Evo-Stik Premier League
Tuesday 1 January 2019

The post Steve Burr era failed to get off to the perfect start as Stafford Rangers threw away a two-goal lead in their bottom of the table clash at Mickleover. After a quiet and uneventful opening, Stafford snatched control with two goals in quick succession. It was Rangers who produced the games’ first shot of note on 14 mins when Joe Cuff’s 30 yarder was well held by Callum Hawkins diving to his right.

But, two minutes later, the Mickleover keeper was beaten from around 25 yards by Theo Bailey-Jones’ well struck drive after Jake Charles had knocked down a centre from Andy Haworth. If Hawkins was blameless for Rangers’ opener, he had to take full responsibility for the second on 22 mins. Rangers countered following a Mickleover free kick. The ball came out to Joe Cuff on the left wing but his harmless looking cross was spilled into his own net at the foot of his near post.

Charles missed two great chances to add to Stafford’s lead, firstly sliding wide when off balance then hitting the post with the goal at his mercy after taking the ball around Hawkins. Mickleover’s best chance of the half came shortly before the interval but George Sykes-Kenworthy was equal to Nathan Jarman’s strike.

But it was a different story in the second half as Stafford switched off and allowed Mickleover back into the contest. It was a goalkeeping error that opened the door on 61 mins as George Sykes-Kenworthy failed to collect a long throw from Jake Scott and Shaquille McDonald hammered in from close range.

It was McDonald who levelled the scores on 77 mins when Stafford were caught napping from John McGrath’s quickly taken free kick. The immediate danger seemed to have passed as Jimmy Phillips sent his shot across the face of the Stafford goal but when the ball came back in, McDonald had time to fire in the equaliser. The Stafford collapse was complete five minutes from time when Dan Burns was penalised for hand ball and Jarman fired in the winner from the penalty spot.

Mickleover: 1 Callum Hawkins, 2 Jake Scott, 3 Ben Turner, 4 John McGrath, 5 Pablo Mills, 6 Durrell Berry, 7 Ted Cribley (17 Jimmy Phillips 69m), 8 Mason Warren, 9 Shaquille McDonald, 10 Nathan Jarman, 11 Kyle Carey (12 Will Norcoss 60m). Unused Subs: 14 Jack Walsh, 15 Reece Ford, 16 Ricky Ravenhill

Stafford: 1 George Sykes-Kenworthy, 2 Sam Coulson (14 Lewis Banks 89m), 3 Josh Green, 4 Luke Jones, 5 Dan Burns, 6 Izak Reid, 7 Theo Bailey-Jones, 8 Tom Thorley, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Andy Haworth (15 Jack Sherratt 78m), 11 Joe Cuff. Unused Subs: 12 James Askey, 16 Peter Williams, 17 Adam Siviter

Cautions: McGrath, Jarman (Mickleover) Coulson, Haworth (Rangers)

Referee: M Tinsley

Att: 304

Report: Chris Elsley

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