Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Saturday 22 December 2018
Stafford Rangers twice led but, in the end, came home from Matlock empty handed as the Derbyshire side continued their own fine run of form. Matlock just about shaded the opening exchanges, but it was Rangers who struck first on 15 mins when Joe Cuff got goal side of his man from a Josh Green throw in and clipped the ball over Ross Durrant who had come off his line and was let stranded in no man’s land.
But the lead was short lived and, just two minutes later, Craig Westcarr’s challenge resulted in George Sykes-Kenworthy dropping a high centre from Craig King on his goal-line. Luke Jones’ attempts to clear proved fruitless and the Matlock man came away claiming the goal. Any other day Westcarr would have been penalised for a foul on the Rangers keeper.
Cuff could have restored Rangers’ lead when he charged down a clearance from Adam Yates but Durrant saved with his feet then the home keeper had to take a looping header from Dan Burns just underneath his cross bar. Rangers were then denied a penalty when Cuff went to ground, but their efforts were rewarded on 36 mins with a smart move down the left. Josh Green’s ball down the line was squared first time by Cuff to Jake Chares and the unmarked forward did the rest.
Matlock were more purposeful after the break. Brad Beatson’s flick header landed on the roof of the Stafford net while Green made an important tackle to prevent Marcus Marshall getting in a shot on goal. Rangers had a number of chances of their own. Andy Haworth chose to go alone on a couple of times when there appeared better options available while a half chance for Theo Bailey-Jones swung just wide of the target.
The key moment came on 68 mins when Haworth was given another chance on goal. Durrant blocked but no Rangers player was sharp enough to react to the loose ball. Matlock cleared broke away and within seconds were back level – a fine volley from Westcarr after Luke Hinsley had knocked down Taron Hare’s centre.
Six minutes later Matlock were in front. Dwayne Wiley flicked on a corner from King and Yates stole in at the back post to score.
Late Stafford pressure saw both Cuff and Tom Thorley go close but Durrant kept out the former while Thorley’s free kick flew just over on another frustrating afternoon for the Boro.
Matlock Town: 1 Ross Durrant, 2 Taron Hare, 3 Brad Beatson, 4 Michael Hollingsworth, 5 Dwyane Wiley, 6 Adam Yates, 7 Jordan Chapell (14 Luke Hinsley 55m), 8 Cleveland Taylor, 9 Craig Westcarr (16 Tom Davie 78m), 10 Marcus Marshall (12 Lee Beevers 88m), 11 Craig King. Unused Subs: 15 Ashton Hall, 17 Jordan Pierrepont.
Stafford: 1 George Sykes-Kenworthy, 2 Sam Coulson, 3 Josh Green, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Jack Sherratt, 6 Dan Burns, 7 Theo Bailey-Jones (16 Lucas Burnett 88m), 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Andy Haworth (14 Lewis Banks 80m), 11 Joe Cuff. Unused Subs: 12 Declan Arber, 15 James Askey, 17 Max Dixon
Cautions: Burns, Cuff (Rangers)
Referee: Jamie O’Connor
Report by Chris Elsley