Date Time Competition Season Day Att
19/08/2023 3:00 pm NPL Premier Division 2023/2024 Sat 944


After back to back defeats from the opening two games, Stafford Rangers recorded their first win of the season at The Stan Robinson Stadium, beating FC United of Manchester in an entertaining game.

Rangers welcomed new signing Aaron Braithwaite to the starting XI – the young midfielder having arrived on loan from Grimsby Town. Tyreece Onyeka missed out having picked up an injury in the midweek defeat against Warrington Rylands. Jimmy O’Neill is a long term absentee following a knee injury which occurred in pre-season while Tom Tonks’ ongoing disagreement with the club meant that he was not in the squad.

It was the visitors who started the better of the two teams and they had their first chance in the 5th minute when Declan McLoughlin had a shot but he dragged it wide of the goal.

Rangers’ first serious attack saw FC United keeper Pat Boyes tip a cross out for a corner. From Alex-Ray Harvey’s flag kick both Curtis Jones and Charlie Oliver tried to clear their lines but the ball was diverted into the net – seemingly off the latter – to give Rangers a 16th minute lead – and their first goal of the season.

FC United looked for a quick response and had a golden chance in the 24th minute from Luke Griffiths’ free kick. Jones won the header at the back of the post but it was straight at Cam Belford.

The afternoon got better for Rangers on 25 minutes when they went 2-0 up. It came from the right wing with Joe Willis’ cross and Niah Payne was on hand to convert.

FC United got their way back into the game in the 37th minute when Sam Bird was penalised for handball as he attempted to block a low cross from Jay Fitzmartin. Luke Griffiths stepped up and fired straight down the middle to make it 2-1.

Looking to restore their two goal advantage, Rangers tested Boyes again just before the interval with the visiting keeper stopping a shot from Payne and, from the resulting corner, Ethan Stewart’s header.

That wasn’t the last action of the first half as a great run from Michael Donohue created an opportunity for Max Cane but Belford made an excellent save and followed it up to deny McLoughlin from the rebound.

It was Rangers who struck a crucial third on 58 minutes. A long throw from Bird was flicked on at the front post by Jake Moult and Nathan Blissett rose highest to head home.

The Boro had another chance in the 66th when Joe Willis got into a dangerous position in the box but Boyes made another save to deny the home side.

FC United reduced the arrears once more in the 67th minute when sub Nic Ballado did well on the left. He found Donohue who laid it back for another of the visiting subs, Keane Barugh, to strike into the top corner from around 25 yards out.

Chances kept coming at both ends. For Rangers, Anderson was blocked by Oliver while FC United came close to an equaliser from a corner which came back off the post before being cleared.

Ben Woods, on for Payne, forced another save from Boyes while late opportunities for the visitors through Fitzmartin and Elliot Morris went unconverted.

Stafford Rangers: 1 Cameron Belford, 2 Sam Bird, 3 Joe Dunne, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Jake Moult, 7 Kaiman Anderson, 8 Aaron Braithwaite (12 Andy Burns 89m) 9 Nathan Blissett (16 Ethan Morgan 73m), 10 Joe Willis, 11 Niah Payne (15 Ben Woods 69m). Unused Subs, 14 Jay Ford, 17 Rory Roberts

FC United of Manchester: 1 Pat Boyes, 2 Chiekh Thiam, 3 Guy Hall, 4 Luke Griffiths (16 Paul Ennis 65m), 5 Charlie Oliver, 6 Curtis Jones, 7 Elliot Morris, 8 Michael Donohue, 9 Max Cane (14 Nic Bollado 64m), 10 Declan McLoughlin (12 Keane Barugh 58m), 11 Jay Fitzmartin. Unused Subs 15 Lewis Coulton, 17 Jan Palinkas

Referee: William Cavanagh
Cautions: Bird (Stafford)
Att 944

Report by Chris Elsley




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

Stafford Rangers

1Cameron Belford
2Sam Bird 29'
3Joe Dunne
4Alex-Ray Harvey
5Ethan Stewart
6Jake Moult
7Kaiman Anderson
8Aaron Braithwaite 12
9Nathan Blissett 16 58'
10Joe Willis
11Niah Payne 15 25'
12Andrew Burns 8
14Jay Ford
15Ben Woods 11
16Ethan Morgan 9
17Rory Roberts

FC United of Manchester

1Patrick Boyes
2Chiekh Thiam
3Guy Hall
4Luke Griffiths 16 37'
5Charlie Oliver
6Curtis Jones
7Elliot Morris
8Michael Donohue
9Max Cane 14
10Declan McLoughlin 12
11Jay Fitzmartin
12Keane Barugh 10 67'
14Nic Bollado 9
15Lewis Coulton
16Paul Ennis 4
17Jan Palinkas
Total Shots
Shots on Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards

Stafford Rangers KO FC United of Manchester Badge KO 16 25 29 37 58 61 65 67 70 70 74 88 FT

Past Meetings

FC United of ManchesterStafford Rangers
Stafford RangersFC United of Manchester
Stafford RangersFC United of Manchester
FC United of ManchesterStafford Rangers