Nantwich Town 2 Stafford Rangers 1
Apr 18, 2022

Pitching In Northern Premier League
Monday 18 April 2022

Stafford Rangers’ hopes of a top ten finish in the Northern Premier League took a blow when a much changed side went down 2-1 at Nantwich Town on Monday.

Despite Matt Hill making seven changes to the side that was beaten by Basford 48 hours earlier, this was a game where Rangers created more than enough chances to win it.

Alex Fletcher skewed an early effort well wide before Jake Charles leapt high to get his head to Fletcher’s right wing corner only for Matt Gould to make a fine save.

Theo Bailey-Jones was lively from the off and he forced another good save from Gould with a snap shot.

But after being outplayed in the opening 10 minutes, it was Nantwich who grabbed the game’s opening goal.

Koke Hall found Akiel Raffie in space on the left and he broke in to the area only to be tripped by Ben Woods. Sean Cooke fired in the penalty to give the home side a 12th minute lead.

Matty Hewelt prevented Nantwich from doubling the lead when he parried away Raffie’s shot before Michael Tait levelled matters on 22 minutes when he took advantage of some sloppy defending following a deep ball in from Andy Burns.

Despite Rangers still playing the better football, Nantwich were creating the better chances and Hewelt made another good save to keep out a header from the unmarked Joel Stair before Hall fired across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

With the half time whistle imminent, Matt Bell played a ball for Cooke over the top of the Rangers’ defence. Raffie crossed for Hall to move in unchallenged and score.

Fletcher is without a goal for Stafford this season but he couldn’t be criticised for trying on this afternoon. Shortly after half time Gould turned over a drive that was heading for the top corner then acrobatically dived to his left to hold on to another shot from the Rangers’ midfielder.

Jed Abbey, making his first start for the club, fired over then saw another effort clawed away by Gould with Rangers’ fans claiming that the ball had crossed the line.

At the other end, Hall came within a whisker of putting Nantwich further ahead when he hit the post with a 30 yard lob after being put through by Joe Robbins.

Rangers kept pressing for the equaliser and Tre Pemberton forced another save from Gould while Fletcher dinked one onto the roof of the Nantwich net. Fletcher almost broke his duck with the final kick of the game but his drive from 20 yards out went just the wrong side of the post.

The NPL season reaches its conclusion this Saturday when Rangers take on Ashton United at Marston Road.

Nantwich Town: 1 Matt Gould, 2 Joel Stair, 3 Jamie Morgan, 4 Troy Bourne, 5 Josh Langley, 6 Matt Bell, 7 Akiel Raffie (15 Connor Heath 66m), 8 Joe Robbins, 9 Jake Bickerstaffe, 10 Sean Cooke (16 Luke Nock 80m), 11 Koke Hall (12 Joe Malkin 84m). Unused Subs 14 Matty Devine, 17 Jon Moran

Stafford Rangers: 13 Mateusz Hewelt, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Jed Abbey, 5 Luis Morrison-Derbyshire, 6 Josh Endall, 7 Theo Bailey-Jones, 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles (12 Kaiman Anderson 77m), 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Michael Tait-Moran (15 Tre Pemberton 69m). Unused Subs: 14 Joe Kenton, 16 Alex-Ray Harvey, 17 James O’Neill

Cautions: Woods, Abbey(Rangers)

Referee: Liam Corrigan

Att: 1002

Report: Chris Elsley

 

 

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3:00 pm
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Eccleshall FC v Stafford Rangers

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