Witton Albion 1 – 1 Stafford Rangers

Witton Albion 1 – 1 Stafford Rangers

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League | Tuesday 19 March 2019

Stafford Rangers are becoming hard to beat and so it proved again at Witton Albion on Tuesday night although it needed a last gasp goal from Paul Bignot to extend their unbeaten run to six games. It wasn’t one of Rangers’ best performances. They were wasteful in possession and too often delivered balls into the area that were meat and drink to Witton’s tall central defensive pairing. The Stafford side showed one change from the starting XI that defeated Warrington on their last league outing 10 days earlier with Andrai Jones coming in for Joe Cuff. Witton, meanwhile, went in to the games as the league’s leading form side having won five of their last six matches.

Injury hit Witton could only name two substitutes and their situation became worse shortly before kick off when Danny McKenna picked up an injury. A quick reshuffle left them with just one in reserve. The home side were first to show with both Billy Smart and James Foley having shots blocked inside the opening three minutes. Rangers soon got into the game and enjoyed decent ten-minute spell, but their attacks were unproductive. Former Rangers man Osebi Abadaki forced Adam Siviter into the first save of the evening on 13 mins and Luke Jones felt the full force of Will Jones’ follow up. A couple of minutes later, Siviter was in action again after Rob Hopley and Tom Owens linked well, the Rangers’ keeper saving well from the Owens.

A Stafford counter attack produced their first shot on goal, but Andy Haworth ended a good move with a shot wide of the near post. Siviter denied Abadaki again with a save at his near post but it was Stafford who were now asking more of the questions. Their best opening came when Tom Thorley put Haworth in, but his first touch gave Matty Devine the opportunity to hack clear. Dan Burns and Matt Hill both went wide for Stafford while Luke Jones had his shot saved by Greg Hall.

Witton were increasingly frustrated at the lack of decisions in their favour but it was from a free kick that they got the breakthrough a couple of minutes before half time. The ball into the area was cleared out to Cesaire Lingouba whose returned it back to the danger zone. Will Jones flicked it out to Josh Wardle who squared for Ben Harrison to slot home. Hopley came close to adding a second a minute later after Hill had lost the ball to Abadaki on the left but Luke Jones cleared the lines. Rangers needed to inject some life into their game and made a double substitution ten minutes into the second half with Cuff and Ben Mills replacing Andrai Jones and Haworth.

Cuff was soon involved as his low centre resulted in Tom Thorley getting in a low drive, but Hall saved low to his left and Cuff himself had a low drive deflected wide. Stafford’s Peter Williams came on for Jack Sherratt who had received a kick in the first half while Witton were forced to use their one substitute on when Devine went off with a dislocated shoulder. Williams had a shot blocked and penalty appeals for hand ball were turned down. Further penalty appeals were rejected after Luke Jones’ shot struck Wardle. Stafford increased the intensity as time pressed on, but Thorley wasted a good chance by sending his free kick high over the stand while Hill was denied by Hall.

Witton sub Owen Wynne had a chance to double his side’s lead when he beat the offside trap, but he was forced to shoot from near the right touchline and Luke Jones was able to get back to clear. Witton then had two of their own penalty appeals turned down. Cuff missed another golden chance for Stafford, but they finally got their goal three minutes into added time when Bignot fired through the crowd from around 15 yards.

Witton: 1 Greg Hall, 2 Cesaire Lingouba, 3 Matty Devine, 4 Josh Wardle, 5 Ben Harrison, 6 Billy Smart, 7 Osebi Abadaki, 8 Tom Owens, 9 Rob Hopley, 10 Will Jones, 11 James Foley. 12 Owen Wynne

Rangers: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Paul Bignot, 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Jack Sherratt, 7 Theo Bailey-Jones, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Andrai Jones, 11 Andy Haworth. Unused Subs 12 Joe Cuff, 15 Sim Thandi, 15 Louis Briscoe, 16 Ben Mills, 17 Peter Williams

Cautions: Smart (Witton)

Referee: Nik Storey

Att: 307

Report by Chris Elsley

Warrington Town 2-3 Stafford Rangers

Warrington Town 2-3 Stafford Rangers

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League | Saturday 9 March 2019

Stafford Rangers pulled off a shock win away to league leaders Warrington Town to ease their relegation fears. Warrington had to play most of the game with 10 men after Ben Garrity was sent off for collecting two yellow cards inside the opening 14 minutes but, with the wind in their backs, it was the Wire who struck first through Bohan Dixon.

The home side came into the game on the back of an 8-match unbeaten run and they started in confident mood as Connor McCarthy showed a burst of pace to beat Luke Jones on the left, but Tom Thorley was back to cut out the centre.

Garrity picked up the first of his yellow cards for what was deemed to be a dive in the area. Jack Mackreth had threaded a good ball through, but the young midfielder went to ground under Dan Burns’ challenge. Referee Jack Nields was unimpressed. If Garrity felt any injustice from that decision, he knew he was on thin ice and could have few complaints by the second yellow card he received for a late challenge on Andy Haworth just five minutes later although it appeared some time before Nields realised it was the same player before showing the red card.

Nields wasn’t having any nonsense and Joe Cuff saw his name taken for bundling Shaun Beeley to the ground. Dylan Vassallo’s in swinging free kick looked to have been over hit but Mark Roberts managed to pull it back and Dixon nodded past Adam Siviter to give the Wire a 21st minute lead. But Rangers didn’t let their heads drop and, aided by the player advantage, they gradually got to grips with the conditions. Cuff put a shot in on goal, but it deflected wide off team mate Jake Charles.

That was to be more or less it for Cuff who was substituted shortly after for his own good – the young midfielder has already been dismissed twice this season and was risking another. Andrai Jones and Charles both tried their luck on the Warrington goal, but it was skipper Luke Jones who got his side back on level terms on the stroke of half time when he fired past Tony McMillan after Warrington had failed to clear a free kick from Haworth.

There wasn’t too much between the two sides in the opening exchanges of the second half but then Rangers struck twice in quick succession to take command. On 59 mins, Ben Mills won the aerial challenge to knock down Thorley’s long throw and Theo Bailey-Jones was first to react and shot past McMillan. Three minutes later, Rangers won a corner on the right which was taken by Haworth and powerfully headed into the roof of the net by Luke Jones. Bailey-Jones missed a great chance to add a fourth five minutes later when he turned over from close range.

Warrington, with the imposing figures of Josh Amis and Marcus Cusani now leading their attack, were still a threat and Cusani fired over when well-placed after the two substitutes had linked well. It was Cusani who set up a nail-biting finish when he reduced the arrears with 3 minutes remaining following Vassallo’s free kick. And the home side thought they had salvaged a stoppage time point through Amis’ perfectly placed header, but Adam Siviter pulled off a stunning save to earn his side all three points.

Warrington Town: 1 Tony McMillan, 2 Shaun Beeley, 3 Alex Whittle, 4 Ben Garrity, 5 Mark Roberts, 6 David Raven, 7 Jack Mackreth (12 Josh Amis 46m), 8 Robbie Evans, 9 Connor McCarthy (15 Marcus Cusani 63m), 10 Bohan Dixon (14 Russell Benjamin 79m), 11 Dylan Vassallo. Unused Subs:16 Mitch Duggan, 17 Adam Hughes

Stafford Rangers: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Paul Bignot, 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Andrai Jones, 7 Theo Bailey-Jones, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles (15 Louis Briscoe 89m), 10 Andy Haworth (12 Jack Sherratt 79m), 11 Joe Cuff (Sub 16 Ben Mills 39m). Unused Subs: 14 Sam Coulson, 17 Peter Williams

Cautions: Whittle, Roberts (Warrington), Cuff, Hill (Rangers)

Sent Off: Garrity – two cautions (Warrington)

Referee: Jack Neilds

Att: 553

Report: Chris Elsley

Stafford Rangers 0-0 Marine

Stafford Rangers 0-0 Marine

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League | Saturday 2 March 2019

Stafford Rangers and Marine played out a drab goal-less draw that will do little to help Stafford’s fight against relegation. With a tough month ahead – Rangers face leaders Warrington Town twice and also have to travel to second placed Farsley Celtic – the visit of Marine was one which the Boro would have hoped to pick up maximum points but that they rarely threatened to breach the visitors’ goal. In fairness a strong wind and bumpy pitch didn’t help and Marine also lacked potency in their forward line although they did produce the only decent effort of the entire 90 minutes with Craig Carney’s well struck drive early in the second half which was well saved by Adam Siviter.

Rangers brought in Paul Bignot at right back in place of Sim Thandi whose loan period has expired while Andy Haworth and Andrai Jones came in for Joe Cuff and Peter Williams. The game as a spectacle just never got going. Despite having the wind in their faces, it was Marine who produced the first two efforts on target. Both of them came from their captain Danny Mitchley but neither gave Adam Siviter anything to worry about.

Rangers persisted in a hitting target man Jake Charles but too frequently the wind took the ball beyond the hard-working striker. Finally, in the 26th minute, they got an effort on target, but Luke Jones’ header was easily gathered by Joe Hilton. At the other end, another effort from Mitchley looped up off Stafford defender Danny Burns and just wide of the far upright then Chris Doyle headed wide.

Stafford’s best play of the half saw Andy Haworth’s diagonal centre glanced wide off the head of Charles. The game needed to find something special to give it a kick start and it almost came around 10 minutes after the interval from Carney’s terrific 25-yard drive but Siviter was alert to it, diving to his left to push the ball out towards the corner flag. But, sadly for the 683 fans – the second biggest gate of the season – chances remained at a premium and the second half had reached the midway point before Charley Edge went wide for the visitors with a volley.

Both sides made changes. Cuff replaced Jack Sherratt for Rangers, but it was Marine sub who was first in the action when James Murray fired goal wards but Siviter claimed the ball off the head of Mitchley. The Merseysiders just about remained the most likely scorers but Murray wasted a great chance on a Marine counter with a poor touch inside the Stafford area which allowed Bignot in to clear the danger. Soon after, Sam Barnes fired over from the angle. Stafford did look a little more threatening in the final stages after the introduction of Louis Briscoe, but Tom Thorley blazed over after the former’s square ball then Briscoe drilled a 40-yard free kick just wide. Rangers will look at the positives of a clean sheet and that all three teams below them in the table lost but with 5 draws recorded in their last 7 league games, they may be needing to turn a few more into wins to ease their fears of the drop.

Stafford Rangers: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Paul Bignot, 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Jack Sherratt (12 Joe Cuff 65m), 7 Theo Bailey-Jones (16 Ben Mills 90+2m), 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Andrai Jones, 11 Andy Haworth (15 Louis Briscoe 77m). Unused Subs: 14 Sam Coulson, 17 Peter Williams

Marine: 1 Joe Hilton, 2 Sam Barnes, 3 James Short, 4 Danny Shaw, 5 Chris Doyle, 6 Kenny Strickland, 7 Sam Tattum (15 James Murray 67m), 8 Liam Hynes, 9 Danny Mitchley (14 John Marsden 79m), 10 Charley Edge, 11 Craig Carney. Unused Subs 12 William Dunne, 13 Germano Mendes (gk) – only four subs named

Cautions: A Jones (Stafford), Barnes, Doyle & Tattum (Marine)Referee: Jonathan Maskrey

Att: 683

Report by Chris Elsley

Basford United 2 – 2 Stafford Rangers

Basford United 2 – 2 Stafford Rangers

A late goal gave Stafford Rangers a deserved share of the spoils on the 3G surface of Basford United ending a run of three consecutive defeats on the artificial surface. It was Basford’s first home draw of the season. Rangers were unchanged from the side that beat Bamber Bridge a week earlier, apart from Andrai Jones replacing Louis Briscoe on the substitutes bench.

When the two sides met at the same venue in an FA Trophy tie three months ago, Rangers were blown away as Basford raced into a three-goal lead inside 20 minutes. The Notts side found a different looking Stafford side this time around and one which was asking some questions of the home defence although it was Basford who came closest to an opener in the first 20 minutes.

A long kick from home keeper Saul Deeley threatened to put Basford’s Shaun Harrad in but Stafford defender Dan Burns did well to hold him off and get the ball back to Adam Siviter. Siviter was in the action again when he failed to take Nathan Watson’s dipping cross, but he recovered in time to dive on to the loose ball.

But it was James Reid’s free kick on 19 minutes that came closest to a goal – the ball striking the Stafford wall before looping over. Rangers’ first serious effort came a couple of minutes later when a good ball down the line from Theo Bailey-Jones found Jake Charles who, in turn, spotted a run from Jack Sherratt but the midfielder’s shot went the wrong side of Deeney’s right hand post. Soon after, Sim Thandi curled one over after an exchange of passes with Charles then Joe Cuff went just wide following Thandi’s lay off.

A good move from the home side saw Fernando Bell-Toxtle put in Zak Goodson but he was denied by an important challenge from Burns. The deadlock was finally broken with a superb strike from Bailey-Jones on 33 minutes. Cuff found his man wide on the right after just winning the battle for a 50-50 ball and Bailey-Jones let fly with a shot across Deeley and inside the far post. Basford went close to an equaliser on the stroke of half time when Watson flicked Reid’s free kick on to Liam Bateman but Siviter saved well with his body.

Bailey-Jones missed a great chance to increase Stafford’s lead early in the second half when he blazed over from close range following Matt Hill’s cross. A minute later, Tom Thorley filed to shoot when the opportunity arose on the edge of the area. They were costly misses as Basford, boosted by sub Liam Hearn, levelled on 65 minutes when Matthew Thornhill’s ball found Jack Thomas and he created himself a yard of space to fire smartly past Siviter. Basford went in front three minutes later; Reid’s free kick was met by a glancing header from Shaun Harrad and Siviter’s best efforts were to no avail.  Stafford should have been awarded a penalty on 74 minutes when Thornhill handled inside the area, but referee Richie Watkins waved play on.
Basford controlled the final 15 minutes to repel almost everything that Stafford had to offer. Rangers should have levelled in the final minute of normal time when Ben Mills skewed wide when well-placed, but the visitor’s persistence paid off and they grabbed a share of the spoils in the first minute of added time when Deeney’s save to deny Bailey-Jones rebounded into the net off Basford defender Dominic Roma.

Basford: 1 Saul Deeney, 2 Jack Thomas, 3 James Reid, 4 Jerry Nash, 5 Liam Bateman, 6 Dominic Roma, 7 Fernando Bell-Toxtle, 8 Matthew Thornhill, 9 Nathan Watson (14 Louis Tomlinson 90m), 10 Shaun Harrad, 11 Zak Goodson (12 Liam Hearn 56m). Unused Subs 15 Max Foster, 16 Gregory Mouloupolous, 17 Dennell Stokes (gk)
Stafford: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Sim Thandi, 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Jack Sherratt (16 Ben Mills 78m), 7 Theo Bailey-Jones, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Peter Williams (17 Andrai Jones 69m), 11 Joe Cuff (12 Andy Haworth 59m). Unused Subs, 14 Sam Coulson, 15 Paul Bignot
Cautions: Cuff, Sherratt (Rangers)

Referee: Richie Watkins

Att: 308

Report by Chris Elsley

Stafford Rangers 1 – 0 Bamber Bridge

Stafford Rangers 1 – 0 Bamber Bridge

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League | Saturday 16 February 2019

Stafford Rangers picked up their first home win in two months in a tense battle against Bamber Bridge, a win that was enough to lift them above local rivals Hednesford Town in to 18th place. Rangers recalled Joe Cuff to the starting line up with new signing Paul Bignot taking a place on the substitutes bench. Missing from the 16 who lost at Scarborough a week earlier were Jed Davies and Andrai Jones.

There was a minute’s applause before kick off as tribute was paid to the late Gordon Banks and it was somewhat fitting that the two keepers on show in this Evo-Stik League encounter should put on a fine display to keep their respective sides in the contest. Bamber Bridge’s Lloyd Rigby was easily the busier of the two in the opening 45 minutes – a half dominated by Rangers – although he only made one significant save and that from the head of one of his own team-mates.

Rangers went on the attack from the start and, in the 3rd minute, a good ball hooked through from Jake Charles sent Cuff away in the inside left channel, but the young midfielder skewed his shot wide of the target. Five minutes later, Charles himself went wide from around 25 yards after Tom Thorley’s long throw had put the home side under pressure. Theo Bailey-Jones was next to have a look in, but he failed to produce the goods from the edge of the D after getting into a promising position. But, the early pressure finally produced some reward in the 11th minute when another Thorley throw fell to Charles with a yard of space, he made no mistake.

Cuff missed out on another good opportunity when Luke Jones’ long ball had Brig’s Matt Lawlor beaten – this time the Rangers man was unable to get in a shot and Rigby gathered up. A late challenge on Matt Hill by Danny Forbes earned the visiting midfielder the games’ only caution and from the free kick, only a fine tip over from Rigby prevented Forbes from heading into his own net.

Brig were always going to have their moments although they were few in the first half. Dan Burns made a good block to deny Alistair Waddecar – he scored four goals in his side’s 6-1 win when the two teams met earlier in the season – but it was Lawlor who squandered their best opportunity when he skied over following Matt Dudley’s free kick.

Having dominated so much of the play, it was appropriate that Rangers would end the half on top, but they went in at the break with just their one goal advantage after Cuff missed another two chances that fell his way while Burns’ header landed on the roof of the net. Whatever was said in the visitors’ dressing room during the interval must have hit home as Brig were the first to show at the start of the second half. They should have levelled just a couple of minutes after the restart when recent signing Scott Harries was put in by Waddecar, but he was denied by the feet of Rangers’ keeper Adam Siviter.

Stafford responded and Rigby tipped another over his crossbar – this time from Bailey-Jones, then, an error from Callum Spooner opened the door for Rangers once more before Lawlor made an important tackle to halt Charles. Rigby was Brig’s saviour again when he raced out of his area to beat Cuff to a pass from Charles while Thorley skied over from Charles’ lay off. But the visitors were still in the contest and piled on the pressure in the closing stages and Waddecar struck the post from a tight angle after a good ball from Harries.

A couple of minutes later, it was Stafford’s turn to be denied by the framework as Rigby somehow managed to get a fingertip to divert Andy Haworth’s rocket shot on to the crossbar. The Stafford sub is still searching for his first goal for the club having been on the scoresheet against Stafford when playing for Brig earlier in the season. But it was Siviter who produced what was ultimately the match winning save as he kept out Waddecar with a couple of minutes remaining after the Brig veteran was clean through.

Stafford Rangers: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Sim Thandi, 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Jack Sherratt (15 Louis Briscoe 67m), 7 Theo Bailey-Jones, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Peter Williams (14 Sam Coulson 79m), 11 Joe Cuff (12 Andy Haworth 67m). Unused Subs: 16 Ben Mills, 17 Paul Bignot

Bamber Bridge: 1 Lloyd Rigby, 2 Callum Spooner, 3 Adam Dodd, 4 Matt Lawlor, 5 James McCarten, 6 Daniel Wisdom (16 Mark Buchan 83m), 7 Alistair Waddecar, 8 Danny Forbes (14 Chris Churchman 61m), 9 Matthew Dudley, 10 Scott Harries, 11 Regan Linney (15 Ben Thomas 73m). Unused Subs: 12 Phil Doughty, 17 Danny Roccia (gk)

Cautions: Forbes (Bamber Bridge)

Referee: Richard Walker

Att: 552

Scarborough Athletic 4 – 1 Stafford Rangers

Scarborough Athletic 4 – 1 Stafford Rangers

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League | Saturday 9 February 2019

Stafford Rangers mini unbeaten run came to an end on the North Yorkshire coast with defeat against high flying Scarborough Athletic.
Rangers fielded Sim Thandi at right back – the youngster having joined the club on a youth loan from Stoke City – in place of Sam Coulson while Jed Davies returned in midfield with Jack Sherratt dropping to the bench.

Also absent from the 16 that drew with Lancaster City last week were Lewis Banks, who has made the move to Sligo Rovers, Izak Reid and Josh Craddock, who has made the decision to leave the club after making a brief return to the club that culminated in him being sent off in the Staffs Senior Cup tie against Wolverhampton Casuals.

Despite a long-standing relationship with the Scarborough club of old, this was Stafford’s first visit to the Athletic founded in 2007 and their two-year-old Flamingo Land stadium complete with its artificial pitch. But it was the strong wind, rather than the pitch, that was the main challenge for both sides. Scarborough had it in their favour in the first half and used it to their advantage to build up a two-goal lead inside the first 20 minutes and though Stafford came to terms with it to produce a strong finish to the first half, they weren’t as effective with the wind as the home side had been.
Stafford keeper Adam Siviter was called into early action, making a fine left handed save to keep out a snap shot from Matty Dixon inside 90 seconds.

But the home side grabbed the early advantage when they made the breakthrough in the 10th minute – Michael Coulson flicking on a Jamie Forrester corner and James Williamson converted from close range. Stafford’s first effort come from Andy Haworth following a long free kick from Thandi, but Tommy Taylor made a comfortable save low to his left.

Moments after Tom Davie’s throw had bounced just wide off Dan Burns, Luke Lofts doubled Scarborough’s lead in the 19th minute after finding space inside the area to drill home an unstoppable shot past Siviter. Stafford were steadily coming to terms with the conditions and Davies sent a reminder that they were still in the contest with a well struck drive at Turner after good work from both Jake Charles and Theo Bailey-Jones. Soon after, Luke Jones headed over.

It was Charles who deservedly reduced the arrears five minutes before the break when he was gifted the ball by Coulson and fired beyond the reach of Turner’s outstretched left arm. A bright opening to the second period saw Scarborough make it 3-1 in the 57th minute though there was a degree of luck as Lofts’ cross rebounded into the net off Thandi. Stafford worked hard to get back into the game with Tom Thorley, Charles and Joe Cuff all just missing out. But it was Scarborough who came closest to adding to the score firstly when Matty Dixon’s when his 25 yarder came crashing back off the cross bar. The ball came back out to Dixon, but he could only fire straight into the arms of Siviter. A few minutes later, Lofts went clean through only to be denied by Siviter, then, when front man James Walshaw looked set to score, Davies put in a timely tackle to prevent the shot.

The home side finally made it 4-1 in added time through a Walshaw penalty, harshly awarded when Coulson appeared to fall over following a tackle from Luke Jones – deemed fair by the referee but the linesman flagged for the offence.

Scarborough:1 Tommy Taylor, 2 Josh Lacey, 3 Tom Davie (14 Dave Merris 45m), 4 Luke Dean (15 James Cadman 80m), 5 Ross Killock, 6 James Williamson, 7 Jamie Forrester (12 Nathan Valentine 48m), 8 Matty Dixon, 9 James Walshaw, 10 Michael Coulson, 11 Luke Lofts. Unused Subs: 13 Tom Morgan, 16 Jack Johnson

Stafford Rangers: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Sim Thandi (16 Ben Mills 82m), 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Jed Davies, 7 Theo Bailey-Jones (15 Joe Cuff 65m), 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Peter Williams (17 Andrai Jones 76m), 11 Andy Haworth. Unused Subs: 12 Sam Coulson, 14 Jack Sherratt

Cautions: Killock (Scarborough), Burns (Rangers)
Referee: Neil Howlett

Att: 947