Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 12 February 2022
Stafford Rangers maintained their unbeaten record in 2022 with a comprehensive victory at Bamber Bridge.
It was an all round impressive performance which got off to the best possible start when Tom Tonks put them ahead after just one minute.
The goal came after Tre Pemberton chased a long clearance from Ethan Stewart which caused uncertainty in the home defence. Pemberton did well to keep the ball in play and set up Kaiman Anderson. His shot was blocked on the line by Callum Spooner but Tonks pounced to score his 10th goal of the season as Brig failed to clear their lines.
It threatened to be a short lived lead but Jacob Holland-Wilkinson fluffed his lines with an air shot when the goal was at his mercy while Stewart got in an important header during a scramble soon after.
Holland-Wilkinson forced a save from Luke Pilling while Adam Dawson volleyed over from the angle and sent another centre flashing across the face of goal.
Rangers extended their lead on 35 minutes when Anderson’s challenge forced another error in the Brig defence. Alex-Ray Harvey was first to the loose ball and held off the challenge of Aaron Skinner to tuck home a rare goal for the midfielder.
It was 3-0 just a couple of minutes into the second half. Pemberton charged down a clearance from Spooner putting Anderson in. James Cottam made the save but Pemberton won the race to the loose ball to reward another impressive outing for the youngster.
A minute earlier, Bamber Bridge could have reduced the arrears through Holland-Wilkinson and the home side went close again with Stewart making an important block to deny the home number 9 and Pilling saving a dipping 30 yarder from Craig Carney.
Bamber suffered a further set back when they were reduced to 10 men on 54 minutes. A great touch from Anderson put Pemberton away but the former was felled by Nathan Pond as he continued his run. Pond – cautioned earlier for an off the ball foul on Andy Burns – was shown a second yellow, followed by the inevitable red.
For a time, Rangers looked set to further extend their lead. Stewart had a header cleared off the line by Chris Churchman and an unmarked Anderson headed wide from Burns’ centre.
It was a fluke goal that gave the home side some hope with 13 minutes remaining. Stewart sliced an attempted clearance from Carney’s centre and the ball looped over Pilling.
Brig picked their game up but Paul Dawson headed over from a corner while it needed a well timed block from Burns to prevent Jake Thompson from inflicting any further damage.
Bamber Bridge: 1 James Cottam, 2 Chris Churchman, 3 Matthew Thomson, 4 Callum Spooner, 5 Macauley Wilson (12 Fin Sinclair-Smith 46m), 6 Nathan Pond, 7 Adam Dawson, 8 Craig Carney, 9 Jacob Holland-Wilkson, 10 Aaron Skinner (15 Paul Dawson 59m), 11 Mark Yeates (14 Jake Thompson 71m). Unused Subs 16 Daniel Martin, 17 Isaac Sinclair
Stafford Rangers: 1 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Joe Dunne , 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Tre Pemberton (15 Joe Kenton 89m), 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Kaiman Anderson, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Michael Tait-Moran (12 Ben Woods 75m). Unused Subs: 13 Tyrell Belford, 14 Louis Malandjou, 16 Theo Bailey-Jones
Cautions: Wilson, Yeates (Bamber Bridge)
Sent Off: Pond (2 cautions) (Bamber Bridge)
Ref: Declan Brown
Report: Chris Elsley