|Staffordshire Senior Cup
Stafford Rangers exited the Staffs Senior Cup at the 1st Round stage with a heavy defeat at home to Kidsgrove Athletic.
It was a very much changed Rangers line up with most of the regular starting XI rested. Jake Moult made a return to action after injury while there was a first start for recent arrival AJ Leitch-Smith. Jack Sandel made his first start in goal and there were debuts for two other youngsters; Will Holt and Miles Mawson.
Sandel was in the action from the early stages of the game as he parried away a shot from Kieran Knapper. It was a sign of things to come and, when Knapper was played through on 7 minutes, the Kidsgrove man fired past the young Stafford keeper to put the visitors on the road to victory.
There were moments when Stafford had chances to level – James Carvell picked up a loose pass in midfield but his shot didn’t give Ryan Brown any concern then skipper for the night Jay Ford fired high over after a poor ball out from the visiting keeper. Niah Payne was another whose shot failed to beat Brown.
Nat Morley should have added to the Kidsgrove lead but that task was smartly taken up by Jordan Cole on 33 minutes when he pounced on an error from Taylor McMahon to rifle a shot past Sandel.
Kidsgrove were now in control and after a flick from Cole nearly caught Sandel out of position, the Grove sub added his second of the night on 38 minutes after being picked out by Morley.
The second half saw Kidsgrove remain in charge. Ben Woods blocked what looked a certain goal for Knapper before Cole completed his hat trick with a delightful shot with the outside of his right boot that swung inside the top corner of the goal.
Twenty two years ago, Rangers registered their record victory when they beat a youthful Kidsgrove side 15-0 in the same competition with current Kidsgrove boss Scott Dundas netting a hat trick for the Boro. This time, the Potteries side looked like running up a similar tally as Tyrone Cadeau made it 5-0 from around 25 yards out with 32 minutes still left on the clock.
It was damage limitation time for Rangers but Kidsgrove kept coming. Harvey Washington missed a good chance to make it six when he chipped over then Sandel saved well from Cadeau before Knapper put the rebound wide.
Mawson came closest to a consolation for Rangers when his effort was turned over by Brown.
Sandel earned himself some applause with a good save to keep out Joe Woolley’s penalty after Woods had tripped Knapper but the latter had the final say on the evening when he completed the scoring with a simple tap home in the final minute.
Stafford: 1 Jack Sandel, 2 Will Holt, 3 Taylor McMahon, 4 Jake Moult, 5 Ethan Morgan, 7 James Carvell (16 Fletcher Rushbury 46m), 7 Niah Payne (15 Henry Brereton 75m), 8Jay Ford, 9 Miles Mawson, 10 AJ Leitch-Smith (12 Lewis Keeling 50m), 11 Ben Woods. Unused Subs 14 Braulio Maieco, 17 Max Barlow
Kidsgrove: 1 Ryan Brown , 2 Jack Bromfield, 3 Owen Harrison, 4 Callum Lovatt, 5 Harvey Washington, 6 Josh Thorpe (14 Joe Woolley 75m), 7 Kieran Knapper, 8 Jimmy Garlick, 9 Jake Lovatt (15 Jordan Cole 7m), 10 Oliver Finney (16 Tyrone Cadeau 55m), 11 Nat Morley. Unused Subs 12 Kieran Harrison, 17 Anthony Malbon
Referee: Niall Smith
Report by Chris Elsley
KO KO 7 7 33 39 45 50 55 56 59 75 75 90 FT