Date Time Competition Season Day Att
12/12/2023 7:45 pm NPL Premier Division 2023/2024 Tue 215


Stafford Rangers followed up two heavy defeats with an encouraging performance against high flying Ashton United but ultimately ended up losing a game that they had in their grasp.

Dave Cooke gave a debut to son Sean following his arrival from Nantwich while striker Lewis Porter – who has joined from Kidsgrove – was named as one of the substitutes. Missing through illness were Ethan Morgan and Nathan Blissett.

Rangers started brightly with Sam Bird forcing a save from Luke Simpson. The home keeper also saved from A-Jay Leitch-Smith although the offside flag was already up.

Cooke fired wide after some good approach play but Ashton began to establish a stronger foothold on the game and should have e gone ahead when Joe Willis lost the ball to Jason Hardy.

The Ashton man fed Jason Gilchrist but he went for goal instead of passing to Jake Charles and his shot went wide of the far post.

But it was Rangers who took the lead on 28 minutes when Simon Njaria drilled home from the edge of the area after Ethan Stewart had headed the ball into his path.

Ashton had penalty appeals waved away when Jake Moult appeared to pull Sam Baird to the ground then Cam Belford saved well from Gilchrist at the foot of his right hand post.

Belford saved again in a 1 v 1 with Gilchrist before Nathan Lowe’s follow up was turned over.

Tempers flared just before half time following a challenge on Charles from Andy Burns. Ashton skipper Lowe reacted by grabbing Burns around the neck but went unpunished while both Burns (for the challenge) and Njaria saw yellow for their part in the incident.

Moments before half time, Belford made a stunning save to keep out a header from Gilchrist.

Ashton started well after the break with Hardy shooting over but Rangers also went close through Leitch-Smith before Kaiman Anderson fired over.

But it was Ashton who levelled the scores on 64 minutes with a smart finish from Lowe following a pull back by Charles.

The former Stafford man was also involved in what proved to be the winner on 75 minutes.

Stafford sub Ben Woods lost possession and Charles cut across the edge of the area. Although Belford kept out his shot, Hardy was first to the rebound.

Both sides had further opportunities to add to the scoring.

Simpson kept out Cooke while Leitch-Smith was denied by a goal line block.

At the other end, a combination of Burns and Stewart prevented Marcus Cusani from getting his name on the scoresheet then Belford and Charles were involved in a goal line scramble.

Rangers will take heart from the performance but points are needed if they are to drag themselves out of the relegation fight.


Ashton United: 1 Luke Simpson, 2 Sam Baird, 3 Sean Newton, 4 Bernardo Couto, Luke Burke, 6 Nathan Lowe, 7 Marcus Cusani (14 Chris Dawson 87m), 8 Mitchell Rose, 9 Jason Gilchrist (12 George Milner 65m), 10 Jason Hardy, 11 Jake Charles. Unused Subs 15 Bradley Abbott, 16 Ewan Catt, 17 James Caton

Stafford: 1 Cam Belford, 2 Andy Burns, 3 Ian Kamga (15 Ben Woods 56m), 4 Simon Njaria, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Jake Moult, 7 Sam Bird, 8 Joe Willis (14 Lewis Porter 85m), 9 A-Jay Leitch-Smith, 10 Sean Cooke, 11 Kaiman Anderson. Unused Subs: 12 Niah Payne, 13 Ethan Endacott, 16 Derek Ubah

Referee: Jonathan Chadwick

Cautions: Lowe, Charles (Ashton), Burns, Njaria, Cooke (Rangers)

Att: 215

Report by Chris Elsley




Hurst Cross
Surrey Street, Hurst Cross, Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside, Greater Manchester, North West England, England, OL6 8DY, United Kingdom

Ashton United

1Luke Simpson
2Sam Baird
3Sean Newton
4Benny Couto
5Luke Burke
6Nathan Lowe 64'
7Marcus Cusani 14
8Mitch Rose
9Jason Gilchrist 12
10James Hardy 75'
11Jake Charles 83'
12George Milner 9
14Chris Dawson 7
15Brad Abbott
16Ewan Catt
17James Caton

Stafford Rangers

1Cameron Belford
2Andrew Burns 42'
3Ian Kamga 15
4Simon Njaria 28'
5Ethan Stewart
6Jake Moult
7Sam Bird
8Joe Willis 14
9A-Jay Leitch-Smith
10Sean Cooke 62'
11Kaiman Anderson
12Niah Payne
13Ethan Endacott
14Lewis Porter 8
15Ben Woods 3
16Derek Ubah
Total Shots
Shots on Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards

KO Stafford Rangers KO 28 42 43 54 56 62 64 65 75 83 85 87 FT

Past Meetings

Stafford RangersAshton United
Ashton UnitedStafford Rangers
Stafford RangersAshton United
Ashton UnitedStafford Rangers