Atherton Collieries 1 Stafford Rangers 1

Atherton Collieries 1 Stafford Rangers 1

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 22 January 2022

Stafford Rangers extended their unbeaten away run to 8 league games with a hard fought point away to Atherton Collieries but on the balance of play they might be disappointed not to have taken all points.

Rangers were without several players with injuries ruling out Jon Moran, Luis Morrison, Theo Bailey-Jones and Jake Charles while Joe Cuff was only fit enough for a place on the bench. Also missing was James O’Neill who served the third of his four match suspension.

Kicking up the slope, Rangers started well and made the early running. A Tom Tonks corner produced a shot from Andy Burns which went across the face of the Atherton goal but it was Michael Tait who came closest to opening the scoring with a well placed header which was well saved by Colls’ keeper Daniel Taberner.

At the other end, the home side threatened through Ethan Kershaw who was on the end of a swift counter attack but Luke Pilling was equal to the task at the near post.

Atherton took the lead on 18 minutes through a penalty awarded against Andy Burns for a push on Declan Daniels as they challenged for a right wing cross.

Colls’ skipper Danny Lafferty gave Pilling no chance as he dispatched the spot kick in emphatic style.

Soon after, only a double save from Pilling prevented the home side from extending their lead – the Stafford keeper kept out Gary Peet with his legs then produced a super reflex save to keep out Daniels.

Rangers’ heads didn’t drop but chances for Ethan Stewart and Alex Fletcher went unconverted while Tom Tonks was just off target with a free kick.

The two sides competed hard for every ball but chances became fewer and it wasn’t until the stroke of half time the either goal came under serious threat as the Boro’s Kaiman Anderson struck the bar from 20 yards out.

Chances remained limited after the break but Rangers finally found a way through when they got back on level terms midway through the second half.

Joel Amado – booked earlier for persistent foul play – was fortunate to remain on the pitch when he blocked Kaiman Anderson just outside the area. Ben Woods’ free kick came back off the cross bar but Stewart sent back a header which looped over the floundering Taberner.

Neither side had a clear chance to secure the three points on a day when the opposite defences largely came out on top.

Rangers came closest to finding the winner in added time when Taberner dropped Anderson’s centre but the Colls’ keeper smothered the loose ball before Joe Kenton could react.

Atherton Collieries: 1 Danny Taberner, 2 Clive Smith, 3 Gaz Peet, 4 Joel Amado, 5 Danny Lafferty, 6 Luca Defreitas-Hansen, 7 Ethan Kershaw, 8 Scott Sephton, 9 Declan Daniels, 10 Jack Lenehan (12 Elliot Rokka 87m), 11 Rowan Roache (14 Matty Gillam 67m). Unused sub 15 Niall Battersby – only three subs named

Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Joe Dunne, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Kaiman Anderson, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Michael Tait-Moran. Unused Subs: 1 Tyrell Belford, 12 Tre Pemberton, 14 Louis Malandjou, 15 Thomas Carr, 16 Joe Cuff

Cautions: Amado, Lafferty, Defreitas-Hansen, Daniels (Atherton), Harvey (Rangers)

Referee: Darius Bradley

Att: 404

Report: Chris Elsley


Stafford Rangers 0 Hyde United 0

Stafford Rangers 0 Hyde United 0

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 15 January 2022

uke Pilling - Open House Man Of The MatchStafford Rangers and Hyde United drew a blank as their NPL clash ended goal-less.

The result saw Rangers’ unbeaten run extended to four games but, on the downside, they are now without a home win for eight games – a run that extends back to 18 September.

There was just one change to the starting line up from the side that drew at Morpeth with Joe Cuff replacing the injured Theo Bailey-Jones.

A crowd of 718 was in attendance but they witnessed an afternoon of struggle and frustration with few clear cut chances at either end. Boro’s Luke Pilling was the busier of the two keepers with three noteable saves while Hyde’s Joe Green faced just one shot on target.

There were a number of penalty area scrambles and shots blocked but the opposing defences came out on top.

Hyde created the first opportunity which saw Tom Pratts stab a shot over the bar from the edge of the area.

Rangers’ match plans received a set back when defender Jon Moran hobbled off with only five minutes on the clock but they had a ready made replacement on the bench in Luis Morrison.

Pilling was called in to action on 18 minutes when kept out a well struck drive from Liam Tongue after two Hyde players had let Jack Dyche’s cross run past them.

The last game at Marston Road had seen a stunning solo goal from Cuff and he nearly produced another as he cut in from the left but his finish failed to match his run and the ball went out for a goal kick.

Tom Tonks came close as he fired goalwards through a crowd of defenders but Green saw the ball all the way. A minute later, Joe Kenton fired over the intersection of bar and post.

Shortly before the interval, Pilling blocked an effort from Dyche after the midfielder was put through by Lewis Earl.

Pilling saved Rangers again when he blocked Earl’s back post header while Green survived an error as he dropped Tonks’ corner but Kaiman Anderson – on for Alex Fletcher – was unable to mark his debut with a goal as visiting defenders crowded him out.

Two more half chances – for Cuff and Kenton – went unconverted while Earl missed a late chance to snatch the points for Hyde when he fired over with the last chance of the afternoon.

Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Joe Dunne, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Jon Moran (17 Louis Morrison-Derbyshire 6m), 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles (12 Michael Tait-Moran 75m), 10 Alex Fletcher (14 Kaiman Anderson 63m), 11 Joe Cuff. Unused Subs: 15 Ben Woods, 17 Tre Pemberton

Hyde United: 1 Joe Green, 2 Harry Ditchfield, 3 Ciaran Summers, 4 Lewis Earl, 5 Jordan Fagbola, 6 Bradley Roscoe, 7 Jack Dyche, 8 Liam Tongue, 9 Jonah Mitchell (15 Krisel Prifti 57m), 10 Chinedu Uche (12 Edward Elewa – Ikpakwu 57m), 11 Tom Pratts. Unused Subs: 13 Riccardo Longato, 14 Fenton Green, 16 Harry Benns

Cautions: Stewart (Rangers) Earl, Elewa – Ikpakwu (Hyde)

Referee: Harry Warner

Att: 718

Report: Chris Elsley

Morpeth Town 2 Stafford Rangers 2

Morpeth Town 2 Stafford Rangers 2

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 8 January 2022

Stafford Rangers were forced to settle for a point after they conceded a late equaliser at Morpeth Town.

On an artificial pitch retaining plenty of surface water, the Boro went a goal down in the 6th minute. A long ball from Joseph Walton found Andrew Johnson who controlled well with his chest before slotting past Luke Pilling.

Jon Moran, making his first appearance for 10 weeks in place of the suspended Jimmy O’Neill, headed wide from a Tom Tonks corner but it was Morpeth who were the most threatening of the two sides with quick movement and passing.

Chris Reid had a shot blocked for the home side before Johnson fired over from 25 yards.

Rangers had another set back when Theo Bailey-Jones picked up a hamstring injury with Joe Cuff coming on as his replacement.

But Cuff took his chance and was a key feature in Rangers’ equaliser on 29 minutes.

Morpeth went within inches of making it 2-0 from a corner but Sam Hodgson failed to connect. Cuff launched the counter attack on the left and nipped past Walton before releasing Joe Kenton who slammed home the equaliser.

It needed timely intervention from Joe Dunne to deny Johnson another opportunity but the half ended with Rangers on the front foot with Tonks shooting wide from distance and seeing a corner flash across the face of the Morpeth goal.

The Boro maintained the pressure in the second half and took the lead on 55 minutes when Cuff played Tonks in and the Rangers’ midfielder chipped home keeper Dan Lowson to record his 8th goal of the season.

A defensive header from Walton almost caused his side to concede an embarrassing third with Lowson forced to head clear.

Morpeth midfield general Liam Noble missed a chance to level when he failed to test Pilling while Cuff went close for Stafford with an audacious shot from just inside the Morpeth half after he had pounced on a loose pass from the home side.

The home side stepped up the pressure on the Stafford goal. Johnson’s well struck volley flew over the bar and Reid headed wide. Ryan Donaldson put the ball in the net with 15 minutes remaining only to be flagged offside while sub Liam Henderson sent a shot over.

Ben Sayer wasted another great chance before Morpeth finally got themselves level with just three minutes remaining.

Pilling failed to hold on to Noble’s free kick and, from the resultant corner, Johnson forced the ball home at the near post to grab a share of the spoils.

Morpeth Town: 1 Dan Lowson, 2 Stephen Forster (12 Liam Henderson 58m), 3 Chris Reid, 4 Sam Hodgson (16 Ben Sayer 74m), 5 Jeff Henderson, 6 Michael Turner, 7 Jack Foalle, 8 Liam Noble, 9 Andrew Johnson, 10 Ryan Donaldson (15 Connor Oliver 86m), 11 Joseph Walton. Unused Subs: 14 Wayne Phillips, 17 Ben Ramsay

Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Joe Dunne, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Jon Moran, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Tom Tonks (17 Louis Morrison-Derbyshire 90+2m), 9 Jake Charles, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Theo Bailey-Jones (16 Joe Cuff 22m). Unused Subs: 12 Michael Tait-Moran, 14 Kaiman Anderson, 15 Ben Woods

Cautions: Forster, Reid, Foalle, Noble (Morpeth)

Referee: Zac Kennard-Kettle

Att: 442

Report: Chris Elsley

Buxton 2 Stafford Rangers 3

Buxton 2 Stafford Rangers 3

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 1 January 2022

Stafford Rangers began the new year in fine style, coming from behind to deny title challengers Buxton.

A draw would have sent the Derbyshire side to the top of the table but Rangers’ refusal to give up saw them score two late goals and take all three points.

Joe Cuff was the only absentee from the side held by Nantwich in the Bank Holiday Monday fixture with Theo Bailey-Jones taking over the number 11 shirt.

The home side created the first opportunity of the game as Warren Clarke headed over from close range but it was Rangers who broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when James O’Neill headed Tom Tonks’ corner into the roof of the net.

Buxton were soon back on level terms. Rangers missed a chance to clear their lines and there was some question whether Ash Chambers was offside when he ran to Tommy Elliott’s through ball but the influential midfielder calmly slotted past Tyrell Belford in the 26th minute.

With the wind in their backs, Buxton were in command but Josh Granite and Jason Gilchrist both missed out as their route to goal was blocked by resilient Stafford defending while Ben Middleton headed over.

Another Granite header was also off target before Belford kept out Clarke with his legs after the Buxton man looked set to score.

Rangers would have been happy to go in at the break with the scores level but they were undone within two minutes of the restart. Tom Dear played a defence splitting ball through to Elliott and, although his centre eluded Gilchrist, Clarke did well to keep the ball in play and set up Chambers with a simple header to put Buxton in front.

Soon after, Belford had to go full stretch to his left to turn away a shot from Clarke while Granite’s 20 yarder landed on the roof of the net.

Midway through the half, the Stafford defence was opened up again and Gilchrist put the ball in the net only to see the offside flag raised.

Chambers went within a whisker of completing his hat trick but Buxton’s failure in front of goal was to prove costly as Stafford staged their late comeback.

With a little over five minutes left on the clock, a short corner from Tonks was floated to the back post by Michael Tait and Ethan Stewart headed home.

Three minutes later, Jake Charles chased a long clearance from Belford and lobbed Theo Richardson to send the travelling fans home happy.

Buxton: 1 Theo Richardson, 2 Ben Middleton, 3 Nathan Fox, 4 Lindon Meikle, 5 Josh Granite, 6 Chris Dawson, 7 Dom Tear, 8 Ash Chambers, 9 Jason Gilchrist, 10 Tommy Elliott, 11 Warren Clarke. Unused Subs: 12 Ben Milnes, 15 Akeem Hinds, 16 Jack Dillingham, 17 Ewan Carr – only four subs named

Stafford Rangers: 1 Tyrell Belford, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Joe Dunne, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Theo Bailey-Jones (12 Michael Tait-Moran 62m). Unused Subs: 14 Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls, 15 Tre Pemberton, 16 Ben Woods, 17 Jon Moran

Cautions: Dawson (Buxton), Charles, Dunne (Rangers)

Referee: Oliver Nolan

Att: 890

Report: Chris Elsley



Matlock Town 2 Stafford Rangers 3

Matlock Town 2 Stafford Rangers 3

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 4 December 2021

Ten man Stafford Rangers dug deep to pick up all three points from their trip to high flying Matlock Town.

Despite the appalling conditions the two sides served up an incident packed thriller that contained a penalty and two red cards.

Rangers’ pre-match plans were hampered when captain Alex-Ray Harvey picked up a back injury in the warm up. Louis Malandrou stepped up from the bench and did an excellent job – until a moment of madness saw him sent off later in the game.

Facing a strong wind and driving rain, Rangers found themselves a goal down before their shirts had got wet. Luke Pilling clawed away Alex Byrne’s corner but only as far as Liam King who fired home a first time shot.

Liam Hughes headed over from another Byrne corner but it was Rangers who struck next when Jake Charles levelled the scores on 19 minutes with a 22 yard strike after he had held off Ioan Evans.

Alex Fletcher went close to putting Rangers in front but the better chances were falling Matlock’s way as Jesurun Uchegbulam fired across the face of goal before Pilling parried a shot from Byrne out for a corner.

It was Byrne who restored Matlock’s lead on 31 minutes when a cross / shot from the right floated in at the far post.

A similar ‘effort’ from Tom Tonks a minute later was inches away from levelling matters once more.

With the wind behind them after the interval, Rangers were a more dominant force. Theo Bailey-Jones miskicked inside the area when well placed then Ryan Qualter headed a Tonks corner off the line.

Tonks was in the right place at the near post when he forced home the equaliser on 56 minutes, getting on the end of Andy Burns’ centre from the right.

Matlock introduced striker Ross Hannah to the proceedings as the home side looked to get back in front and Hughes was denied by an excellent tackle from James O’Neill when well placed.

The game turned Rangers’ way when they were awarded a penalty after Evans hauled Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls to the ground. But before the spot kick could be taken, Malandjou raised his hands to Byrne and was sent off. Charles kept his focus and fired home the penalty to put Rangers in front with 14 minutes remaining.

A man down, it was backs to the wall as Matlock threw everything forward in search of the point that would have taken them to the top of the table.

Hannah glanced home a header on 85 minutes but his celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.

Reece Kendall fired wide and O’Neill cleared off the line before lady luck showed she was on Rangers’ side when Hughes’ shot struck the post and ricocheted on to Pilling and over the bar while O’Neill made another block to deny Alex Wiles.

Rangers held on to record back to back league wins for the first time since beating Matlock at the end of the 2018/19 season.

Shortly after the final whistle, Matlock skipper Hughes was shown the red card for comments made to the referee.

Matlock Town: 1 Paul Cooper, 2 Jamie Sharman (15 Ross Hannah 60m), 3 Reece Kendall, 4 Ioan Evans, 5 Ryan Qualter, 6 Mark Lees (17 Luke Hall 77m), 7 Alex Byrne, 8 Alex Wiles, 9 Liam Hughes, 10 Jesurun Uchegbulam, 11 Liam King (12 Callum Chippendale 72m). Unused Subs: 14 Matt Sargeant, 16 Craig King

Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Louis Malandjou, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Theo Bailey-Jones (14 Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls 67m (16 Michael Lennon 86m)). Unused Subs: 12 Michael Tait-Moran, 15 Jon Moran, 17 Jude Hill

Cautions: Kendall, Evans, Dave Wild (Asst Manager) (Matlock), Pilling (Rangers)

Sent Off: Hughes – after final whistle (Matlock), Malandjou (Rangers)

Referee: Matthew Tyres

Att: 496

Report: Chris Elsley

Stafford Town 0 Stafford Rangers 1

Stafford Town 0 Stafford Rangers 1

Staffordshire Senior Cup Round 2
Tuesday 30 November 2021

Stafford Rangers had to overcome a determined effort from local rivals Stafford Town to make progress in the Staffs Senior Cup.

Despite the three league gap, there was little to choose between the two sides as Town looked to cause a cup upset in front of an excellent crowd of 507 at Evans Park.

Having had their game against South Shields postponed at the weekend, Rangers fielded a strong side for what was just the second competitive fixture between the two clubs and they went close inside 5 minutes when recent signing Michael Tait-Moran was just off target.

Town responded immediately as Declan Arber sent the ball across the face of the Rangers’ goal then, with the pressure still on, Arber could only head Leon Ashman’s cross straight at Luke Pilling.

It was end to end and Town’s keeper Henry Smith did well to hold on to a close range effort from Tait-Moran before also keeping out Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls after a good move from the Boro.

Chances came and went for both sides with Pilling making a save from Arber and Tait-Moran heading wide.

Bailey-Nicholls spurned a couple of good chances to open the scoring as Smith kept out one effort before the Rangers’ newcomer shot wide with just the keeper to beat.

Town’s best effort came a couple of minutes before the break when Josh Wilson forced Pilling to push away a shot that was heading for the top corner.

Bailey-Nicholls missed out again in the second half when his drive from the edge of the area thumped against Smith’s right hand post but, a minute later, it was the Boro’s turn to breathe a sigh of relief as Arber just failed to connect with Ashman’s centre.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 67th minute. Rangers caught the home defence napping as Joe Cuff was given time and space to fire in a shot under Smith.

Cuff went close to doubling the lead five minutes later with a rising volley over the bar.

But Town refused to give in and Chris Anderson should have done better when he got on the end of Kaz Danilian’s cross but side footed wide at the back post.

Pilling turned a dangerous cross from Nathan Scott over the bar then only a superb intervention from Andy Burns denied Arber as the former Rangers man looked set to level the scores.

Arber sent another opportunity for Town high over and with it went the home side’s hopes.

Rangers could have added a couple more goals in the dying stages as Jake Charles and Theo Bailey-Jones were both denied by Smith at the end of an entertaining night for local football fans.

Stafford Town: 1 Henry Smith, 2 Matt Dudley, 3 Harry Bowers, Charlie Swingwood, 5 Chris Anderson, 6 Ben Wood (15 Nathan Scott 57m), 7 Ryan Taylor (12 Kaz Danilian 57m), 8 Declan Arber, 9 Josh Oultram, 10 Josh Wilson (14 Morgan Payne 76m), 11 Kyle Ashman. Unused Subs: 16 Sam Amadu, 17 Ben Vangoucci

Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Michael Lennon, 4 Louis Malandjou, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Joe Cuff (17 Jaden Henry-Dean 89m), 8 Theo Bailey-Jones, 9 Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls, 10 Alex Fletcher (14 Tom Tonks 85m), 11 Michael Tait-Moran (16 Jake Charles 65m). Unused Subs: 12 Joe Kenton, 15 Alex-Ray Harvey

Cautions: None

Referee: Steve Martin

Att: 507

Report: Chris Elsley