Hednesford claimed the local bragging rights with Matt Dodd scoring the only goal just after the hour mark of a disappointing Staffordshire derby. A crowd of 1,226 turned up on a hot Monday afternoon but there was little on offer to inspire them. The game had started ok and had James Wren not turned Richard Batchelor’s header away for a corner in the 3rd minute, it might have been a different story.
Hednesford got their first look in on 8 mins when Luke Rodgers created an opening but he sent his shot well wide. Louis Briscoe found Izak Reid well placed to put Rangers ahead on 15 mins but he screwed his shot wide of Wren’s right hand post. Hednesford upped the tempo with some short sharp passing but didn’t cause too many problems for Adam Whitehouse. Green sent one effort high over the top from the edge of the area while the best opportunity came from a James Lawrie free kick that flashed across the face of the Rangers goal but didn’t get the touch the Pitmen needed.
Hednesford were first to show in the second half with Whitehouse forced to keep out Green’s shot with his feet five minutes after the resumption. Soon after, Alex Melbourne hit a shot straight at the Rangers keeper. Richard Batchelor went close for Rangers when he got the better of Lawrie, only for Wren to save at head height at his near post but Hednesford still looked the most threatening.
On the hour, Whitehouse needed a second go to keep out a shot from Lawrie but he was left helpless a minute later. Tom Thorley was given acres of space all afternoon and finally made Rangers pay when he picked out Matt Dodd who, with one touch, took the ball past Whitehouse before rolling it into the unguarded net. In the remaining half hour, neither side looked like adding to the score as the two keepers were largely untroubled. The closest Rangers came was in the final minute when Sam Oji had to head off the line from a Jordaan Brown free kick.
Rangers: 1 Adam Whitehouse, 2 Kai Davis (12 Exodus Geohaghon 84m), 3 Jordaan Brown, 4 Kieran Morris, 5 Mat Bailey, 6 Levi Reid, 7 Izak Reid, 8 Louis Briscoe (15 Jack Langston 72m), 9 Dan Westwood, 10 Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson (14 Kyle Perry 67m), 11 Richard Batchelor. Unused Subs: 16 Jack Sherratt, 17 Bradley Caswell
Hednesford: 1 James Wren, 2 Lewis Wright, 3 Alex Melbourne, 4 Kris Taylor, 5 Jim Mutton, 6 Sam Oji, 7 Matt Dodd, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Luke Rodgers (12 Danny Glover 72m), 10 James Lawrie, 11 Devarn Green (14 Ben Bailey 84m). Unused subs: 15 Jordan Nadat, 16 Stephen Palmer, 17 Jose Veiga
(Lawrie and Rodgers were listed as 9 & 10 respectively on the team sheet but wore the opposite shirts)
Cautions: Westwood, L Reid (Rangers), Taylor, Rodgers (Hednesford)
Referee: Mark Howes
Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Tuesday 22 August 2017
Dan Westwood made it five goals in four games as Rangers bounced back from Saturday’s defeat at home to Buxton to go top of the league with victory at Mickleover.
Rangers made three changes with Richard Batchelor returning and first starts for Jack Sherratt and Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson.
Mickleover shaded a frenetic start and were the first to threaten when Clinton Morrison and Ben Turner linked to set up Jimmy Phillips whose low drive was turned away for a corner by Adam Whitehouse.
Rangers were struggling to retain possession or make any real advance into the Mickleover half and when they did, the final ball was lacking.
Dan Westwood nearly worked an opening, forcing Pablo Mills to hack the ball clear from the 6 yard box.
With chances at both ends at a premium, Bradley Grayson should have done better when given time and space on the edge of the Rangers area. Instead, the Mickleover forward sent the ball high over the bar.
Grayson was in again a couple of minutes later when he beat the offside trap but Jordaan Brown defended well to clear the immediate danger.
The game badly needed a goal and it came in the 50th minute to that man Westwood.
Mat Bailey got his head to a Louis Briscoe corner and Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson nipped in to square for Westwood who tapped in from close range.
Morrison fired just wide and a Mills header was just off target as Mickleover looked for an instant response
Adam Whitehouse saved from Andy Dales and then kept out a close range effort from Mills before Grayson sent a free kick over the Rangers bar as Mickleover kept up their search for an equaliser.
Jack Sherratt blazed over with better options at his disposal while Westwood went over from distance and Mat Bailey headed wide as Rangers aimed to put some daylight between the two sides.
Mickleover sub Ben Morris forced a good save from Whitehouse just moments after coming on while Tom Burgin missed out twice going wide each time.
Rangers made certain of the points four minutes into added time with a breakaway goal. Izak Reid’s crossfield ball picked out brother Levi on the right and his cross was met by Westwood who headed in his second of the night.
Mickleover Sports: 1 Nick Draper, 2 Kevin Grocott, 3 Ben Turner, 4 Jimmy Phillips (16 Jermaine Palmer 83m), 5 Pablo Mills, 6 Tom Burgin, 7 Andy Dales, 8 Clinton Morrison (15 Ben Morris 75m), 9 Bradley Grayson, 10 Evan Garnett (17 Zeph Thomas 75m), 11 Danny Gordon. Unused Subs: 12 Morgan Williams, 14 Will Norcross
Rangers: 1 Adam Whitehouse, 2 Kai Davis, 3 Jordaan Brown, 4 Kieran Morris, 5 Mat Bailey, 6 Jack Langston (15 Levi Reid 75m), 7 Jack Sherratt, 8 Louis Briscoe (14 Kyle Perry 90+5m), 9 Dan Westwood, 10 Bradley Fortnam -Tomlinson (16 Izak Reid 85m), 11 Richard Batchelor. Unused subs: 12 Exodus Geohagon, 17 Joe Thomas
Cautions: Burgin (Mickleover) Brown, Briscoe (Rangers)
Ref: Craig Rollason