Date Time Competition Season Day Att
30/12/2023 3:00 pm NPL Premier Division 2023/2024 Sat 892


After a miserable year, Stafford Rangers ended 2023 in style with a deserved victory over NPL form side Matlock Town.

Dave Cooke went with the same starting XI that had beaten Gainsborough on Boxing Day and his side made a positive start to the game without creating too much of a threat on the home goal. The best effort fell to Connor Heath who tried his luck with a shot on the turn but it was straight at Saul Deeney.

Matlock came more into the game with Cam Belford flying out to clear a John Johnston cross and Jonny Margetts hitting the advertising boards from 18 yards out.
But Rangers stood firm in what turned out to be Matlock’s best period of the game and took the lead on 31 minutes thanks to a Kaiman Anderson penalty – awarded after Nathan Whitehead had tripped Sean Cooke.

An error from Ethan Stewart let in Margetts but the league’s leading scorer missed his chance to add to his tally by firing over the bar.

Having survived the let off, Rangers made it 2-0 on 34 minutes. Tyreece Onyeka pulled the ball back from the by line where Connor Heath took possession. Had he left it, Cooke was in the clear but Heath made sure the opportunity didn’t go to waste by driving his shot inside Deeney’s right hand post.

Rangers stayed on top for the remainder of the half with Onyeka, Anderson and Heath all having shots blocked while an overhead kick from Cooke went just wide.
Matlock made two substitutions at the break but they failed to have the impact that manager Martin Carruthers would have wanted.

Deeney gathered a couple of free kicks from Cooke while Heath had two shots blocked in quick succession. Anderson converted after a great first touch but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Matlock responded with a period of pressure but Belford saved from sub Karl Demidh before Ben Woods headed off the line.

Rangers needed a third and Stewart missed a great chance when he headed over from Cooke’s corner. The latter fired wide from 20 yards and Heath put his shot across the face of goal.

The third goal – when it came on 69 minutes – will live long in the memory of those who saw it. A header out of defence from Stewart fell to Cooke who, without a moment’s hesitation, turned and fired goalwards from some 45 yards out. Matlock keeper Deeney was some distance off his line and was left helpless.

Inevitably, Matlock upped their game in the final stages. Margetts should have done better with a free header that failed to find the target while Olly Clark’s shot was deflected through to Belford.

Michael Williams did pull one back in the 90th minute but Rangers held out to take the three points that lifts them off the bottom of the table.


Matlock: 1 Saul Deeney, 2 Kornell McDonald, 3 Joe West, 4 Nathan Whitehead, 5 Adam Yates, 6 Ioan Evans, 7 John Johnston, 8 Harry Wood (12 Karl Demidh 46m), 9 Finlay Armond (15 Olly Clark 46m), 10 Jonny Margetts, 11 Anthony Dwyer (18 Michael Williams 68m)

Stafford: 1 Cam Belford, 2 Andy Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Joe Willis, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Jake Moult, 7 Tyreece Onyeka (14 Niah Payne 78m), 8 Sam Bird, 9 Kaiman Anderson, 10 Sean Cooke (16 Ethan Morgan 86m), 11 Connor Heath. Unused Subs: 15 Nathan Blissett, 17 Derek Ubah

Referee: Tom Hales

Cautions: McDonald, Clark, Williams (Matlock), Cooke (Stafford)

Att: 892

Report by Chris Elsley




Proctor Cars Stadium
Causeway Lane, Matlock, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom, DE4 3AR

Matlock Town

1Saul Deeney
2Kornell McDonald 49'
3Joseph West
4Nathan Whitehead
5Adam Yates
6Ioan Evans
7John Johnston
8Harry Wood 15
9Finlay Armond 12
10Jonathon Margetts
11Anthony Dwyer 17
12Karl Demidh 9
14Alexander Duhameau
15Oliver Clark 8 79'
16George Wilkinson
17Michael Williams 11 90'

Stafford Rangers

1Cameron Belford
2Andrew Burns
3Ben Woods
4Joe Willis
5Ethan Stewart
6Jake Moult
7Tyreece Onyeka 14
8Sam Bird
9Kaiman Anderson 31'
10Sean Cooke 16 70'
11Connor Heath 34'
12A-Jay Leitch-Smith
14Niah Payne 7
15Nathan Blissett
16Ethan Morgan 10
17Derek Ubah
Total Shots
Shots on Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards

Matlock Town Badge KO Stafford Rangers KO 31 34 43 46 46 49 68 70 78 79 86 90 FT

Past Meetings

Stafford RangersMatlock Town
Stafford RangersMatlock Town
Matlock TownStafford Rangers
Matlock TownStafford Rangers
Matlock TownStafford Rangers
Stafford RangersMatlock Town