Telford keeper.

The second half produced little of note until a dreadful error from Owens on 64 mins allowed Wynter to play in Dan Cope and last season’s top scorer made no mistake.

But Telford restored their lead just two minutes later when the ball looped up from a defensive header and sub Tony Gray finished smartly from 15 yards.

Rangers came close to another equaliser when Wynter and Curtis combined well but Cope’s shot went a foot wide.

Gray could have helped himself to a hat trick but headed over from a couple of yards out then blasted another shot out of the ground.

At the other end, Jordan Fincher picked out Davies with a free kick but the young defender headed over.

Gray missed another chance for Telford in the final minutes when he was denied by Chamberlain.

Deale Chamberlain, Michael Williams, Mark Branch, Oliver Davies, Joel Mills (Jordan Fincher 52m), Tom Vaughan (Ryan Wynter 35m), James Dance, Steve Palmer (Dean Bromley 71m), Dan Cope (Jack Edwards 71m), Ryan Edmonds (Louis Downes 52m), Alex Curtis (Matt Berkeley 83m).

Andy Pryce (Jonathan Hedge 46m), Wes Baynes, Sean Clancy, Mike Grogan, Andy Owens, Godffrey Poku (Kristian Platt 62m), Mike Phenix (Adam Farrell 46m), Jordan Deacey, Sam Smith (Tony Gray 46m), Sean Cooke, Josh Hancock (Chris Leaver 84m).

Referee: Matt Jones
Att: 259

Report by Chris Elsley

Stafford Rangers 3 Nantwich Town 2
Pre-Season Friendly Saturday 26th July 2014

Rangers continued their unbeaten pre-season with an excellent win against Evostik Premier Nantwich at a sun baked Marston Road.

James Dance should have won Rangers a penalty in the 4th minute when his goalbound effort was blocked by a Nantwich Hand but the referee waved play on. Ryan Wynter robbed Adam Jones but couldn’t pick out Dance as rangers started on the offensive. Former Rangers defender Andy White forced a fine save from Adam Whitehouse before the Dabbers took the lead in the 133th minute. Jordon Johnson outpaced Wayne Daniel and gave Whitehouse no chance. 

Rangers were back on level terms in the 31st minute. Alex Curtis beat his defender and slid a ball into the path of Dance who finished with the outside of his right foot. Rangers competed the turnaround just before the break When Dance turned provider, threading the ball through to Wynter whose first time shot nestled in the corner.

The Dabbers were level in the 56th minute. A cross from Louis Callaghan from the right was headed home by the tall Vinney McKeide. Rangers continued to threaten with Dan Cope forcing a save from Steve Philips. The home side took the lead with 6 minutes remaining. An excellent cross from Jack Edwards was volleyed home by Chris Smith. In the final minute, Louis Downes fired just over following an excellent ball from Levi Reid.

Stafford Rangers:
Adam Whitehouse, Michael Williams, Oliver Davies, Lucan Spittle (Mark branch 57), Wayne Daniel, Tom Vaughan (Levi Reid 62), James Dance (Louis Downes 69), Christian Dacres (Jack Edwards 79), Ryan Wynter (Dan Cope 57), Ryan Edmunds (Chris Smith 69), Alex Curtis (Steve Palmer 74)

Nantwich Town:
Terry Smith (Steve Philips 57), Sam Wilson, Andy White (Peter Green 45), Louis Callaghan, Adam Jones (Moussa Bakhti 45), Mat Bailey (Vinney McKeide 45), Harry Clayton, Adam Pepper (Max Harrop 62), Jordon Johnson (Jorden long 45), Mark Winslade (Steve Jones 62), Cohan Bramall.

Att: 198

Report by Gary Hazlehurst

Eccleshall FC 1 Stafford Rangers 3
Pre-Season Friendly Thursday 24th July 2014

A SECOND half master class from Alex Curtis saw Stafford Rangers overcome neighbours Eccleshall.
An action packed second half saw the visitors go down to 10 men before Curtis was introduced scoring one and setting up the other two further Boro goals.

Despite being a lower league opposition it was the hosts who started the game on the front foot with Jim Garside and Jim Lee both going close within the opening 10 minutes.

It took 28 minutes for the Rangers to get a foothold in the game when Richard Greaves beat the off-side trap but saw his effort cannon off the post as the teams went in level at the break.

The second half started with a bang when a late tackle saw a fracas develop and Jordan Fincher seeing a straight red card.

Curtis was introduced after 53 minutes and made an impact two minutes later when linking up with Matt Berkeley who released Chris Smith to score from close range.

Rangers doubled their lead after 65 minutes when Matt Berkeley lobbed a charging goalkeeper allowing for Curtis to tap the ball into an open net.

The game was put to bed after 65 minutes when a whipped in Curtis free-kick cannoned around the box before Dan King headed home.

Eccleshall clinched a deserved consolation goal thanks to a run into the box by Sam Bailey who slotted home under pressure.

However, it was Rangers who came out on top clinching their third pre-season victory,
and their their second pre-season victory within a week.

Report by Ben Goddard

Halesowen Town 2 Stafford Rangers 2
Pre-Season Friendly Tuesday 22nd July 2014

Two late goals earned Rangers a deserved draw in a pre-season friendly at The Grove.

Rangers started positively against their higher ranked hosts with James Dance and Christian Dacres off target with efforts. Rangers keeper Adam Whitehouse made the first of many saves of the evening after quarter of an hour to thwart Peter Till.

The Yeltz took the lead in the 21st minute when Ben Haseley shrugged off a challenge from Michael Williams before despatching a scuffed shot past Whitehouse.
Dacres was unlucky with a header looping on to the Halesowen crossbar. Dan Cope missed a gilt edged chance, heading wide from inside the 6-yard box after being picked out by Ryan Wynter.

Halesowen had more of the play after the break with Whitehouse saving well from Haseley and Neil Mackenzie. Ryan Edmunds went close for the Boro forcing a save at his near post from Matt Sergeant. Robert Thompson-Brown rattled the underside of the Rangers bar with Dacres blocking the follow up shot from Chris Lait.
Aaron Griffiths forced another excellent save from Whitehouse but the Rangers topper couldn’t do anything with the Halesowen 2nd. Thompson-Brown ran from the halfway line, beat 3 defenders before crashing a 25 yarder into the corner.

Rangers pulled one back a minute before time when Cope beat Sergeant to the ball and headed into the empty net. Rangers should have equalised almost immediately but Ryan Edmunds blasted his shot over the bar. With three minutes of stoppage time played, Dacres reacted quickest to fire home a deserved equaliser.

Halesowen Town:
Matt Sergeant, Joel Kettle (Eric Bowen 45), Asa Charlton (Jamie Oliver 68), Aaron Forde (Neil Mackenzie 45), Joe Hull, Curtis Tilt, Elliott Turner, Tom Tonks (Chris Lait 45), Iyseden Christie (Mark Danks 63), Ben Haseley (Robert Thompson-Brown 63), Peter Till (Aaron Griffiths 68).

Stafford Rangers:
Adam Whitehouse, Michael Williams, Mark branch, Joe Ballinger, Wayne Daniel (Lucan Spittle 45), Steve Palmer (Tom Vaughan 65), James Dance (Levi Reid 65), Christian Dacres, Ryan Wynter (Jack Edwards 51), Dan Cope, Alex Curtis (Ryan Edmunds 45)

Report by Gary Hazlehurst

Stafford Rangers 5 Edgware Town 0
Pre-Season Friendly Saturday 19th July 2014

Rangers recorded the third consecutive clean sheet of their pre season programme as they defeated Edgware Town.

It took just five minutes to open the scoring as Dan Cope side footed home a corner from Ryan Edmonds.

Cope netted his second from the spot a couple of minutes later after Mark Guildea had tripped Alex Curtis.

Ryan Wynter and Cope both should have added to the score before Edgware’s Daren Bloor – himself a former Rangers player – missed their best chance of the afternoon when he shot over from close range.

But it was Rangers who remained in control with Curtis and Wynter both going close.

The half ended with some good defensive work from Mark Branch denying Michael Uche a shot on goal.

Cope completed his hat trick on 53 mins when he finished off a good move involving Levi Reid and Jack Edwards.

Ruben da Silva denied cope a fourth before he became one of a number of substitutions on the hour mark.

One of those replacements, Loui Downes impressed and scored a fourth on 63 mins, converting a deep cross from Edwards and then headed in the fifth on 82 mins following a quality cross from Levi Reid.

1 Deale Chamberlain (Adam Whitehouse 51m), 2 Michael Williams (Loui Downes 58m), 3 Mark Branch (Sam Westray 76m), 4 Joel Mills, 5 Wayne Daniel (Lucan Spittle 46m), 7 Ryan Edmonds (Jordan Finch 58m), 8 Tom Vaughan (Levi Reid 46m), 9 Ryan Wynter (Jack Edwards 46m), 10 Dan Cope (Matt Berkeley 58m), 11 Alex Curtis (Steve Palmer 58m)

Edgware Town:
1 Ruben Da Silva, 2 Mark Guildea, 3 David Bevicon, 4 Luke Burton, 5 Robbie Quatromini, 6 Daren Bloor (Mark Campbell 59m), 7 Kevin Grzapka (Dan Quatromini 56m), 8 Arron Rivero (Olu Quadri 64m), 9 Michael Uche (Daniel Grey 77m), 10 Mark McIvor, 11 Victor Perez (Manuel Patel 66m)

Ref: James Scerri
Att: 178

Report by Chris Elsley

Stafford Rangers 2 Stafford Town 0
Pre-Season Friendly 15th July 2014

Rangers overcame the Town in this pre-season derby between the two Stafford teams but the price to pay was a second half injury to Danny Smith which could keep him out for some time.

Rangers made the early showing as James Dance brought a save from Town keeper Richard Stone but the Reds’ responded when George Burslem’s shot forced Adam Whitehouse diving low to his right to keep out.

Both Ollie Budd and Dan Bradbury missed out for Town but Rangers began to assert their authority with Ryan Wynter and Dan Cope each having a couple of efforts kept out by Stone.

Budd blazed over and then forced a save from Whitehouse as Town began brightly in the second half but it was Rangers who finally made the breakthrough on 62 mins when Dance snapped up the rebound after a tremendous shot from Tom Vaughan had come back off the bar.

Jack Edwards volleyed home a second 12 mins later before Smith’s late injury saw him stretchered off.

Adam Whitehouse (Dale Reaney 46m), Jordan Fincher, Ollie Davies (Mark Branch 46m), Wayne Daniel (Joel Mills 74m), Lucan Spittle (Michael Williams 46m), Steve Palmer (Tom Vaughan 46m), James Dance (Loui Downes 74), Christian Dacres, Ryan Wynter (Jack Edwards 63m), Dan Cope (Danny Smith 46m (Matt Berkeley 87m)), Ryan Edmonds (Alex Curtis 63m)

Richard Stone, James Cresswell, Reis Nadat, Ben Henderson, Joe Woodward, Aaron Finley, Dan Bradbury, George Burslem, Ollie Budd, Matt Buckham, Alex Barnfather. Subs Sid Dawson, Wayne Bailey, Warren Slater, Tom Doody, James Price, Tom Wright, Ishmale Reid, Lee Melvin

Ref: Steve Martin
Att: 241

Report by Chris Elsley

Stafford Rangers 0 Leamington 0
Pre-Season Friendly 12th July 2014

Rangers first competitive game under the new management team of Neil Kitching and Nick Amos finished with a creditable 0-0 draw against conference North visitors Leamington. Rangers more than held their own over the 90 minutes and gave the sun baked fans cause for optimism.
Rangers went close on the 25th minute when Dan Cope and Christian Dacres both had shots blocked by the Leamington defence. Lee Chilton missed a decent chance for the visitors before Lucan Spittle had a shot cleared off the line. Former Rangers defender Stuart Pierpoint was off target with a header. In first half stoppage time Cope rattled the Brakes crossbar following a deft touch from Ryan Wynter.
Alex Curtis forced a save with his first touch just after the resumption. Joe Magunda should have scored for Leamington but contrived to miss the target with a header. Lewis Fenney made a fine save to thwart Danny Newton. Rangers almost grabbed the lead from an unlikely source when a mix up in the Brakes defence saw David McNamee knock the ball towards his won goal but the full back recovered with a last ditch clearance. Leamington thought they had nicked a win in the dying seconds but Fenney again excelled to thwart the impressive Newton.
Adam Whitehouse (Lewis Fenney 45), Michael Williams, Oliver Davies (Mark Branch 45), Lucan Spittle, Wayne Daniel, Christian Dacres, Tom Vaughan (Louis Downes 45), Steve Palmer (Matt Berkeley 75), Ryan Wynter (Jack Edwards 45), Dan Cope (Alex Curtis 45), Danny Smith (Ryan Edmunds 45)

Report by Gary Hazlehurst