Northern Premier League
Tuesday 3 November 2020
Stafford Rangers returned to the scene of their FA Cup triumph a month earlier, but they were unable to boost their league points tally as the home side ran out deserved winners. The first period was played largely in the Stafford half with Buxton looking to take an early advantage.
Diego De Girolamo was given the first opportunity on 5 minutes after a poor clearance from Lewis King had been picked up by James Walshaw, but De Girolamo’s shot went high over. A couple minutes later, Chris Dawson struck the ball well but straight at King and the Rangers keeper was on call again when he parried another strike from De Girolamo.
The home side kept up the pressure and King saved well from Dawson before Tommy Elliott’s drive went just over. But Rangers, missing the suspended Joe Cuff and unfit Michael Williams, nearly opened the scoring with their first meaningful attack as Joe Kenton sent Callum Coyle clear on the right but the ball came back off the crossbar and Buxton were able to clear.
Stafford changed shape with Kenton playing a more forward role and Aaron Cole moving back but Buxton were still able to put together wave after wave of attacks. King saved from De Girolamo and Dawson before the home side finally made the breakthrough in the 39th minute.
The goal came after a period of danger at the other end, but James Hurst cleverly launched a counterattack. De Girolamo ran the ball across the edge of the area before picking out Elliott who clipped his shot over King.
Rangers made a bright start to the second half and could have levelled when Kenton cut out a poor clearance from Tom Taylor in the home goal. Kenton advanced into the area before shooting over under the challenge of Josh Granite. Shouts for a penalty were ignored by the referee.
At the other end, Elliott hit the side netting before De Girolamo extended Buxton’s lead on 62 mins after the lively forward jinked his way into a shooting position following a long ball from Billy Whitehouse.
De Girolamo should have made it three on 75 minutes after being tripped in the area by Alex-Ray Harvey but his spot kick was poor, and King saved with his feet. Rangers’ let off was to last just a minute as they stood off to let Reece Styche fire in from more than 25 yards to put the outcome beyond doubt.
To their credit, Rangers did show some spirit in the final stages and after Jamie Sleigh had linked with Coyle, Candlin scored a consolation on 85 minutes – just Rangers’ third league goal in eight outings. Sleigh had a chance to further reduce the arrears, but his header lacked power and direction while both Cole and King were needed to prevent Elliott from scoring a fourth for Buxton.
Buxton: 1 Tommy Taylor, 2 Connor O’Grady, 3 Warren Clarke, 4 James Hurst, 5 Josh Granite, 6 Matt Kilgallon (15 Billy Whitehouse 46m), 7 James Walshaw (12 Reece Styche 69m), 8 Reece King, 9 Diego De Girolamo, 10 Tommy Ellioitt, 11 Chris Dawson (16 Charlie Wakefield 83m). Unused Subs, 14 Sam Wedgbury, 17 Danny Hopkins
Stafford Rangers: 1 Lewis King, 2 Joe Kenton (15 Reece Jones 53m), 3 Cieron Keane, 4 Ben Forrest, 5 Sam Coulson, 6 John Welsh (14 Mo Sebbeh-Njie 83m), 7 Aaron Cole, 8 Alex Ray Harvey, 9 Mitchel Candlin, 10 Callum Coyle, 11 Josh Williams (16 Jamie Sleigh 73m). Unused Subs: 12 Dan Burns, 13 Adam Whitehouse
Ref: Jake Topp
Cautions: Keane (Rangers)
Report by Chris Elsley