Date Time Competition Season Day Att
02/09/2023 3:00 pm Emirates FA Cup 1Q 2023/2024 Sat 649


Stafford Rangers cruised into the next stage of the FA Cup after a first qualifying round 2-0 win over Atherstone Town.

The sun was shining at the Stan Robinson Stadium, and the 649 attendees saw an action-packed game which could be dubbed as a ‘proper cup tie’.

Nathan Blissett gave Matt Hill’s Rangers the lead in the 16th minute before Kaiman Anderson added a second from the spot. The first half saw two sendings off for the away side with Nathan Astill and Sam Belcher shown red.

Stafford succumbed to some early pressure from Atherstone but were unable to deny the away side in an early scramble in the box. Rangers forward Niah Payne tried his luck with an overhead kick in the fifth minute, but it was held easily by Carl O’Neill in goal.

Reece Massey received a yellow card for Atherstone before Nathan Blissett nodded Stafford into the lead. Payne showed great determination to regain the Rangers possession and Blissett headed fantastically diving and steering Payne’s cross home.

One became two on the half-hour mark as defender Callum Rudd denied Jake Moult for Stafford Rangers with his hands. The defender avoided a red card but Stafford earnt a spot kick. Kaiman Anderson converted well into the bottom-left corner and extended the home side’s lead to two.

Rangers forward Anderson could’ve had a second eight minutes later as his powerful shot towards the top-right corner crashed against the woodwork.

And, things went from bad to worse for Atherstone on the stroke of half-time as Nathan Astill was sent off for the away side. The defender who had received an earlier yellow card for arguing with the referee brought down Joe Willis off the ball as the Rangers attacked forward, and was sent off by Joseph Pettitt.

Additionally, at half time assistant manager and player Sam Belcher was shown a red card by the referee for arguing against the decisions given against his side.

The cup tie drama continued after the break as Moult headed over at close-range for the Rangers and Joe Willis saw his free-kick effort saved.

In the 69th minute, Atherstone were lucky not to be reduced to nine, as goalkeeper Carl O’Neill brought down striker Kaiman Anderson. Anderson beat the Atherstone last man for pace and found himself through on goal before the forward has taken out by O’Neill on the edge of the box. The Atherstone goalkeeper remarkably came away with no punishment and was able to tip over Joe Willis’ free-kick effort.

The fiery FA Cup encounter saw players from both sides clash as Aaron Braithwaite was off-target with his effort 12 minutes from time.

And, Kev Hemagou looked to salvage some consolation for Atherstone late on as he ran through on goal, but under challenge from Jake Moult went down in the box and saw his appeal for a penalty waved away.

The Rangers held on for the FA Cup win and progressed through to the next round, already one stage further than they were able to reach last season.

By Luke Powell



Marston Road
Marston Road, Stafford, Staffordshire, ST16 3BX

Stafford Rangers

1Cameron Belford
2Sam Bird
3Joe Dunne
4Simon Njaria
5Ethan Stewart
6Jake Moult
7Kaiman Anderson 31'
8Aaron Braithwaite
9Nathan Blissett 17 17'
10Joe Willis
11Niah Payne 18
12Andrew Burns
13Jack Sandel
14Jay Ford
15Ben Woods
16Alex-Ray Harvey
17Tyreece Onyeka 9
18Ethan Morgan 11

Atherstone Town

1Carl O’Neill
2Oliver Bradshaw 17
3Connor Gudger
4James Matthews
5Callum Rudd 30'
6Nathan Astill 45'
7Tom Smith
8Reece Massey 15 8'
9Jake Brown 12
11Chris Cowley
19Kevin Hemagou
12Bradley Floyd 9
14Sam Belcher 45'
15Harry Jackson 8
16Leo Kelly
17Noah Fitzgerald 2
18Jacob Shilton
20Jamie Hood
Total Shots
Shots on Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards

Stafford Rangers KO Atherstone Town KO 8 17 30 31 45 45 45 45 68 84 90 FT

Past Meetings