Stafford Rangers’ problems at the foot of the Northern Premier League deepened with a heavy defeat at home to Atherton Collieries and, to add to the Boro’s woes, they had Joe Cuff sent off midway through the second half.
It was even stevens while the scores were level and Rangers could even count themselves unlucky not to have been given an early advantage when Atherton keeper Danny Taberner got caught in possession on the edge of his area under pressure from Cuff. Appeals for handball outside the area against the visiting keeper fell on deaf ears as the referee waved play on.
Earlier, Callum Coyle had wasted a good chance when well placed on the edge of the area – his shot going high and wide. Atherton had a penalty claim waved away when Gareth Peet went to ground but it was Rangers who looked the most likely to open the scoring as Coyle ended a smart move with a shot that was deflected wide.
Atherton grabbed the opening goal of the evening on 29 minutes. Ben Conway linked with Marcus Cusani to put Elliot Rokka away on the right, stretching the Rangers’ defence and Dylan Glass was on hand to finish off from close range.
For a side who has only managed two league goals all season – one of them being an own goal – the psychological effect of falling a goal behind was clear for all to see. Less than two minutes after their opener, Atherton broke clear through Conway and only a good block from Lewis King prevented the visitors from extending their lead.
Danny Lafferty’s header past King was ruled out due to a foul but Atherton extended their lead a minute into added time via a deflected free kick from Rokka after Liam Langford had inexplicably conceded possession just inside the Stafford half.
The second half commenced with Sam Coulson on as a replacement for Langford, but things did not improve as Atherton created the early chances with Peet’s free kick hitting the side netting and Cusani shooting over after cutting in from the left. Mitch Candlin’s ball over the top of the Atherton defence almost put Cuff in but Taberner came out of his area to win the race and clear the danger. Soon after, Taberner beat Cuff to another 50-50. The Stafford man caught the keeper, but the yellow card shown was harsh.
Less than four minutes after the first yellow, the same two players were involved in yet another 50-50 and Taberner’s theatrical antics saw Cuff dismissed for a second yellow. An already tough task then became an almost impossible one when Atherton extended their lead still further as Rick Smith’s back post header following Vinny Bailey’s deep free kick found its way past King.
The final score could have been worse had there been a visiting player to finish off Peet’s square ball or sub Niall Battersby not been denied by King. For Rangers, their evening was summed up by the fact that it took until two minutes into added time for them to create an effort on target but Candlin’s header was straight at Taberner.
Stafford Rangers: 1 Lewis King, 2 Liam Langford (14 Sam Coulson 29m), 3 Joe Kenton, 4 Ben Forrest, 5 Dan Burns, 6 John Welsh, 7 Reece Jones (16 Cieron Keane 53m), 8 Alex-Ray Harvey, 9 Joe Cuff, 10 Callum Coyle (15 Michael Williams 77m), 11 Mitch Candlin. Unused Subs: 12 Aaron Cole, 17 Matt Hill
Atherton Collieries: 1 Danny Taberner, 2 Clive Smith, 3 Gareth Peet, 4 Danny Lambert, 5 Danny Lafferty, 6 Rick Smith, 7 Ben Conway (16 Jack Lenehan 71m), 8 Vinny Bailey, 9 Dylan Glass (12 Jordan Darr 74m), 10 Elliot Rokka (15 Jack Banister 81m), 11 Marcus Cusani. Unused Subs: 13 Elliot Wynne, 14 Niall Battersby
Ref: Steve Durnall
Cautions: Langford, Welsh (Rangers)
Sent Off: Joe Cuff – two cautions (Rangers)
Goals: Atherton Collieries: Glass 29, Rokka 45+1, R Smith 72
Stafford Rangers missed out on a place in the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup after being dumped out by the lowest ranked side left in the competition. Rangers were looking for their first appearance against the League teams since going out to Brighton in 2006 but the visitors have to go back 50 years for the last time that they reached that stage and it was clear from early on that the visitors were going to make this a tough afternoon for the Boro, despite the two leagues difference.
Rangers – unchanged from the side beaten at Basford in midweek – had the early openings with Jamie Sleigh and Joe Cuff both missing out in the opening five minutes but Skem were soon on the attack themselves as Dan Mitchley put Emini Adegbenro through only for a crucial tackle from Michael Williams to halt his progress. But, in the 10th minute, the visitors were ahead. While Cieron Keane and Liam Langford both waited for the other to take control, Lloyd Ellams nipped in. Mitchley picked out Adegbenro in space and he advanced to slot the ball past Lewis King. Sam Coulson missed a great opportunity to level soon after when he failed to make sufficient contact from Keane’s corner. It was the first of several chances to fall to the defender in front of the Skem goal.D espite the early setback, Rangers had most of the first half play but saw shots from Keane and John Welsh fly off target.
Welsh then put Sleigh in, but he lost his footing at the vital stage before Ben Barnes had to tip over a deep centre from Langford that was heading for the top corner. An unmarked Coulson headed over then Welsh hit the side netting before Barnes ensured his side would take the lead into the interval by tipping Coulson’s looping header over the bar. The visitors were the better team at the start of the second half and it needed a great challenge from Langford to halt another threatening run from Adegbenro.
The two sides traded opportunities. Barnes took no chance as he pushed a Williams shot away for a corner even though the shot looked to be heading wide. At the other end Michael Grogan was unconvincing from 18 yards out and his shot ended wide of the target. Defender Grogan was more up to his task with a double block to deny Langford and Cuff before King saved well from Ellams.
But it was Ellams who doubled Skem’s lead on 65 mins with a header beyond the reach of King following an Alex Griffiths free kick. Cuff forced another fingertip save from Barnes before another chance went begging for Rangers as neither Langford nor Coulson could manage to get a shot in. Barnes saved well from a Cuff header before Rangers’ leading scorer gave his side a lifeline with 12 minutes remaining when he hooked home Keane’s cross.
Barnes kept out a similar effort from Cuff before Skem wrapped up the tie with two late goals. The first came from the penalty spot on 88 mins after Richard Brodie made the most of the opportunity as King tried to force him wide and Adegbenro netted. With the tie in the bag, Ellams rubbed salt in Rangers’ wounds two minutes later when he was given time and space to advance to the edge of the area before thumping the ball past King.
Stafford Rangers: 1 Lewis King, 2 Michael Williams, 3 Cieron Keane, 4 Sam Coulson, 5 Liam Langford, 6 John Welsh, 7 Muhammed Sebbeh-Njie (12 Callum Coyle 46m), 8 Alex-Ray Harvey (15 Mitch Candlin 62m), 9 Jamie Sleigh, 10 Joe Cuff, 11 Joe Kenton. Unused Subs: 14 Dan Burns, 16 Reece Jones, 17 Aaron Cole, 18 Joe Morley, 19 Ben Forrest
Skelmersdale United: 1 Ben Barnes, 2 Joe Herbert, 3 Callum Preston, 4 Daniel Murphy, 5 Michael Grogan, 6 Gabriel Ellis (17 Alex Davies 56m), 7 Jack Grimshaw (14 Richard Brodie 86m), 8 Lloyd Ellams, 9 Daniel Mitchley, 10 Alex Griffiths (16 Stephen Wainwright 90+2m), 11 Emini Adegbenro. Unused Subs 12 Jay Webb, 13 Cameron Glennon, 15 Thomas Grimshaw, 18 Alex O’Neill
It was a familiar story for Stafford Rangers as they slipped to their fifth league defeat in six outings – a record that sees them stuck at the bottom of the table. The inability to score goals once again proved Rangers’ undoing in a game where they dominated play for 75 minutes.
In contrast to the poor showing against FC United three days earlier, Rangers looked positive from the off with a good passing game that saw them create a number of chances but they failed to make possession count and pretty football will get you nowhere without an end product. Joe Cuff was the first to try his luck with a 25 yarder, but it was straight at home keeper Jordan Pierrepont.
A couple of minutes later, Cuff sent a ball flying across the face of the Basford goal with no Stafford player on hand to add the finish. After Liam Langford had headed over from a corner, Joe Kenton tested the keeper following his run from midfield and though Pierrepont spilled the shot, he was able to recover before Mo Sebbeh-Njie could get in.
The best chance of the half fell to Jamie Sleigh at the back post, but he was at full stretch and unable to convert Kenton’s cross. Twice the home keeper had to come out of his area as Rangers threatened to open the scoring – firstly just beating Cuff to a ball over the top then clattering into Sleigh, leaving the Stafford man requiring treatment.
Basford looked sharper at the start of the second half without really posing a threat to the Stafford goal – a glanced header from Niall Towell going across goal then a shot high over from Kyle Dixon being the nearest they came. Rangers should have gone ahead on the hour when Mo Sebbeh-Njie put Cuff through after dispossessing Callum Chettle, but Cuff declined to shoot, instead trying a return pass and the chance was lost.
Sebbeh-Njie produced Rangers’ best effort of the game after Cieron Keane’s centre was only half cleared but Pierrepont managed to tip the ball onto the post. Chettle and sub Alex Howes both wasted good chances for Basford before captain Stef Galinski powered home a 71st minute header from Ryan Wilson’s corner. Rangers threw on Fis Adarabioyo and debutant Aaron Cole in an attempt to get back level, but the Basford defence denied them a look in as the winless streak was extended to six games.
Basford United: 1 Jordan Pierrepont, 2 Dom Roma, 3 Ryan Wilson, 4 Declan Dunn, 5 Stef Galinski, 6 Lewis Carr, 7 Kyle Dixon (15 Brad Gascoigne 83m), 8 Callum Chettle, 9 Niall Towell (18 Alex Howes 65m), 10 Kane Richards, 11 Rev James (16 Wayde Hines 90m). Unused Subs 12 Matt Thornhill, 14 James Clifton
Stafford Rangers: 1 Lewis King, 2 Michael Williams, 3 Cieron Keane, 4 Sam Coulson, 5 Liam Langford, 6 John Welsh (16 Aaron Cole 79m), 7 Mo Sebbeh-Njie, 8 Alex-Ray Harvey, 9 Jamie Sleigh (14 Fis Adarabioyo 74m), 10 Joe Cuff, 11 Joe Kenton. Unused Subs 12 Reece Jones, 15 Callum Coyle, 17 Ben Forrest
Stafford Rangers are still looking for their first league win of the season after going down in a largely disappointing display away to FC United on Saturday. Rangers were unable to follow up on the performance that saw them beat Hereford in the FA Cup four days earlier and for much of the game they were on the defensive as the home side did most of the pressing.
A slip inside the first minute for Michael Williams set the tone for the afternoon. The defender picking up a caution for a foul on Regan Linney after the FC wide man looked set to take advantage. The free kick went harmlessly through to Lewis King but United were on the hunt for an early breakthrough, but Dan Cockerline was unable to get any direction on his header while Aaron Morris fired wide from 20 yards.
Williams made an excellent tackle to halt a threatening run from Linney but, seconds later, Fin Sinclair-Smith broke clear only for King to come out quickly and make the block. Paul Ennis struck a free kick into the Stafford wall and saw the deflected follow up bounce up and just over.
After a quick team talk while Williams was receiving treatment for injury, Rangers created their first real opening with Mo Sebbeh-Njie’s shot going out for a corner off Michael Potts. And it was the Boro who took the lead on 27 minutes when Joe Kenton found space on the right and delivered a low centre which Sebbeh-Njie converted at the near post.
But the visitors failed to build on the lead and Williams was forced into a vital tackle to halt Linney before King pulled off a stunning save to deny Michael Donohue when his header looked a goal all the way. King punched away another header – a looping effort from Curtis Jones – before keeping out a 35th minute penalty from Ennis, controversially awarded against John Welsh for a trip on the latter.
But luck finally turned against Rangers and the home side levelled on 40 minutes when Fin Sinclair-Smith’s cross deflected up and the 6’ 4” Dan Cockerline got in before King to send a back header in to the net. The home side then produced a couple of chances to give themselves an interval lead, but it was all square at the turn around.
FC United still held the upper hand in the second half as Williams blocked Linney and Cockerline poked over from 6 yards as he stretched to meet Adam Dodd’s centre. Cockerline was in again from Aaron Morris’s ball through the defence but this time it was Joe Kenton who made the vital intervention before Michael Fowler hit the side netting.
The warning signs were clear, but Rangers didn’t see them, and Fowler was left unchallenged on 71 minutes to head FC United in front from Dodd’s left-wing cross. The home side were content with their lead while Rangers never threatened to get back on level terms and there were few chances to add to the score in the final 20 minutes.
FC United: 1 Dan Lavercombe, 2 Aaron Morris, 3 Adam Dodd, 4 Michael Donohue, 5 Chris Doyle, 6 Curtis Jones, 7 Fin Sinclair Smith (12 Morgan Homson-Smith 81m), 8 Michael Potts, 9 Dan Cockerline, 10 Paul Ennis (14 Michael Fowler 59m), 11 Regan Linney (15 Morgan Penfold 81m). Unused Subs: 16 Joseph White, 17 Kain Dean
Stafford Rangers: 1 Lewis King, 2 Michael Williams, 3 Cieron Keane, 4 John Welsh, 5 Sam Coulson, 6 Mo Sebbah-Njie, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Alex-Ray Harvey, 9 Jamie Sleigh (14 Fis Adarabioyo 66m), 10 Callum Coyle (12 Reece Jones 59m), 11 Joe Cuff. Unused Subs 15 Ben Forrest, 16 Matt Hill – only four subs named
FA Cup 3rd Round Qualifying | Tuesday 13 October 2020
Stafford Rangers’ pulled off an upset by defeating National League North side Hereford to book themselves a place in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. It was a thoroughly deserved victory for the side who have managed just one goal in four league games this term and find themselves in familiar territory at the lower end of the table but have now successfully cleared three testing hurdles in the cup, scoring six times in the process.
The early signs were that the visitors would progress as they had the better of the opening exchanges. Luke Haines was a key figure for Hereford, and he sent in the first serious shot on goal – a long range effort that Lewis King tipped over. The early pressure was turned into an early lead when Tom Owen-Evans thumped home the loose ball on 15 minutes after Samir Nabi’s initial effort had been blocked. Shortly after Hereford’s opener, Lewis King made a superb save to keep out a close-range header from Kennedy Digie. Rangers countered down the right through Joe Cuff, but Alex-Ray Harvey was denied by Hereford keeper Paul White diving full stretch to tip his shot away for a corner.
It was Cuff who fired home the equaliser on 28 minutes with a well struck drive that beat White inside his left-hand post. Soon after, Liam Langford had a great chance to put Rangers in front, but he hooked his shot over after White had failed to cut out Cieron Keane’s corner. The home side were now growing in confidence and Jamie Sleigh went wide at the near post following a good move on the left involving Langford and Keane. But there was still a threat at the other end and Digie saw his effort loop up onto the Stafford bar before the danger was cleared.
The first half ended with Rangers on top as Cuff played in Sleigh who managed to get round White but was unable to put any power behind his shot and Jamie Grimes cleared the lines for Hereford. The tie remained in the balance in the second half although the best opportunities fell to Hereford and Ryan Lloyd should have done better than plant his header straight at King before another long range effort from Haines went just over.
Rangers were still a threat themselves with Cuff and Sleigh giving the visiting defence plenty to think about. At the other end, Hereford hit the bar for a second time as Haines struck from near the right-hand touchline after a poor clearance from King. But the night belonged to Rangers as Cuff made it 2-1 on 82 minutes with a 25 yarder following a slip in the Hereford defence then Callum Coyle marked his return to action by making it 3-1 in added time, the substitute calmly checking back after going past White before slamming the ball into the net.
Stafford Rangers: 1 Lewis King, 2 Michael Williams, 3 Cieron Keane, 4 Sam Coulson, 5 Liam Langford, 6 John Welsh, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Alex-Ray Harvey, 9 Jamie Sleigh (17 Ben Forrest 90+3m), 10 Muhammed Sebbeh-Njie (15 Callum Coyle 62m), 11 Joe Cuff. Unused Subs: 12 Dan Burns, 14 Reece Jones, 16 Ryan Nesbitt, 18 Matt Hill
Hereford: 1 Paul White, 23 Dan Jones, 6 Jamie Grimes, 12 Kennedy Digie, 7 Chris Camwell (24 Dylan Jones 75m), 3 Luke Haines, 21 Samir Nabi (4 Ben Pollock 58m), 17 Ryan Lloyd, 16 James McQuilkin (9 Andrai Jones 67m), 10 Tom Evans, 11 Kyle Finn. Unused Subs: 20 Brandon Hall, 5 Jake Wright.
Stafford Rangers’ search for a first league win continues after they were beaten at home by Hyde United. Rangers were missing five players through injury while John Welsh was only a name among the substitutes after reporting unwell in the morning.
And the home side had a further set back when Dan Burns was sent off just past the half hour. It was the centre defender’s second red card in the fledgling season. Rangers had looked a fair bet to open the scoring prior to Burns’ dismissal. Joe Cuff had the first opening when he turned Kyle Brownhill but poked his shot wide of the left-hand post.
Cuff was in again a few minutes later when Rangers launched a counterattack from a Hyde free kick. Cieron Keane’s ball over the top of Andrew Hollins picked out the Stafford forward but Hyde keeper Joe Green saved before Brownhill kept out Cuff’s follow up and debutant Mubarak Adarabioyo saw his path blocked by Tom Morris.
Hyde’s key threat came through Paddy Lane and a couple of times he looked set to open up but couldn’t find a clear route on goal with Michael Williams making a superb challenge to halt one run. It was Lane who put Hyde ahead from the penalty spot on 35 mins after Burns had hauled down Tom Pratt. It was a goal of Rangers’ own making as Burns under hit a return pass to Alex-Ray Harvey. Kingsley James nipped in to send Pratt clear and there were no complaints at penalty award as Burns dragged him down.
Pratt looked set to make it 2-0 after Lane had got past Ben Forrest but Lewis King saved while the half finished with Mo Sebbeh-Njie shooting wide from the edge of the area. Keane was replaced by Reece Jones in a tactical half time substitution but it was Hyde who created the best chances in the early exchanges with Lane seeing a shot blocked on the line by Williams after an error from King while Morris headed wide from Lane’s free kick.
Rangers failed to draw a save from Green as they struggled to break Hyde down with Morris and Andrew Hollins solid in the heart of the visitors’ defence. Chinedu Uche made sure of the points for Hyde when he netted the second goal of the afternoon in added time following a deep centre from Brownhill.
Stafford Rangers: 1 Lewis King, 2 Ben Forrest, 3 Cieron Keane (12 Reece Jones 46m), 4 Sam Coulson, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Muhammad Sebbeh-Njie, 7 Michael Williams, 8 Alex-Ray Harvey, 9 Mubrak Adarabioyo, 10 Joe Cuff (14 Jamie Sleigh 67m), 11 Joe Kenton. Unused Subs: 15 Liam Langford, 16 Ryan Nesbitt, 17 John Welsh
Hyde United: 1 Joe Green, 2 Bradley Roscoe, 3 Kyle Brownhill, 4 Kingsley James, 5 Andrew Hollins, 6 Tom Morris, 7 Chinedu Uche, 8 Jack Sherratt, 9 Louis Myers (17 Jack Dyche 74m), 10 Tom Pratt, 11 Paddy Lane. Unused Subs 12 John McCombe, 14 Matthew Thomson, 15 Seydou Bamba, 16 Theo Bailey-Jones
Ref: Richard Eley Cautions: Coulson (Rangers); James, Uche, Myers, Pratt, Lane (Hyde)
Sent Off: Burns (Rangers) Goals: Hyde: Lane pen 35, Uche 90+1 Attendance: 578 Report by Chris Elsley