Saturday 12th August 2017
Altrincham 0 Stafford Rangers 3
Dan Westwood 10 mins, Joe Thomas 44mins, Richard Batchelor 52 mins
Rangers’ new campaign got off to a dream start with a thoroughly deserved 3 points against pre-season promotion favourites, Altrincham Town. The Alty had the greater share of possession and played some attractive flowing football, with much of the first half being played in the Rangers end of the pitch. But their efforts were frustrated by a solid and skilful Rangers’ defence led by courageous club captain Matt Bailey – who had been felled by a short range pile driver to the face in the opening few minutes – a man of the match performance by Adam Whitehouse and some wayward finishing. In stark contract Rangers first attack produced a debut goal for Dan Westwood on 10 minutes. A fluent move saw the ball reach Louis Briscoe who held off several defenders before slipping the ball through to Westwood who steered it past the Alty keeper from about 12 yards. Rangers’ second on 44 minutes was a sublime lob by Jo Thomas from the edge of the box.
The second half started more evenly and Rangers went further ahead from a diving header by Richard Batchelor on 52 minutes. Increasing Altrincham pressure brought some panicky moments to the Rangers defence with a succession of skied clearances but Alty squandered their best chance with about 10 minutes to go when Adam Whitehouse saved a penalty which he had conceded after bringing down an Altrincham forward inside the box. In a great all round team effort teenage debutant Kai Davis at left back gave a stand out performance.