Witton Albion 1 – 1 Stafford Rangers

Witton Albion 1 – 1 Stafford Rangers

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League | Tuesday 19 March 2019

Stafford Rangers are becoming hard to beat and so it proved again at Witton Albion on Tuesday night although it needed a last gasp goal from Paul Bignot to extend their unbeaten run to six games. It wasn’t one of Rangers’ best performances. They were wasteful in possession and too often delivered balls into the area that were meat and drink to Witton’s tall central defensive pairing. The Stafford side showed one change from the starting XI that defeated Warrington on their last league outing 10 days earlier with Andrai Jones coming in for Joe Cuff. Witton, meanwhile, went in to the games as the league’s leading form side having won five of their last six matches.

Injury hit Witton could only name two substitutes and their situation became worse shortly before kick off when Danny McKenna picked up an injury. A quick reshuffle left them with just one in reserve. The home side were first to show with both Billy Smart and James Foley having shots blocked inside the opening three minutes. Rangers soon got into the game and enjoyed decent ten-minute spell, but their attacks were unproductive. Former Rangers man Osebi Abadaki forced Adam Siviter into the first save of the evening on 13 mins and Luke Jones felt the full force of Will Jones’ follow up. A couple of minutes later, Siviter was in action again after Rob Hopley and Tom Owens linked well, the Rangers’ keeper saving well from the Owens.

A Stafford counter attack produced their first shot on goal, but Andy Haworth ended a good move with a shot wide of the near post. Siviter denied Abadaki again with a save at his near post but it was Stafford who were now asking more of the questions. Their best opening came when Tom Thorley put Haworth in, but his first touch gave Matty Devine the opportunity to hack clear. Dan Burns and Matt Hill both went wide for Stafford while Luke Jones had his shot saved by Greg Hall.

Witton were increasingly frustrated at the lack of decisions in their favour but it was from a free kick that they got the breakthrough a couple of minutes before half time. The ball into the area was cleared out to Cesaire Lingouba whose returned it back to the danger zone. Will Jones flicked it out to Josh Wardle who squared for Ben Harrison to slot home. Hopley came close to adding a second a minute later after Hill had lost the ball to Abadaki on the left but Luke Jones cleared the lines. Rangers needed to inject some life into their game and made a double substitution ten minutes into the second half with Cuff and Ben Mills replacing Andrai Jones and Haworth.

Cuff was soon involved as his low centre resulted in Tom Thorley getting in a low drive, but Hall saved low to his left and Cuff himself had a low drive deflected wide. Stafford’s Peter Williams came on for Jack Sherratt who had received a kick in the first half while Witton were forced to use their one substitute on when Devine went off with a dislocated shoulder. Williams had a shot blocked and penalty appeals for hand ball were turned down. Further penalty appeals were rejected after Luke Jones’ shot struck Wardle. Stafford increased the intensity as time pressed on, but Thorley wasted a good chance by sending his free kick high over the stand while Hill was denied by Hall.

Witton sub Owen Wynne had a chance to double his side’s lead when he beat the offside trap, but he was forced to shoot from near the right touchline and Luke Jones was able to get back to clear. Witton then had two of their own penalty appeals turned down. Cuff missed another golden chance for Stafford, but they finally got their goal three minutes into added time when Bignot fired through the crowd from around 15 yards.

Witton: 1 Greg Hall, 2 Cesaire Lingouba, 3 Matty Devine, 4 Josh Wardle, 5 Ben Harrison, 6 Billy Smart, 7 Osebi Abadaki, 8 Tom Owens, 9 Rob Hopley, 10 Will Jones, 11 James Foley. 12 Owen Wynne

Rangers: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Paul Bignot, 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Jack Sherratt, 7 Theo Bailey-Jones, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Andrai Jones, 11 Andy Haworth. Unused Subs 12 Joe Cuff, 15 Sim Thandi, 15 Louis Briscoe, 16 Ben Mills, 17 Peter Williams

Cautions: Smart (Witton)

Referee: Nik Storey

Att: 307

Report by Chris Elsley

Kidsgrove match preview.

Kidsgrove match preview.

Kidsgrove stand in our way as we try to return to the Staffs Senior Cup final to keep a tighter grip on “our” trophy. However, let’s not be too complacent playing away to a side a division below as they will see the opportunity to put one over us. They are currently enjoying a good run of results, having had league victories over Leek and Runcorn Linnets who are 5th and 3rd respectively. They also demolished Newcastle 5-1 in the last round of this cup. To make matters worse, former Rangers players Chris Budrys and Anthony Malbon are banging in the goals, with Malbon fresh from his hat trick on Saturday against Droylsden making it 8 goals in his last 7 games. That recent run has steered them well away from any relegation threat and currently lie 11th in the west Division with 41 points from their 29 games and a plus 8 goal difference. With league status all but secured for another season it looks like Kidsgrove can go all out for a Staffordshire Senior Cup success.

Kidsgrove Athletic are a relatively young side, formed in December 1952. Having played in local league football they joined the Staffs County League in1963 and three years later, having won the County league and the Staffs Challenge Cup they joined the Mid-Cheshire league where they became champions four times and challenge cup winners three times. During the seventies the club lifted several trophies with success in the Staffs FA Vase, the Challenge Cup and the Sentinel Cup. In the Eighties having tried several times to join the North West Counties League, they were finally accepted in 1989. 1992 saw their best National cup run losing to Tiverton in the FA Vase. Four years later as champions Kidsgrove were promoted to the Unibond Northern Premier League. 2004 saw them finish bottom of the league but some league restructuring saved them from their first ever relegation. That year they did however win the Staffs Senior Cup for the first time beating us 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium. While still playing at step 4 of the non-league pyramid, Kidsgrove have had recent success in the Staffs Senior cup beating Rushall Olympic 6-1 in 2007, with a return in 2008, but losing to Rocester. 2009 saw yet another Staffs Senior Cup win at Vale Park when a 2-2 draw with us (yet again) and Kidsgrove triumph on penalties.

I know Wednesday night is an unusual day for football for us, but please travel up the A34 to cheer on the team.

Games played on13th March this century.

2004 Moor Green A 2-1 Southern League
2007 Gravesend H 3-1 Conference
2010 Northwich Victoria A 2-2 Conference North
2018 Warrington H 0-0 Northern Premier League

Warrington Town 2-3 Stafford Rangers

Warrington Town 2-3 Stafford Rangers

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League | Saturday 9 March 2019

Stafford Rangers pulled off a shock win away to league leaders Warrington Town to ease their relegation fears. Warrington had to play most of the game with 10 men after Ben Garrity was sent off for collecting two yellow cards inside the opening 14 minutes but, with the wind in their backs, it was the Wire who struck first through Bohan Dixon.

The home side came into the game on the back of an 8-match unbeaten run and they started in confident mood as Connor McCarthy showed a burst of pace to beat Luke Jones on the left, but Tom Thorley was back to cut out the centre.

Garrity picked up the first of his yellow cards for what was deemed to be a dive in the area. Jack Mackreth had threaded a good ball through, but the young midfielder went to ground under Dan Burns’ challenge. Referee Jack Nields was unimpressed. If Garrity felt any injustice from that decision, he knew he was on thin ice and could have few complaints by the second yellow card he received for a late challenge on Andy Haworth just five minutes later although it appeared some time before Nields realised it was the same player before showing the red card.

Nields wasn’t having any nonsense and Joe Cuff saw his name taken for bundling Shaun Beeley to the ground. Dylan Vassallo’s in swinging free kick looked to have been over hit but Mark Roberts managed to pull it back and Dixon nodded past Adam Siviter to give the Wire a 21st minute lead. But Rangers didn’t let their heads drop and, aided by the player advantage, they gradually got to grips with the conditions. Cuff put a shot in on goal, but it deflected wide off team mate Jake Charles.

That was to be more or less it for Cuff who was substituted shortly after for his own good – the young midfielder has already been dismissed twice this season and was risking another. Andrai Jones and Charles both tried their luck on the Warrington goal, but it was skipper Luke Jones who got his side back on level terms on the stroke of half time when he fired past Tony McMillan after Warrington had failed to clear a free kick from Haworth.

There wasn’t too much between the two sides in the opening exchanges of the second half but then Rangers struck twice in quick succession to take command. On 59 mins, Ben Mills won the aerial challenge to knock down Thorley’s long throw and Theo Bailey-Jones was first to react and shot past McMillan. Three minutes later, Rangers won a corner on the right which was taken by Haworth and powerfully headed into the roof of the net by Luke Jones. Bailey-Jones missed a great chance to add a fourth five minutes later when he turned over from close range.

Warrington, with the imposing figures of Josh Amis and Marcus Cusani now leading their attack, were still a threat and Cusani fired over when well-placed after the two substitutes had linked well. It was Cusani who set up a nail-biting finish when he reduced the arrears with 3 minutes remaining following Vassallo’s free kick. And the home side thought they had salvaged a stoppage time point through Amis’ perfectly placed header, but Adam Siviter pulled off a stunning save to earn his side all three points.

Warrington Town: 1 Tony McMillan, 2 Shaun Beeley, 3 Alex Whittle, 4 Ben Garrity, 5 Mark Roberts, 6 David Raven, 7 Jack Mackreth (12 Josh Amis 46m), 8 Robbie Evans, 9 Connor McCarthy (15 Marcus Cusani 63m), 10 Bohan Dixon (14 Russell Benjamin 79m), 11 Dylan Vassallo. Unused Subs:16 Mitch Duggan, 17 Adam Hughes

Stafford Rangers: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Paul Bignot, 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Andrai Jones, 7 Theo Bailey-Jones, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles (15 Louis Briscoe 89m), 10 Andy Haworth (12 Jack Sherratt 79m), 11 Joe Cuff (Sub 16 Ben Mills 39m). Unused Subs: 14 Sam Coulson, 17 Peter Williams

Cautions: Whittle, Roberts (Warrington), Cuff, Hill (Rangers)

Sent Off: Garrity – two cautions (Warrington)

Referee: Jack Neilds

Att: 553

Report: Chris Elsley

Steve Winterburn

Steve Winterburn

As the newest board member at Stafford Rangers, my first priority is to get to know as many of the fans, sponsors and stakeholders of the club, to learn more about how I can use my experience to support the future success of the organisation, on and off the field. 

Since I moved to Stafford in 1987, at the age of six, I have been fortunate enough to be able to see the impact Stafford Rangers FC has had on the local community it serves and in particular young people, like my son, who have been able to benefit from playing for the junior section of the club.

The passion from players, fans and staff is what made me get more involved in the club and I feel privileged to have been accepted onto the board. Having the experience of being a club sponsor representative, through my role as Dealer Principal for the Holdcroft Motor Group, I can also see how important it is for the club to make the most of the commercial opportunities ahead. After all, any additional revenue that comes into the club, can ultimately help us to invest in the ‘on the pitch’ and support staff talent we need to be successful.

But it is not just sponsorship that brings in additional revenue, it is also how we and the community around us use our facilities, that will make a real difference. For example, coming to the club on match day is a great community experience, especially for young people. I will therefore make it one of my key goals to explore how we can engage more within the community and how this can benefit individuals, groups, fans, players and sponsors alike.

I am excited about the future and look forward to helping and supporting the existing team at the club and contributing to the overall success of Stafford Rangers FC.

Finally, I just want to say a big thank you to the board and staff for making me and my family so welcome at the club. I look forward to meeting as many of you as I can in the future and once again, I can’t stress enough what a great privilege it is for me to be accepted onto the board.

Steve Winterburn

Stafford Rangers 0-0 Marine

Stafford Rangers 0-0 Marine

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League | Saturday 2 March 2019

Stafford Rangers and Marine played out a drab goal-less draw that will do little to help Stafford’s fight against relegation. With a tough month ahead – Rangers face leaders Warrington Town twice and also have to travel to second placed Farsley Celtic – the visit of Marine was one which the Boro would have hoped to pick up maximum points but that they rarely threatened to breach the visitors’ goal. In fairness a strong wind and bumpy pitch didn’t help and Marine also lacked potency in their forward line although they did produce the only decent effort of the entire 90 minutes with Craig Carney’s well struck drive early in the second half which was well saved by Adam Siviter.

Rangers brought in Paul Bignot at right back in place of Sim Thandi whose loan period has expired while Andy Haworth and Andrai Jones came in for Joe Cuff and Peter Williams. The game as a spectacle just never got going. Despite having the wind in their faces, it was Marine who produced the first two efforts on target. Both of them came from their captain Danny Mitchley but neither gave Adam Siviter anything to worry about.

Rangers persisted in a hitting target man Jake Charles but too frequently the wind took the ball beyond the hard-working striker. Finally, in the 26th minute, they got an effort on target, but Luke Jones’ header was easily gathered by Joe Hilton. At the other end, another effort from Mitchley looped up off Stafford defender Danny Burns and just wide of the far upright then Chris Doyle headed wide.

Stafford’s best play of the half saw Andy Haworth’s diagonal centre glanced wide off the head of Charles. The game needed to find something special to give it a kick start and it almost came around 10 minutes after the interval from Carney’s terrific 25-yard drive but Siviter was alert to it, diving to his left to push the ball out towards the corner flag. But, sadly for the 683 fans – the second biggest gate of the season – chances remained at a premium and the second half had reached the midway point before Charley Edge went wide for the visitors with a volley.

Both sides made changes. Cuff replaced Jack Sherratt for Rangers, but it was Marine sub who was first in the action when James Murray fired goal wards but Siviter claimed the ball off the head of Mitchley. The Merseysiders just about remained the most likely scorers but Murray wasted a great chance on a Marine counter with a poor touch inside the Stafford area which allowed Bignot in to clear the danger. Soon after, Sam Barnes fired over from the angle. Stafford did look a little more threatening in the final stages after the introduction of Louis Briscoe, but Tom Thorley blazed over after the former’s square ball then Briscoe drilled a 40-yard free kick just wide. Rangers will look at the positives of a clean sheet and that all three teams below them in the table lost but with 5 draws recorded in their last 7 league games, they may be needing to turn a few more into wins to ease their fears of the drop.

Stafford Rangers: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Paul Bignot, 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Jack Sherratt (12 Joe Cuff 65m), 7 Theo Bailey-Jones (16 Ben Mills 90+2m), 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Andrai Jones, 11 Andy Haworth (15 Louis Briscoe 77m). Unused Subs: 14 Sam Coulson, 17 Peter Williams

Marine: 1 Joe Hilton, 2 Sam Barnes, 3 James Short, 4 Danny Shaw, 5 Chris Doyle, 6 Kenny Strickland, 7 Sam Tattum (15 James Murray 67m), 8 Liam Hynes, 9 Danny Mitchley (14 John Marsden 79m), 10 Charley Edge, 11 Craig Carney. Unused Subs 12 William Dunne, 13 Germano Mendes (gk) – only four subs named

Cautions: A Jones (Stafford), Barnes, Doyle & Tattum (Marine)Referee: Jonathan Maskrey

Att: 683

Report by Chris Elsley