Matlock match preview – Phil Bennett

What a lovely sound on Easter Monday to hear the Rangers faithful singing that good old favourite,
“we are staying up”. A tremendous achievement by Andy and Alex, plus the players to turn around our season, and hopefully they can turn a relegation threatened season into a promotion push on season 2019/20.



Divisional safety takes the pressure off for our last league game of the season when we entertain Matlock. There is no room for complacency as players will be playing for their place on Monday nights Staffs Senior cup final.

Matlock Football Club were established in 1878 and in early years competed in the Derbyshire Senior League and the Midland Amateur Alliance. After World War I the club was renamed Matlock Town and they joined the Central Alliance. In the early 60’sthe club moved up to the reformed Midland League, which they won the at the first attempt. They were Midland League champions again in 1968–69, subsequently joining the Northern Premier League. In 1974/75 Matlock won the FA Trophy defeating Scarborough 4–0. In 1979 they entered the Anglo-Italian Cup, finishing second in the English section. After a long spell in the Northern Prem Matlock finished bottom in 1995/96 and were relegated to Division One. In 2003–04 Matlock were Division One runners-up, earning promotion to the Premier Division, where they remain.

Quite often games at the end of the season can be dull affairs as, if safe with little to play for, you tend to get players in holiday mode, dreaming of the beach. This appeared the case on Monday when Matlock lost 6-0 at home to local rivals Buxton. I am sure they will not wish to display a similar performance again, so we need to be on our game, especially as we nee to avenge our December 22nd game at Causeway lane, when we had the lead twice.

So, this Saturday you as the 12th man can take a rest, but your support is still needed as we hope to finish the season on a high, especially as we could in theory finish above Hednesford. A good crowd plus a few celebratory pints in the Social Club will help set up the club over the close season. So please consider purchasing a season ticket as this is a big help to the club’s finances during the summer.



Games played on April 27th this century

2002 Moor Green    A     1-1 Southern Prem
2005 Leek Town       N    2-0 Staffs Senior Cup Final
2013 Nantwich          H   2-0 Northern Prem

South Shields match preview

Thanks to our great win at Whitby, we can now look to the end of season with some pressure removed. Okay we are not mathematically safe, but to get relegated now would need some strange results from those around us. Fresh from losing out on a valuable point at top of the table Farsley, we now entertain the league’s second placed club, fresh in our minds that we took 4 points off Warrington last month. I am sure that might have an effect on South Shields as they travel to us hoping to avenge last season’s FA Trophy defeat. They will be happy to know that Massiah McDonald no longer plays for us, but we
need to avenge our 3-0 defeat in the North East last August.

It has become a somewhat anecdotal statement in that ex Northern League sides do not travel well. Well this season South Shields have lost on the road to Buxton, Grantham and Hednesford to name 3 of their 7 away defeats. (they are glad their defeat at North Ferriby no longer exists) They also lost out in the cup away at Stratford. So perhaps we can be yet another Midlands side to keep their travelling hoodoo ongoing.

If you look at the history of South Shields Football Club it reads like a soap opera, of a former football league team, moving grounds and even towns, yet they still retain the year 1888 in their crest as their formation year although the current side is somewhat younger than that. A major change in the national non-league set-up came in 1968 with the formation of the Northern Premier League, and South Shields beat us to become founder members. The club was a member for six reasonably successful years, without making any significant impact but came to a close in 1974 due to insufficient match attendances and the distance from the town centre area and the total loss of the club, the ground of Simonside Hill and all effects. Reformation quickly followed, and South Shields Mariners FC, was born, though competing in very different circumstances to its predecessors.

It had to overcome the immediate problem of starting with nothing, neither ground, committee, money, players, manager etc, and a league that would accept it of reasonable stature. The lack of a ground with adequate and sufficient facilities to satisfy the required criteria of the Northern League saw them compete in Northern Alliance League and the Wearside League. They acquired the former Filtrona FC and gradual upgrading and development of Filtrona Park saw
promotion to the First Division of the Northern League. Lease problems at Filrona Park saw yet another temporary move to Peterlee, 20 miles away. This exile from South Tyneside lasted for two seasons, and during that time, the club faced a real battle to survive, with seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel.

In the summer of 2015, the club and subsequently bought Filtrona Park, which was renamed Mariners Park, and progression through the Northern League saw the bold move into the non league pyramid with promotion into the Northern Premier League Division 1 North, and then into the Premier League with National League football one of the goals earmarked. Perhaps we may be able to stem that move forward by denying them the automatic promotion route, but South Shields do sit
comfortable in the play off group.​ Please note that due to a darts tournament taking place in the Social Club, that car parking will be severely limited, so please make use of the streets in the Astonfields industrial estate.

Games played on 20th April this century.
2002 Cambridge City H 3-0 Southern Premier League.
2013 AFC Fylde A 1-0 Northern premier League.
2015 Leek Town – 1-0 Staffs Senior Cup Final at Port Vale​

Whitby Preview – Phil Bennett

Whitby, the home of Captain Cook and very good fish and chips. Whitby is also the home of Count Dracula, so be warned as April 12th to 14th is the Goth festival, so with all the black and white make up, I doubt they are Rangers fans.




A brief history of Whitby FC sees that around the first world war Whitby was a town with two clubs, both playing in the Scarborough and District League The two clubs amalgamated in 1926 as Whitby United. The new club was admitted into the Northern League and the club’s name was changed to Whitby Town in 1949. In season 1996-97, Whitby won the Northern League and completed the double winning the FA Carlsberg Vase at Wembley, beating North Ferriby United by 3-0. Now in step 4, Whitby won the UniBond League First Division Championship at their first attempt to gain promotion to step 3, and they have now become a consistent Northern Premier League outfit.


Anyhow, back to football. Still trying to get the required points for safety we may have to do something that we have yet to do. That is to win away at Whitby. In 5 visits our best to date have been 2 draws, these being our last two visits, so let’s hope it is an improving run. This game included, all our visits bar one has been at the tail end of the season, games being played in April or May. Last season’s 0-0 draw was the only one to have taken place in the first half of the season. We therefore need to build on the 3-3 draw at home to Whitby on November 24. In that game we took an early lead only to be pegged back by two Whitby goals in a 5-minute spell. We equalised however within a minute. In the second half, Whitby edged ahead again only for us to equalise on 80 minutes.


Whitby currently lie 11th in the league with a home record of won 6, drawn 6 and lost 6, so parity must fail this Saturday, hoping the 7 goes on their lost column. For those traveling by car, the post code for the Turnbull ground is YO21 3 HZ, and you will find the ground high up on the north cliff area of town. I am sure if you had a powerful shot over the bar at one end it could land in the seas. For train travellers, you may as well forget it as Whitby is served by only 3 return journeys each day, and you must get to Middlesbrough to catch one. Or, you can do what many fans are doing this weekend and that is to make a weekend of it. Hopefully as well as coming home with 3 points we hope to have savoured the fish and chips that are on offer on the harbour side. You always know the quality of fish and chips on offer by the crowd of seas gulls that hover over you while eating. Have a good day, or weekend, as we build for that final push.


Games played on April 13th this century.

2002 Weymouth       A             1-0 Southern League
2009 Solihull              H            0-2 Conference North
2013 Blyth Spartans H            2-4 Northern Premier League

Farsley match preview – Phil Bennett

Due to the demise of North Ferriby we have a blank Saturday, and therefore hope that our relegation threatened rivals draw a blank too.


Keep a look out for Bamber Bridge v Scarborough, Nantwich v Mickleover and Witton v Workington. Do not forget Workington v Mickleover on Tuesday 2nd. So, our next game is Tuesday 9th April when we travel to top of the table Farsley who lead South Shields by a point. Remember South Shields come to us on 20th April, so we could have a say in the promotion battle if we can repeat our heroic win at the then top of the table Warrington last month.


However, next Saturday Farsley travel to Buxton who are eyeing up a playoff spot themselves, while South Shields entertain Hednesford. It means we may not be playing the top of the league, but in either event expect a tough game as Farsley have only lost twice at home in the league this season to, Hednesford and Witton. If Hednesford can do it then why can’t we, especially if we replicate our second half performance against Hyde.


Sadly, a long midweek journey to Yorkshire may not see the 12th man in a strong position. Last Saturday Farsley had a crowd of 358 for their home game with Stalybridge in the “Celtic derby”. It may be jealousy but if the we were top of the league for this fixture, I would expect the 348 to be our travelling support. If Farsley do gain promotion they may need bigger gates to ensure they do not repeat the scene of 10 years ago,


We have come across Farsley Celtic before, but that side came to an unfortunate end as they entered Administration in June 2009 whilst in the Blue Square North, failing fulfill its fixtures and eventually being expelled from that league early in 2010. Our record with that team was a 0-1 away defeat on opening day 2007 and a home defeat 0-2 in the March. Both sides were relegated from the Conference and met again on the opening day in 2008 but we recorded a 1-0 win but lost 4-0 away in December. 2009/10 saw us draw 2-2 at home but on-going financial difficulties saw the Administrators appointed with the club’s results expunged in March 2010 when the Administrator prohibited the club from fulfilling its fixtures, one of them being our away fixture.


One funny anecdote from the old Farsley was that for the segregated away end at half time two guys lifted out the turnstile and allowed fans out to purchase cans of beer out of a car boot.


Farsley AFC were formed in June 2010 from the embers of Farsley Celtic F.C and were placed in the NCEL Premier Division for their first season which turned out to be highly successful with a league and cup double recorded, it appears mainly due to many of the former players remaining loyal to the club. Promotion to the Northern Premier League Division 1 in 2011/12 saw them secured 4th spot but they failed in the play offs. Consolidation at step 4 then continued until season 2016/17 when they finished runners up to Lancaster and promotion secured. Last season Farsley finished 4th and did the double over us. This season they came to Marston Road in October for the league game and went home with a 3-1 win. They also beat us in the Integro Cup to secure a final spot.


For the hardy traveller the Throstle Nest ground has a post code of LS28 5BE. For those going by train you may forget it as you not get home till Wednesday.


Games played on 9th April this century


2005       Worcester City    H             0-0          Conference North

2007       Aldershot             A             2-4          Conference North

2011       Workington          A             0-2          Conference North

2012       Nantwich             H             1-1          Northern Premier League

Hyde United Preview

This Saturday the leagues draw specialists take our 13 drawn games into the tigers Den of Hyde who in their 18 home games have only drawn Two. Parity however sees them win 8 and 8 losses. Looks odds on for yet another draw, but you never know, so let’s get to Hyde and help the Rangers improve on our illustrious run.

Historically, Hyde FC will always be remembered for the record 26-0 FA Cup defeat suffered at the hands of Preston North End in 1887. Hyde are nicknamed the Tigers, a name adopted at the end of the 1960s when they were founder members of the Northern Premier League. In 1986, Hyde took the radical step of selling Ewen Fields to Tameside Council so that a synthetic Baspograss pitch could be laid. This was in the days of very hard synthetic pitches, nothing like todays examples so grass was reinstated in 1995. Hyde won the NPL title in 2004-05 giving them promotion to the National League North. In 2010, Hyde agreed a deal for Manchester City’s elite development squad to use Ewen Fields, the money secured the club’s immediate future but a decision to revert to the old name of Hyde FC, and to stop wearing red shirts, divided the fans. 2011-12 saw Hyde promoted to the top flight of non-league football beating clubs such as Wrexham, Hereford United, Luton Town and Grimsby Town. Unfortunately, Hyde were unable to continue competing at such a high level and suffered back-to-back relegations which have taken them back to the NPL, and eventually into Northern Premier League Division 1. Hyde secured funding from Tameside Council in March of 2016 with the investment used to help fund a programme to transform the ground and its connections with the local community by laying 3G pitch. The 2017/18 season was one of the best seasons the club has experienced in recent years, and with the restructure of the non-league Hyde gained an automatic promotion from 3rd place.

We will be looking to avenge our 3-1 defeat from October. That was our third successive 3-1 home defeat, but our recent transformation could be due to the fact that of that 16-man squad, only 9 remain.

Car travellers need to set sat naves to SK14 5PL with a journey time around 1.5 hours. Train journey times are about 1 hour 40 minutes with a return fare around £25. You change at Manchester Piccadilly and need Newton for Hyde station which is about half a mile from Ewan Fields.

Games played on 30th March this century

2002 Kings Lynn H 3-2 Southern League
2013 Witton Alb A 1-3 Northern Premier League

Due to a number of players making their own way to Hyde there are a few spaces on the team coach which we can offer to supporters.
If you would like to travel on the team coach to this match please contact Ken, Roy or Carol on 01785 602430.

Cost will be £12.00 per head.

Warrington match preview – Phil Bennett

This Saturday we host Warrington, fresh from our victory at Cantaliver Park the other week. I accept that Warrington played a large junk of the game with 10 men, but you cannot take away our performance in executing a fine away win. We now must prove this Saturday that the result was not a blip but a well deserved 3 points and one to repeat again to take us away from the relegation battle.


Obviously, Warrington will come attempting to deliver a blow to our current run, so it is essential that we give our all, and that is not just on the pitch but the support from the terraces. Warrington players will come to settle a score, so we need to be up for it. We know Warrington will be up for it, not only for revenge, but to keep up their very impressive away league record. Of their 17 away games they have won 12, drawn 2 and lost 3. In the main they have put most of the relegation threatened sides to the sword, and even won at South Shields. We must however take some comfort that one of their draws was at Bamber Bridge and while they incurred losses at Nantwich and Scarborough, they also lost to Hednesford.

Our run in now with the loss of North Ferriby does not make good reading. 7 games to play and we play the top 4! We are though on a good run of results with 1 defeat in 10 games. Okay the bulk are draws, but it does show a resolute defence and a never give up attitude as was demonstrated at Witton with yet another late goal. Rangers again took a good following to increase the gate at Witton, but it is now when we want the home support out in force.

This weekend sees International fixtures so there are no Premiership and Championship games. Please put out the word to your friends and family who may watch Wolves, Stoke, etc, to forget an afternoon of Jeff Stelling on Sky or keeping the wife happy with the shopping. Get down to Marston Road to watch this forthcoming fixture. We have lost a home fixture next month due to the demise of North Ferriby, so let’s swell the gate for this game to compensate. 3 points on Saturday could see us rise to 14th. With the top sides looming into view for us, it is imperative that we keep this run going.

Games played on 23rd March this century

2002 Salisbury                A      4-1 Southern League
2004 Rushall Olympic    A      2-0 Staffs Senior Cup