FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
Saturday 30 October 2021
A below par performance saw Stafford Rangers knocked out of the FA Trophy by in form Bedford Town. With the home side flying high in the Southern League Division One Central, Rangers knew they would face a tough challenge, but it was a day that they didn’t execute the basics.
Bedford raced into a two-goal lead inside 11 minutes. Rory McAuley opened the scoring on 8 minutes when he ran in unchallenged to head home Danny Setchell’s corner.
Three minutes later, Callum Donnelly added a second when he was given time and space to convert Connor Tomlinson’s cross. There was some question whether Tomlinson was offside in the build-up but no doubt about the quality of Donnelly’s finish.
Shell shocked Rangers didn’t come into the game until the latter stages of the half, but they failed to create a threat to the home goal.
Rangers began the second half on the front foot, but it was Bedford who created the first chance as Rene Howe found the lively Tomlinson who forced Luke Pilling into a fine save. The ball ran loose to Lewis Miccio but Pilling made another good save to keep Rangers in the contest.
But those hopes were well and truly dashed a couple of minutes before the hour mark when Tomlinson latched on to a long ball from Setchell then cut in from the right before firing emphatically past Pilling.
Rangers gave themselves a lifeline when they pulled one back 10 minutes later after Bedford keeper Alex Street flapped at Alex Fletcher’s free kick and Joe Kenton headed home.
Bedford central defender Charley Sanders was lucky to stay on the field after two separate head-butting incidents, on James O’Neill and Tol Omotola, but it was reflective of the officials’ performance that both went unspotted.
Kenton and Tom Tonks both missed chances to reduce the arrears late on and a bad day for Rangers was compounded in added time when debutant Tre Pemberton was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the game.
Bedford Town: 1 Alex Street, 2 Drew Richardson, 3 Joe Steele (15 Shaun Keane 87m), 4 Rory McAuley, 5 Charley Sanders, 6 Hugh Alban-Jones, 7 Connor Tomlinson, 8 Callum Donnelly (17 Will Summerfield 62m), 9 Rene Howe (12 Craig Mackail-Smith 71m), 10 Danny Setchell, 11 Lewis Miccio. Unused Subs: 13 Elliott Duffy, 14 Olly Swain, 16 Zak Brown,
Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey (12 Omotolani Omotola 57m), 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles (16 Max McCarthy 57m), 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Theo Bailey-Jones (14 Tre Pemberton 59m). Unused Subs: 15 Jon Moran, 17 Michael Lennon
Cautions: Street, Donnelly, Setchell (Bedford), Tonks, O’Neill (Rangers)
Sent Off: Pemberton – two cautions (Rangers
Referee: Steven Scott
Report: Chris Elsley