Stafford Rangers 2 Stoke City 0

Stafford Rangers 2 Stoke City 0

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Tuesday 29 March 2022

Marston Road’s biggest Staffs Senior Cup crowd for more than 30 years saw Stafford Rangers progress to the final of the competition at the expense of a youthful Stoke City side.

Rangers made a number of changes to the side beaten at South Shields with Matt Hill taking the opportunity to give squad members some valuable game time while also taking in to consideration those that needed to play to ensure availability for the final were they to win. Ben Forrest, injured in pre-season, made his first appearance of the campaign as a last minute substitute.

There was never any danger of Rangers not booking their place in the final. Experience proved a telling factor as Rangers asked all of the early questions without getting a clear look at goal.

Blondy Nna Noukeu provided the crowd with some entertainment as he dropped a number of high crosses and comically fell over one of his own team mates after another flap.

The Stoke keeper did show a touch of class on 36 minutes when he clawed away Josh Endall’s header which was heading for the top corner but it was business as usual from the resultant corner. The ball was played back to Joe Dunne who sent in a deep cross that eluded Nna Noukeu and the Stoke defenders and landed in the back of the net.

Having fallen behind, Stoke enjoyed their best spell of the half but failed to threaten the Stafford goal and the home side took their lead into the interval.

Stoke continued to press after the break with Jack Griffiths firing over from just outside the area and Patrick Jarrett shooting tamely at Ty Belford. Soon after, Ibrahim Sy struck the Stafford cross bar – Thomas Sparrow followed up but blazed high over.

But Rangers responded in the best possible fashion when Tom Tonks extended the lead on 59 minutes with a moment of genius when he lobbed Nna Noukeu from the right hand touchline – some 50 yards out.

The biggest concerns Rangers had on the night were injuries picked up by Theo Bailey-Jones and Jake Charles although neither were expected to be anything more than precautionary withdrawals from the game.

Rangers will now face fellow Stafford Borough outfit Stone Old Alleynians in the final tie at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium on 4 May.

The gate of 608 is the largest to watch a Staffs Senior Cup tie at Stafford since they beat Tamworth 2-0 in January 1989.

Stafford Rangers: 1 Ty Belford, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Joe Dunne, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 5 Luis Morrison-Derbyshire, 6 Josh Endall, 7 Joe Kenton (17 Ben Forrest 90+5m), 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles (12 Kaiman Anderson 73m), 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Theo Bailey-Jones (14 Tre Pemberton 66m). Unused Subs: 15 James O’Neill, 16 Ethan Stewart

Stoke City: 1 Blondy Nna Noukeu, 2 Thomas Sparrow, 3 Tom Curl, 4 Adam Porter, 5 David Okagbue, 6 Matthew Baker, 7 Jack Griffiths, 8 Ibrahim Sy, 9 Max McCarthy (16 Nathan Lowe 76m), 10 Ted Cargill (15 Joshua Ireland 65m), 11 Patrick Jarrett. Unused Subs 12 Joshua Bickerton, 13 Robbie Hemfry, 14 Sam Knowles

Cautions: Curl, Okagbue, Ireland (Stoke)

Referee: Michael D’Aguilar

Att: 608

Report: Chris Elsley

Witton Albion 0 Stafford Rangers 1

Witton Albion 0 Stafford Rangers 1

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Tuesday 22 March 2022

Stafford Rangers bounced back from the disappointment of seeing their unbeaten record ended by Lancaster with a victory at Witton Albion that keeps up their hopes of gaining an end of season play off place and creates a new club record of 13 away games unbeaten.

It was a scrappy game settled by a scrappy goal – scored by substitute Jake Charles just four minutes after he had been introduced to the action.

Charles had been one of two changes from the side that was beaten by Lancaster with Joe Cuff also left out – in came Kaiman Anderson and Michael Tait-Moran.

It was Anderson who had the best chance of the opening quarter – it was a half chance at best – when he was on the end of a near post cross from Tre Pemberton but Witton’s Will Jones did enough to force a corner.

A long range free kick from Alex Fletcher forced Witton keeper Dermot Mee to tip over but it wasn’t until the game had passed the half hour mark before either side produced a meaningful effort on goal as Joe Mwasile forced a safe from Mateusz Hewelt.

In the closing stages of the first half, Josh Endall twice went close for Rangers following long throws from Tom Tonks but it was a largely forgettable 45 minutes.

Early in the second half, Pemberton produced the best individual moment of the game with a run from the half way line but, having done the hard work, he sent his shot high over the bar.

Struggling Witton spurned a couple of chances of their own as Hewelt saved from James Foley while Callum Saunders fired across the face of goal before Ben Woods had to be on hand to deny Saunders a clear run on goal.

Another run from Pemberton had a similar end product to his first but the introduction of Charles proved to be the turning point as he fired in the only goal of the night on 78 minutes..

Witton keeper Mee should have done better with his efforts to take a high cross from Andy Burns and Charles was first to the loose ball. Mee did just enough to keep Charles out but the ball ran out to Tonks. His scuffed shot struck Mfuni who was lying hurt in the goal mouth and Charles snapped up his chance to hook the ball home.

The goal scorer missed a couple of chances to add to his tally but the best opportunity for a further goal fell to the unmarked Mfundi in the final 5 minutes but he sent his back header over the bar.

Witton Albion: 1 Dermot Mee, 2 Ben Pleavin, 3 Danny McKenna (14 Isaac Baldwin 86m), 4 Josh Wardle, 5 Teddy Mfuni, 6 James Lawrie, 7 Joe Mwasile (12 Jawad Jebrin 82m), 8 Nathan Okome, 9 Callum Saunders, 10 Will Jones, 11 James Foley. Unused Subs 15 Harry Bower, 16 Josh Paterson, 17 Raajan Gill

Stafford Rangers: 1 Mateusz Hewelt, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods (15 Joe Dunne 62m), 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Josh Endall, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Tre Pemberton (14 Joe Kenton 82m), 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Kaiman Anderson, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Michael Tait-Moran (12 Jake Charles 74m). Unused Subs: 16 Jed Abbey, 17 Theo Bailey-Jones

Cautions: Wardle (Witton) O’Neill, Tonks (Stafford)

Referee: Richard Abson

Att: 291

Report: Chris Elsley

Stafford Rangers 1 Lancaster City 2

Stafford Rangers 1 Lancaster City 2

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 19 March 2022

Joe Cuff - Open House Man Of The MatchStafford Rangers’ 14 match unbeaten run came to an end in disappointing fashion last Saturday as their home form continued to desert them.

A disjointed and scrappy game saw the visitors triumph by virtue of greater desire to win the first and second ball, yet Rangers could count themselves unlucky with both Jake Charles and Joe Cuff hitting the goal frame.

Rangers were missing Ethan Stewart who was ruled out with a back problem. Josh Endall took his place at the centre of defence.

Endall was in the thick of the action as his side made the perfect start. There were just four minutes on the clock when Endall headed back a deep corner from Tom Tonks and James O’Neill was left with a simple task from a couple of yards out.

Moments earlier, O’Neill had been in his more accustomed role in the Rangers’ defence clearing away the danger after Liam Brockbank had been on the end of a long throw from Sam Bailey.

Lancaster didn’t let the early set back affect them and pressed for an equaliser. Bailey badly miscued after being set up by Andrew Teague but Jack Byrne made no mistake when he levelled on 18 minutes, heading in Brockbank’s corner.

After a weak shot from Bailey had rolled through to Mateusz Hewelt, Lancaster went 2-1 up on 24 minutes. The defence stood static – appearing to wait for the whistle for a clear arm to the head of Tre Pemberton – but the whistle never came, Brockbank centred and Enoch Likoy moved in unchallenged to head past the Stafford keeper.

The was little else to shout about in the remaining 20 minutes of the half as the two defences cleared up anything thrown at them.

An excellent ball from Pemberton, 10 minutes after the interval, put Joe Cuff in but the wide man fired over. Almost immediately after, Lancaster keeper Curtis Anderson had to back pedal to tip over a deep centre from Andy Burns.

Tonks went down in the area on the hour mark only to be cautioned for simulation then a first time chip from Cuff skimmed the outside of the far post.

Rangers continued to create the better chances as a shot from Alex Fletcher deflected off Lancaster’s Joe Blanchard and landed on the roof of the net while Jake Charles hit the bar from distance. Two Rangers players moved in for the rebound but saw the ball bounce back over their heads and Lancaster cleared.

The visitors rarely threatened to add to their tally but they were denied a penalty by referee Jake Allsopp when Joe Rodwell-Grant went to ground after a tangle with Ben Woods.

Stafford Rangers: 1 Mateusz Hewelt, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey (17 Kaiman Anderson 74m), 5 Josh Endall, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Tre Pemberton (14 Joe Kenton 78m), 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Joe Cuff (12 Michael Tait-Moran 80m). Unused Subs: 15 Joe Dunne, 16 Jed Abbey

Lancaster City: 1 Curtis Anderson, 2 Sam Bailey,3 Liam Brockbank, 4 Jack Byrne, 5 Andrew Teague (12 Ben Anderson 46m), 6 Joe Blanchard (14 Robert Wilson 86m), 7 Christian Sloan, 8 Simon Wills, 9 Enock Likoy (17 Joe Rodwell-Grant 62m), 10 Charlie Bailey, 11 Nathan Reid. Unused Subs 15 Joel Davidson, 16 Joel Darley

Cautions: Tonks, Charles, Cuff (Stafford), Teague, Wills, Reid, Anderson, Rodwell-Grant (Lancaster)

Referee: Jake Allsopp

Att: 613

Report: Chris Elsley



Scarborough Athletic 1 Stafford Rangers 1

Scarborough Athletic 1 Stafford Rangers 1

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 12 March 2022

Another last gasp goal cost Stafford Rangers two points from their visit to Scarborough Athletic.

It was almost a carbon copy finish to the ending of Stafford’s last outing when Mickleover benefited from a questionable free kick in added time.

On Saturday, Tom Tonks was harshly penalised for a block tackle on Luca Colville. From the free kick, Scarborough won a corner which was bundled in at the back post by Kieran Weledji to spark celebrations among the home fans.

Rangers recalled Jake Charles in place of Kaiman Anderson while Ben Woods came in for Joe Dunne who was ruled out with Covid.

Charles, making his first start for eight weeks after injury, looked back to his best and rewarded Matt Hill on 12 minutes, firing past Ryan Whitley following a sharp turn on the edge of the box after Scarborough had failed to clear Alex Fletcher’s free kick.

Jacob Day had the ball in the Stafford net shortly after but was flagged offside as he connected with Bailey Gooda’s header.

Tonks’ long throws have caused opposition defences trouble throughout the season but the Rangers’ defence had to deal with the Scarborough equivalent from Ashley Jackson who hit the post with one throw before Andy Burns cleared the danger.

Scarborough’s first shot on target came via a free kick on 39 minutes but Mateusz Hewelt made a comfortable save from Ryan Watson.

In the closing stages of the half, James O’Neill missed a golden opportunity to extend Stafford’s lead when he was unable to convert from close range following another Fletcher free kick while, at the other end, Burns headed away a goal bound shot from Gooda.

Scarborough were reduced to 10 men 9 minutes into the second half when Simon Heslop picked up his second yellow card. The dismissal triggered a tactical change from the home side with Weledji replacing Cameron Wilson and Watson moving to a more attacking role.

Brad Plant badly miscued a shot from the edge of the area, Colville blazed high over and Hewelt pulled off a great save to keep out Weledji’s header as Stafford looked set to see out the game but Weledji’s late equaliser spoiled the party.

Despite the disappointment, Rangers have now extended their unbeaten run to 14 league and cup games and have equalled their post war record of 12 games unbeaten away from home in the league.

Scarborough Athletic: 1 Ryan Whitley, 2 Ryan Watson, 3 Ashley Jackson, 4 Simon Heslop, 5 Will Thornton, 6 Bailey Gooda, 7 Brad Plant (14 James Cadman 74m), 8 Luca Colville, 9 Jake Day, 10 Kieran Glynn, 11 Cameron Wilson (12 Kieran Weledji 57m). Unused Subs 13 Mathew Bancroft, 15 Dylan Cogill, 16 Michael Coulson

Stafford Rangers: 1 Mateusz Hewelt, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Tre Pemberton (14 Joe Kenton 76m), 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles ( 17 Kaiman Anderson 83m), 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Joe Cuff. Unused Subs: 12 Michael Tait-Moran, 15 Josh Endall, 16 Jed Abbey

Cautions: Hewelt, Woods, Kenton (Stafford)

Sent Off: Heslop (Scarborough) – 2 cautions

Referee: Jack Hall

Att: 1,247

Report: Chris Elsley


Stafford Rangers 1 Mickleover 1

Stafford Rangers 1 Mickleover 1

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Tuesday 08 March 2022

Joe Cuff - Open House Man Of The MatchA 90th minute equaliser cost Stafford Rangers two points in their quest to reach the end of season play offs.

Joe Cuff’s fourth goal in four consecutive games had looked set to put Rangers within touching distance of the top five but William Radcliffe headed home a free kick to give Mickleover a share of the spoils.

Rangers, who were unchanged for the third game in a row, started brightly without testing Jonathan Hedge in the visitors’ goal. Cuff skied a half chance over the top and Tom Tonks sent a dipping volley onto the roof of the net but the first 45 minutes contained little to excite the disappointing crowd of 380.

After keeping Stafford out during the opening exchanges, Mickleover settled down and enjoyed more possession but also failed to trouble the goalkeeper – thanks in part to some timely tackles from the back line.

Mickleover were first to show in the second half with Andy Dales having a shot blocked and George Milner shooting over.

At the other end, Rangers’ top scorer Tonks missed a chance to add to his tally when he sliced his shot away from goal.

It was Cuff who produced the first moment of quality of the evening on 57 minutes when he was sent away by Al-Ray Harvey and advanced to fire Rangers in front.

Cuff wasn’t far off doubling the lead with an audacious cross-shot that flew across the face of goal but Rangers found themselves pushed back in the final 15 minutes as Mickleover looked for an equaliser.

An excellent save from Mateusz Hewelt to keep out Stuart Beavon looked to have earned his side all three points but a soft free kick conceded in the final minute gave Radcliffe his chance.

Stafford Rangers: 13 Mateusz Hewelt, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Joe Dunne , 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Tre Pemberton (16 Jediael Abbey 90+1m), 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Kaiman Anderson (17 Jake Charles 76m), 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Joe Cuff (14 Joe Kenton 75m). Unused Subs: 12 Michael Tait-Moran, 15 Josh Endall,

Mickleover: 1 Jonathan Hedge, 2 Elliott Walker, 3 Rhys Dolan, 4 Liam Ravenhill (15 Germaine Agustien 30m), 5 James Butler, 6 William Radcliffe, 7 George Milner, 8 Mason Warren, 9 Shaquille McDonald (16 Javaun Davidson 67m), 10 Stuart Beavon, 11 Andy Dales (17 Andrew Wright 67m). Unused Subs 12 George Atwal, 14 Ethan Mann

Cautions: Stewart (Stafford)

Referee: Harry Warner

Att: 380

Report: Chris Elsley




Stafford Rangers 1 South Shields 1

Stafford Rangers 1 South Shields 1

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 05 March 2022

Joe Cuff - Open House Man Of The MatchStafford Rangers extended their unbeaten run to 12 games with a battling draw against table topping South Shields.

Conditions didn’t favour a display of passing skills with the wind causing problems to both sides.

Rangers, who named an unchanged side, had the wind in their backs for the first half but it proved more of a hindrance than a help with long balls forward from the Shields’ back line holding up nicely for the front pair of JJ Hooper and Darius Osei but they were well shepherded by James O’Neill ancestral defensive partner Ethan Stewart.

On an afternoon where clear chances were at a premium, Hooper should have done better for the visitors midway through the first half when Osei set him up with a neat header but he put his shot high and wide of the target.

Earlier, Alex Kempster was also off target with a back post header following Jordan Hunter’s cross.

Instead, it was Rangers who struck with their first real opportunity, seven minutes before half time. It was that man Joe Cuff on the mark once again, lashing the ball home in front of a delighted Shed End after Shields had failed to clear Tom Tonks’ throw. It was Cuff’s third goal in three matches.

Tre Pemberton had a look in early in the second half when he was on the end of Kaiman Anderson’s cross but Pemberton, who this week turned down an opportunity to join Macclesfield – could only find the arms of Shields’ keeper Myles Boney.

Shields drew level on 54 minutes with a quality strike from Nathan Lowe who beat Mateusz Hewelt from around 25 yards with a free kick, won after Alex Fletcher’s cross field ball had been cut out by Conor Tee.

Hooper missed a good chance soon after then Dillon Morse headed over from virtually underneath the crossbar as Shields threatened to go in front.

Rangers created a couple of half chances themselves as a solo run from Cuff wasn’t matched by his finish while Tonks’ shot deflected off Blair Adams and straight to Boney.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages when Mitchell Rose – booked early in the second half – failed to listen to repeated warnings from referee Ben Robinson and was dismissed for hauling down Joe Kenton. Sadly, for Rangers, there was very little time for them to take advantage but they were satisfied with the point gained that lifts them up to 8th in the table.

Stafford Rangers: 13 Mateusz Hewelt, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Joe Dunne , 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Tre Pemberton, 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Kaiman Anderson (17 Jake Charles 90m), 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Joe Cuff (14 Joe Kenton 78m). Unused Subs: 12 Michael Tait-Moran, 15 Ben Woods, Jediael Abbey

South Shields: 1 Myles Boney, 2 Jordan Hunter ( 15 Conor Tee 46m), 3 Blair Adams, 4 Mitchell Rose, 5 Dillon Morse, 6 Jack Bodenham, 7 Nathan Lowe, 8 Robert Briggs (14 Will McGowan 78m), 9 JJ Hooper (12 William Jenkins 90m), 10 Darius Osei, 11 Alex Kempster. Unused Subs: 16 Blair Rossiter, 17 Sam Hodgson

Cautions: Bodenham (South Shields)
Sent Off: Rose – 2 cautions (South Shields)

Referee: Ben Robinson

Att: 862

Report: Chris Elsley