Bamber Bridge preview

While Bamber Gascoigne will give you a starter for 10, Bamber Bridge will give Stafford Rangers a starter for 13. Yes, we now have unlucky 13 league games to play as we attempt to pull away from the relegation trap door, and yet again it is a potential 6 pointer fixture. Bamber Bridge lie 13th but only 5 points above Stafford Rangers. This highlights the narrow gap in place and the effect a win for the Rangers can have on league placings. Therefore, your support is very much needed to be the 12th man in the Shedend to help us to 3 precious points and send Bamber Bridge back up the M6 to Preston pointless. Bamber Bridge are a relatively “new” football club in the non-league pyramid and as far as I am aware, this will be their first visit to Marston Road.

On their travels in the league, Bamber Bridge have won only once, that being on the artificial pitch at Buxton. They have drawn 7 and lost 6 of their other away games. Their most recent away game last Saturday saw them to become the first side to stop South Shield’s 100% home record with a very creditable 3-3 draw. Bamber Bridge will therefore arrive next Saturday in fine form and looking to add to their 6-1 demolition job they did on us on September 29th. That day Alistair Waddicar scored 4 goals and Andy Haworth scored their second goal on 27 minutes. Let’s hope Andy can repeat his goal in this fixture, obviously this time scoring for us.

Games played this century on 16th February

2008 Forest Green A 2-1 Conference
2010 Chasetown H 0-4 Staffs Senior Cup
2013 North Ferriby A 1-1 Northern Premier League

Scarborough match preview – Phil Bennett

An away game at a seaside resort. Perhaps not so in February so avoid the beach and go and watch Stafford Rangers take on Scarborough.

It has been a long time since we played Scarborough away, but this is a new Scarborough and they no longer play at Seamer Road. The current Scarborough were formed on 25th June 2007 following the liquidation of Scarborough FC, so our only competitive game was the 3-1 defeat at Marston Road last October. 

 

The old name brings back many memories, with an FA Trophy Final, and both clubs representing the Northern Premier League in the Anglo Italian Cup. Our frequent league fixtures disappeared when Neil Warnock, and his team became champions of the Conference in 1987 becoming the first club to be automatically promoted into the Football League, and we helped them do it by defeating Barnet away in the final midweek fixtures. Incidentally their first game in the football league was at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Scarborough lost their league place on the last day of season 1998/99, when the famous last gasp goal from keeper Jimmy Glass ensured Carlisle’s survival and relegate Scarborough back to the Conference, twelve years after they had left it, and this being the first relegation in the history of Scarborough FC. By the end of season 2006/07 Scarborough were wound up.

Saturday’s game will be a stern test for our current league run of games. They lie 5th with 50 points from their 29 games but have tasted defeat 5 times at home in the league to sides in the top promotion chasing group, namely, Nantwich, Gainsborough, Hyde, South Shields and Farsley. Despite getting gates in excess of 1000, they are currently experiencing a dip in form having lost 7 of their last 11 league games. Perhaps a repeat of our Gainsborough game could be repeated.

For independent travellers, Scarborough now play at the Flamingo Land Stadium, Scarborough Sports Village, Ashburn Road, Scarborough, YO11 2JW. Admission is £10 adults, £5 concessions and kids under 11, free with an adult. For those looking at train travel, the 10:03 changing at Manchester and Huddersfield will get you to Scarborough at 13:35, returning 17:50, with the same changes getting home 21:24. Could be an expensive trip as adult return fares are around £90.

Games played this century on 9th February

 

2002       Merthyr               H             1-0          Southern League

2008       Weymouth         H             2-1          Conference

2013       Frickley                 H             3-3          Northern Premier League

 

Wolverhampton Casuals Preview – Phil Bennett

Its cup football Tuesday again, with a Staffs Senior Cup tie. While no money is at stake in this competition, there is local pride on the table as we are the holders of the Staffs Senior Cup, and I am sure we want another visit to a League venue in the Potteries again.

 

This Tuesday we are at home to West Midlands League side, Wolverhampton Casuals. Do not be put off by their step 7 standing as they lie third in their league having won 17 of their 28 league games and have 58 points and a positive goal difference of 48, and remember we lost in the Walsall Senior Cup to Lye Town from step 6. They will come to us full of confidence as their last away game last month saw them win 7-0 at Black Country Rangers, so they will be looking to pull off a shock if they can knock out the holders.

This tie is a quarter final, and we hope to be in the hat for the semi-final. Rushall Olympic have already won through (beat Hednesford) and tonight Stone Old Alleynians entertain Stoke City, while the Kidsgrove v Newcastle tie takes place next week.

Andy and Alex intimated that their may be some changes for this game. Players may be rested for the trip to Scarborough in mind and some squad players may get much needed game time, as well as giving some of the youngsters a run out. In any event we will still put out a strong side capable of extending our run in this seasons Staffs Senior Cup. Please come on down to give the team the support they deserve.

 

Games we have played on February 5th this century.

 

2000       Tiverton               H             2-1          Southern League Division 1 West

2005       Hinkley                 H             1-1          Conference North

2008       Tamworth           A             1-2          FA Trophy round 3 replay

2011       Nuneaton           H             1-2          Conference North

Lancaster Preview

To steal the famous words of Lord Kitchener, “Your football club needs you”. Saturday’s game sees the dictionary definition of a 6 pointer. 19th plays 18th and a win either way moves that club a little way from the relegation trap door while a defeat could see the loser dropping into the bottom 3. The battle to avoid relegation is getting tougher as some of the clubs (including ourselves) have picked up points recently meaning that only 3 points separate the battling teams up to 14th placed Witton Albion, and in theory any one in the bottom half of the table must be casting a look over their shoulder at the relegation battle. That is why your support is much needed to ensure the run in the league that Andy and Alex have put together continues. Obviously, we must discount our reverse on Tuesday as we bowed out of the Integro Cup.

On their travels in the league Lancaster have picked up 4 wins, at Buxton, Grantham, Hednesford and North Ferriby and gained a recent 1-1 at Warrington with Warrington equalising very late. They have picked up points recently too winning 8 points from a possible 15 in January and are unbeaten since their last defeat on New Year’s Day, so you could argue that they have picked up 8 points from the last 12 on offer. This is a complete reversal of form when you consider they lost their first 4 games of the season and it took to the last game of September to register their first league win. Therefore, this Lancaster team cannot be taken lightly as we look to improve on our 0-0 draw back at Giant Axe last November.

While we need to take that into account, we should not forget that Andy and Alex are trying to build on our own run to safety and apart from the Integro game, they have yet to taste defeat in the league with two draws and a win, the most recent two games seeing then come away from a demolition act on Grantham to beat them 5-0 and a well-earned point with a 1-1 draw at promotion chasing Gainsborough. Following on from those two good away performances we need to start making Marston Road a fortress and with your support we can start this process on Saturday. We need to be aware of three other games on Saturday that could be significant in movement in the lower half. Grantham entertain Workington, Marine play Scarborough and we hope South Shields can go home from Mickleover with a win to keep Mickleover in the bottom 3. I forecast many similar weekends to come as the season draws to a close.

 

Games played on February 2nd this century.

2002      Welling                H            2-1         Southern League

2008      Tamworth           H            2-2         FA Trophy round 3 (lost the replay 1-2)

2013      Ilkeston                A             2-0         Northern Premier League

Farsley Celtic match preview – Phil Bennett

Stafford Rangers don’t do League Cups, so why go to Tuesday’s game. Well, since the managerial change the Rangers are now producing some good football, which has seen a 5-0 away win and a very good draw away to 6th placed Gainsborough.

 

So, do we fear 3rd placed Farsely? We now get the chance to get revenge on our 3-1 home league defeat in October and assess if we have a squad capable of not only having a good cup run but show the battle needed to climb away from the relegation trap door. The fans who have witnessed the 2 away games will certainly tell you that this is a new Rangers side worth watching, so even if a cold night, I am sure you will be warmed by the game.

League Cup football appears to elude Rangers with only two triumphs in recent history. 1968 saw us contest the Cheshire League Cup final with Runcorn. We took a 3-2 first leg to Canal Street when a Roy of the Rovers storyline took place. Missing vital players, a rapid team change took place with central defender George Machin taking the goalies jersey. George performed heroics but was beaten just before half time to bring the aggregate scores level. In the second half Bird equalised to bring the cup home to Stafford. Different heroics took place in 1986 when a Bob Mountain wonder goal at Barnet’s old Underhill ground helped us win the Bob Lord Trophy. So, could we be looking for some more heroics should we progress to the final. I stand to be corrected regarding prize money bur we at least receive £250 for being quarter finalists. Other ties are, Buxton v Marske United, Bamber Bridge v Belper Town and Runcorn Linnets v Trafford, so there is a possibility if we win of getting a division 1 side in the semi final to guarantee £500. The final, usually played on a neutral ground will see the winners receive £2k and the losers £1k. Lets keep our fingers crossed for a money-spinning cup run.

 

Games played on January 29th this century

 

2000       Cinderford          H             3-1          Southern League Division 1 West

2011       Blyth Spartans    A             2-3          Conference North

2013       Hednesford         A             0-3          Staffs Senior Cup

Gainsborough Trinity match preview – Phil Bennett

Someone remarked to me during the Grantham game that Grantham Town have the initials GT and play in Lincolnshire. At home we drew 1-1 scoring first. Next Saturday we travel to Gainsborough Trinity, who have the initials GT, play in Lincolnshire and we drew the home game 1-1 scoring first. So, if you believe in coincidences then you should travel to next Saturdays away game.

We travel to Gainsborough in a league for the first time since 2010/11 when we drew 2-2. Having lost 2-0 to them in last seasons FA Trophy we aim to improve on that especially as hopes are high after the Grantham game. However, they have an imposing home record, with 7 wins against sides well down the league table, 2 draws with Witton and Nantwich and defeats to Buxton, Grantham and Scarborough. Their 6th place to our 19th sees a 20-point gap, so on paper it appears to be a banker home win. However, we travel hoping to cause an upset.

Gainsborough Trinity Football Club was formed in 1873 as Trinity Recreationists, set up by the vicar of the Holy Trinity Church for young parishioners. In 1889The club quickly became well known and won their first Midland League championship in 1890/91 and after finishing runners-up the following season they were elected to the Football League Second Division. Their first match was against Newton Heath, who later became Manchester United. On returning to the Midland League the club remained there until becoming founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1969. Gainsborough Trinity were one of the longest-serving members of the NPL, ending a 36-year stay after finishing tenth in the Premier Division to earn a place in the extended Conference Nationwide North for 2004/05. In the 145 years since they were first formed in 1873, other than through failing to be re-elected or reorganisation of leagues, they had never been promoted and never been relegated. That was until last season when they lost their place in the National League North to find themselves back in the Northern Premier League.

Gainsborough Trinity play their home matches at The Northolme, their home since 1884. In their history a few famous names have played or managed them, more recently managerial spells under Neil Warnock who began his managerial career at Gainsborough, and Brian Little.

There is a supporter’s mini bus running, but I believe this may be full, so car travellers you are looking at a 180-mile round trip with journey time of about 2 hours each way. Your satnav requirements for Northolme, now known as the Gainsborough Martin and Co Arena is DN21 2AW. There is limited street parking, but they have a car park across the roads from the ground with a charge of £2. Admission to the game appears still to be based on National League North prices as they charge £12 adult, £8 concessions and £4 under 16’s. For those wishing to travel by train, then I am afraid you can forget it, as you cannot get back till Sunday.

So, to all the brave souls travelling on Saturday, lets all get behind the team as see if we can spring a surprise and move away from that dreaded relegation zone.

 

Games played on January 26th this century.

 

2002       Bath                       H             postponed, but won 2-1 when played on 2nd Feb

2006       Tamworth            H             1-0          Staffs Senior Cup

2008       Salisbury              H             1-5          Conference

 

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