Stafford Rangers 2 – 0 Port Vale U21’s

Rangers put a fixture free afternoon to very good use with a hastily arranged friendly against a youthful Port Vale side, and the result proved it to be a good move. In a game that was largely dominated by the hosts, Rangers were first to show in just the second minute, when Andy Haworth supplied the impressive Jake Charles and he shot over from 15 yards. Just a few minutes later, Lewis Banks latched onto a good through ball and he was denied twice as Tom Gregory made a double save, while Charles followed up and was also blocked by Gregory. A minute later and Charles attacked down the left and his cross was met by Banks, whose header could not be held by Gregory and Rangers took the lead. This was to become the pattern of the game, as Banks then retuned the favour but Gregory denied Charles again. Even with the pressure being applied, it took Rangers thirteen minutes too win their first corner where James Askey headed over. Rangers teenage forward Max Dixon then went on a run from the half way line put his composure lacked when it mattered as he fired over after a fifty yard run. Gregory was in action again as a fine dive denied Charles his second with a turn and shot, but he was powerless on twenty nine minutes as Charles let fly from around twenty five yards and his shot hit the top corner for a two-nil lead. Lucas Green-Birch had Vale’s first effort on target but Harry Benns had their best effort of the first half as his shot from twenty yards pulled a fine full length save from Adam Siviter, to retain that lead. Rangers reasserted control, as Charles had a shot deflected over, before Matt Hill fired a rocket of a free kick just wide of the post from thirty yards. Port Vale then had their only sustained spell of possession before half time, as they moved the ball well, but did not threaten the home goal, seriously.
Half time saw six changes for Rangers, while Vale rang just the two. Even with these changes the hosts continued to call the shots and he spoke volumes that it took fifty four minutes for the young Vale side to force their first corner. Theo Bailey-Jones had Rangers’ first effort of the half, firing wide from twenty five yards, while Jack Sherratt broke through and was only denied by a fine tackle from Max Beeston and the resulting corner was cleared by Gregory from under his bar. Gregory was called upon again as Declan Arber forced a good stop with a header, before Sherratt, Lucas Burnett and Ben Mills all had efforts blocked in the same move. Tom Thorley and Mills then combined well for the lively young Arber to fire over, before Vale had a dangerous attack five minutes from time and Jack Wakefield had their best effort of the game as he wriggled his into the box and his low shot hit the left hand post. With every player from both squads being used, it was a worthy exercise both for Rangers, as they look to boost confidence and rise up the table, while the young Vale team will have learned a few lessons.
Rangers – Siviter, Askey, Hill (Bailey Jones 45), Jones(Thorley 45), Burns (Coulson 45). Sherratt, Banks, Williams (Burnett 68), Charles (Mills 45), Dixon (Arber 45), Haworth (Green 45)
Port Vale – Gregory, Knowles (Chambers 45), Daley (Hickson 45), Campbell (Hallchurch 45), Beeston, Davies, Wakefield, Green-Birch (Berks 45), Turner (Stevens 60), Benns (Johnson 60), Ede
Att 126 –
Referee Ben Stott
Report by Alan Gee

TEAM NEWS

Jack Sherratt has pledged his future to Stafford Rangers, despite 7 days notice of approach from Kidsgrove Athletic .

Rangers have this afternoon signed striker Ben Mills. Mills, who is now 29, is a former Stafford Rangers player having been with the club from 2009-2011, making 48 appearances and scoring 12 goals. Ben left the club to join Nantwich Town, before moves to Macclesfield Town, where he made his Football League 2 debut, Chester, Altrincham and Brackley Town. Injuries hampered Mills progress and he has played little football recently. Mills is keen to regain both fitness and form with the Boro.

STAFFORD RANGERS 2 PORT VALE UNDER 21’S 0

Rangers fielded a side which blended experience and youth in this afternoons friendly match.

Max Dixon featured from the start and fellow SRFC under 18’s Declan Arber and Lucas Burnett made second half appearances.

Rangers took the lead early in the first half with a headed goal by Lewis Banks. A great strike from outside the box by Jake Charles doubled the lead by half time.

There were no further goals and Rangers ran out 2-0 winners with a welcome clean sheet.

Grantham preview – Phil Bennett

As the Whitby game was brought forward, we now have a blank Saturday on the 12th, so must wait a further week to our next game, away at Grantham on January 19th.

I am sure the extended break will give Andy and Alex time to work with the squad and devise a plan to get something out of that game at The South Kesteven Stadium. Like many Rangers fans, we do not enjoy our trips to that ground as you are too far from the pitch due to it also being an athletics stadium with the 400 metres running track making your view even harder.

However, that was very different to my first ever away game at Grantham, who then played on London Road right in the town centre. It was season 1983/4, and we were back in the Northern Premier League after a short stay in the Alliance League. We had already beaten Grantham 4-0 at home and the return fixture was played on Sunday 29th January 1984. The Football Archives website has this game played the previous day but as I was there, and I know it was a Sunday and our statistician Chris Elsley agrees. The game was memorable because an official was injured during the game and replaced by a portly Grantham Director. He was so far behind play he did not flag Chris Arnott offside (as he was well offside) but allowed him to run on and score the only goal of the game. The following season home game was also remarkable as following on from a 1-1 away draw the return fixture was 30/03/1985 and we won 6-2, remarkable in that all our six goals were headers.

Our first meetings in the mid-eighties, were in the Northern Premier League, but we have also played league games with Grantham in the Southern League and Southern League Midland. Since 1983/4 season we have played 10 away games at Grantham winning 4 drawing 2 and losing 4, with a goal’s ratio of 13 for and 12 against. There is one other away game which does not feature, and that is the 25/01/2014 games which was abandoned when the score was 0-0. Historically the games statistics show the potential for a close game, so we need to ensure that we try to get something from a mid-table Grantham side who appear to win as many as they lose, so a draw could be a good outcome

 

Other fixtures played on January 19th this century

 

2002       Chelmsford        H             2-1          Southern League

2010       Telford                  H            2-0          Conference North

2016       Hednesford        A             1-4          Staffs Senior Cup

Matt Hill Signs for Stafford Rangers

We have signed experienced defender Matt Hill from Ashton United. He started his career with Bristol City where he made over 200 appearances. He also played for Preston, Wolves, Barnsley, Blackpool, Sheffield United, Tranme and Bradford Park Avenue. He can play at centre back or left back.

Stafford Rangers 1 – 1 Workington

Stafford Rangers 1 – 1 Workington

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Saturday 5 January 2019

Stafford Rangers dropped in to the bottom three in the table for the first time this season after being held to a 1-1 draw by fellow strugglers Workington. It was the first home game for the joint management team of Alex Meechan and Andy Fearn whose tenure had got off to a losing start at Mickleover Sports on New Year’s Day. There were two changes to the starting line up with keeper Adam Siviter replacing George Sykes-Kenworthy, who has returned to parent club Bradford City, while newcomer Matty Hill came in at left back with Izak Reid missing due to illness.

Rangers got off to a flyer, taking the lead in the 5th minute with a spectacular strike from Theo Bailey-Jones. Dan Burns’ goal bound header from Andy Haworth’s corner was punched away by Reds’ keeper Aaron Taylor but when Haworth delivered the ball back into the area, Bailey-Jones, with his back to goal, launched himself acrobatically to fire Rangers in front.

 

Workington soon got their game in to motion and looked dangerous in attack although it was Rangers who continued to create the better chances. Haworth probably should have done better when he fired wide then it needed a last-ditch tackle from Dan Wordsworth to deny Jake Charles. Soon after, Josh Green also went wide from just inside the area.

For Workington, both Sam Smith and Connor Tinnion saw their efforts go over, but their best chance of the opening 45 mins came via a poor back pass from Tom Thorley that put Tinnion clear of the Stafford defence. Siviter raced out of his area and Tinnion tried to lob him but Siviter was equal to it with a defensive header to clear the danger.

Luke Jones came close to increasing Rangers’ lead early in the second half, but Workington sub Kieran Maguire headed off the line. But the game changing moment came shortly before the hour mark. With Workington midfielder Scott Allison lying badly injured on the half way line, referee Andy Ellis called halt to play as Joe Cuff and Bradley Carroll battled for possession. As the whistle halted play, the two players clashed in what appeared little more than ‘handbags’ which prompted the assistant to call the referee’s attention and Cuff was sent off with no action against the Workington man who had already been cautioned.

It seemed a bizarre decision – even more so when video footage afterwards showed no reason why Cuff should receive any punishment whatsoever. Rangers now came under heavy pressure from the visitors and Siviter went low to his left to keep out a Tinnion free kick. The Workington no 11 was then teed up by Jason Walker but fired straight at the Rangers’ keeper.

Rangers still looked dangerous on the counter and Charles’ looked set to add to the tally only for Josh Calvert to deny him the shot. With just 10 minutes remaining on the clock, Workington finally broke through. Tinnion was again in the thick of the action as he crossed from the left. Gari Rowntree’s shot was deflected into the path of Wordsworth who nodded past Siviter from close range. Still Rangers did not give up but both Green and Lewis Banks missed chances to snatch a winner while Maguire went wide with Workington’s best opportunity.

Stafford: 1 Adam Siviter, 2 Sam Coulson, 3 Matt Hill, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Josh Green (15 Jack Sherratt 90m), 7 Theo Bailey-Jones, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles (17 Max Dixon 90+7m), 10 Andy Haworth (14 Lewis Banks 76m), 11 Joe Cuff. Unused Subs: 12 James Askey, 16 Peter Williams

Workington: 1 Aaron Taylor, 2 Sam Smith, 3 Gari Rowntree, 4 Daniel Wordsworth, 5 Josh Calvert, 6 Bradley Carroll (15 David Symington 90+3m), 7 Scott Allison (14 Bradley Hubbold 64m), 8 Niall Cowperthwaite, 9 Jason Walker, 10 Sean Paterson (12 Kieran Maguire 46m), 11 Conor Tinnion. Unused Subs 13 Lewis Casson

Cautions: Thorley & Green (Rangers); Carroll & Walker (Workington)

Sent Off: Cuff (Rangers)

Referee: Andy Ellis
Att: 526
Report by Chris Elsley

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