Date Time Competition Season Day Att
01/04/2024 3:00 pm NPL Premier Division 2023/2024 Mon 612


Stafford Rangers’ hopes of avoiding relegation took a blow with defeat at Gainsborough Trinity on Monday afternoon.

Manager Dave Cooke made two changes to the side that beat Workington 48 hours earlier. Connor Heath returned to the starting line up as AJay Leitch-Smith missed out through illness while there was a first start of the season for Jimmy O’Neill along side Ethan Stewart with Isaac Lee dropping to the bench.

Rangers were slow off the mark and got off to the worst possible start as an attempted clearance from O’Neill bounced into the path of Dec Howe and struck a sweet shot past Cam Belford from around 25 yards.

The home side had already gone close inside the first minute with George Burroughs blocking a shot from Howe.

As Stafford began to wake up, Heath was just unable to get on the end of a dangerous ball from Tyreece Onyeka but it was Gainsborough who continued to look the most threatening.

Dayle Southwell didn’t get enough curl on one shot then Belford turned another from the same player around the post for a corner.

At the opposite end, Sean Cooke skied a great chance out of the ground after good work from Onyeka and Kaiman Anderson.

But Howe dampened Rangers hopes when he was left unmarked to head in his second of the game on 23 minutes with Rangers arguing there had been a foul on Onyeka before Ashley Jackson had got the cross in.

To the credit, Rangers didn’t let their heads drop and finished the half the better side.

Owen German fired over before Heath had a shot saved at the second attempt by Dylan Wharton. In added time, Jackson kicked away a goal bound header from Anderson.

After some strong half time words, Rangers came out determined for the second half. Joe Willis forced a save from Wharton then Anderson reduced the arrears with a 50th minute penalty after he had been knocked to the ground by Hamish Douglas.

Taylor replaced Heath and immediately demonstrated his threat with a well struck drive that was parried by Wharton. Jackson ensured that Onyeka couldn’t snap up the loose ball.

A couple of half chances fell to Gainsborough which Southwell and Bailey Conway were unable to make the most of but the better openings came at the other end.

Anderson headed over while Cooke sliced wide from 20 yards before Taylor was denied once more by Wharton.

With Basford picking up three points, the gap to safety is now six points with four games to play.


Gainsborough: 1 Dylan Wharton, 2 George Hornshaw, 3 Ashley Jackson, 4 Bailey Conway, 5 Hamish Douglas, 6 Dylan Cogill, 7 Lewis Butroid, 8 Bobby Johnson, 9 Dayle Southwell (15 Joe Stacey 78m), 10 Dec Howe, 11 Fraser Preston. Unused Subs 12 Nat Wallace, 13 Josh Render, 14 Jack Moore-Billam, 16 Connor Shanks

Stafford Rangers: 1 Cam Belford, 2 Andy Burns, 3 George Burroughs, 4 Joe Willis, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Jimmy O’Neill (16 Lewis Porter 87m), 7 Connor Heath (14 Kian Taylor 63m), 8 Owen German, 9 Kaiman Anderson 10 Sean Cooke, 11 Tyreece Onyeka. Unused Subs: 12 Isaac Lee, 13 Jack Sandel, 15 Jack Stafford

Referee: Waqar Ahmad
Cautions: Stewart (Rangers)
Att: 612

Report by Chris Elsley



Martin & Co Arena
Northolme, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire DN21 2QW

Gainsborough Trinity

1Dylan Wharton
2George Hornshaw
3Ashley Jackson
4Bailey Conway
5Hamish Douglas
6Dylan Cogill
7Lewis Butroid
8Bobby Johnson
9Dayle Southwell 15
10Declan Howe 3', 23'
11Fraser Preston
12Nathaniel Wallace
13Josh Render
14Jack Moore-Billam
15Joe Stacey 9
16Connor Shanks

Stafford Rangers

1Andrew Burns
2Cameron Belford
3George Burroughs
4Joe Willis
5Ethan Stewart 30'
6James O’Neill 16
7Connor Heath 14
8Owen German
9Kaiman Anderson
10Sean Cooke
11Tyreece Onyeka
12Isaac Lee
14Kian Taylor 7
15Jack Stafford
16Lewis Porter 6
13Jack Sandel
Total Shots
Shots on Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards

Gainsborough Trinity KO Stafford Rangers KO 3 23 30 63 77 88 FT

Past Meetings

Stafford RangersGainsborough Trinity
Stafford RangersGainsborough Trinity
Gainsborough TrinityStafford Rangers
Gainsborough TrinityStafford Rangers
Stafford RangersGainsborough Trinity