Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 22 January 2022
Stafford Rangers extended their unbeaten away run to 8 league games with a hard fought point away to Atherton Collieries but on the balance of play they might be disappointed not to have taken all points.
Rangers were without several players with injuries ruling out Jon Moran, Luis Morrison, Theo Bailey-Jones and Jake Charles while Joe Cuff was only fit enough for a place on the bench. Also missing was James O’Neill who served the third of his four match suspension.
Kicking up the slope, Rangers started well and made the early running. A Tom Tonks corner produced a shot from Andy Burns which went across the face of the Atherton goal but it was Michael Tait who came closest to opening the scoring with a well placed header which was well saved by Colls’ keeper Daniel Taberner.
At the other end, the home side threatened through Ethan Kershaw who was on the end of a swift counter attack but Luke Pilling was equal to the task at the near post.
Atherton took the lead on 18 minutes through a penalty awarded against Andy Burns for a push on Declan Daniels as they challenged for a right wing cross.
Colls’ skipper Danny Lafferty gave Pilling no chance as he dispatched the spot kick in emphatic style.
Soon after, only a double save from Pilling prevented the home side from extending their lead – the Stafford keeper kept out Gary Peet with his legs then produced a super reflex save to keep out Daniels.
Rangers’ heads didn’t drop but chances for Ethan Stewart and Alex Fletcher went unconverted while Tom Tonks was just off target with a free kick.
The two sides competed hard for every ball but chances became fewer and it wasn’t until the stroke of half time the either goal came under serious threat as the Boro’s Kaiman Anderson struck the bar from 20 yards out.
Chances remained limited after the break but Rangers finally found a way through when they got back on level terms midway through the second half.
Joel Amado – booked earlier for persistent foul play – was fortunate to remain on the pitch when he blocked Kaiman Anderson just outside the area. Ben Woods’ free kick came back off the cross bar but Stewart sent back a header which looped over the floundering Taberner.
Neither side had a clear chance to secure the three points on a day when the opposite defences largely came out on top.
Rangers came closest to finding the winner in added time when Taberner dropped Anderson’s centre but the Colls’ keeper smothered the loose ball before Joe Kenton could react.
Atherton Collieries: 1 Danny Taberner, 2 Clive Smith, 3 Gaz Peet, 4 Joel Amado, 5 Danny Lafferty, 6 Luca Defreitas-Hansen, 7 Ethan Kershaw, 8 Scott Sephton, 9 Declan Daniels, 10 Jack Lenehan (12 Elliot Rokka 87m), 11 Rowan Roache (14 Matty Gillam 67m). Unused sub 15 Niall Battersby – only three subs named
Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Joe Dunne, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Kaiman Anderson, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Michael Tait-Moran. Unused Subs: 1 Tyrell Belford, 12 Tre Pemberton, 14 Louis Malandjou, 15 Thomas Carr, 16 Joe Cuff
Cautions: Amado, Lafferty, Defreitas-Hansen, Daniels (Atherton), Harvey (Rangers)
Referee: Darius Bradley
Report: Chris Elsley