Evo-Stik Northern Premier League | Tuesday 2 October 2018
A last minute penalty sent Stafford Rangers to defeat away to Marine but it could and should have been a different story after Rangers had missed a penalty of their own 10 minutes earlier. After Saturday’s mauling at Bamber Bridge overall this was a much improved performance from Rangers but there were still too many frailties on show and Marine could have put the game to bed inside 15 mins.
After a fairly uneventful opening the game suddenly sprung to life with a flurry of chances – all falling to the home side.
Craig Carney created the first with a strong run at the Stafford defence. He laid off to Danny Mitchley who in turn picked out Finlay Sinclair-Smith on the far side of the area, but his shot flew over Adam Whitehouse’s crossbar.
A minute later and a good ball from Steve Irwin almost put Josh Hine in. He got in ahead of Whitehouse but not enough to steer the ball past the Stafford keeper.
In the next minute Hine ran onto a long ball and clipped it over Whitehouse but saw the ball bounce inches wide. Hine then fired into the side netting and Carney fired over from the edge of the area.
Rangers were clearly rattled but somehow, they held out and could have taken the lead on 19 mins when Tom Marshall got his head to Jon Adams’ free kick, but Marine keeper Martin Fearon saved well diving to his left. Marine continued to look threatening but after creating so much in a short space of time their chances dried up somewhat while Rangers came more into the contest without giving Fearon much concern and the game remained goal-less at the break.
Rangers opened brightly in the second half as Luke Jones’ glancing header forced Fearon to a necessary but comfortable save.
The Marine keeper didn’t deal with Kyle Perry’s header quite so well and was grateful to his defenders to clear the immediate danger.
Rangers should have gone ahead on 54 mins when Lewis banks’ free kick fell to Jack Sherratt, but he fired wide when well placed.
At the other end Mitchley spurned a hat trick of chances in a short space of time as the game opened up. Then Rangers were gifted a golden opportunity on 80 mins when Liam Hynes fouled Perry. The Stafford number 9 stepped up to take the penalty but Fearon guessed right to make the save.
Having been let off the hook Marine went close again when Mitchley’s header struck the outside of the post, but it was the Marine captain who won the match winning penalty when he was needlessly bundled over by Sam Coulson and Carney smashed the spot kick into the roof of the net.
Marine: 1 Martin Fearon, 2 Kenny Strickland, 3 James Short, 4 Danny Shaw, 5 Chris Doyle, 6 Liam Hynes (14 James Murray 82m), 7 Finlay Sinclair-Smith (15 Liam Davies 90+2m), 8 Steve Irwin (16 James Joyce 88m), 9 Danny Mitchley, 10 Josh Hine, 11 Craig Carney. Unused subs: 12 Tony Donaldson, 17 Germano Mendes
Stafford: 1 Adam Whitehouse, 2 Lewis Banks, 3 Harrison Holgate, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Sam Coulson, 6 Tom Marshall, 7 Jon Adams, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Kyle Perry (14 Izak Reid 88m), 10 Theo Bailey-Jones (12 Louis Briscoe 63m), 11 Jack Sherratt (16 Josh Green 69m). Unused Subs: 15 James Askey, 17 Lucas Burnett
Cautions: Carney (Marine) , Marshall (Rangers)
Referee: Jon Kenny
Report: Chris Elsley