The Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 16 October 2021
Stafford Rangers’ lack of fire power was again evident as they were held to a goal-less draw by Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday.
Rangers have scored just 16 goals in 16 games, which is the poorest record of the teams in the top half of the table. Opponents Gainsborough have an even worse record in front of goal with just 10 goals to their name. With Rangers holding the best defensive record in the league, all the ingredients were there for a nil-niller and so it proved.
Joe Kenton was back in the starting line-up after missing Tuesday’s trip to Mickleover through injury with Alex-Ray Harvey dropping to the bench. Rangers were the better of the two sides in the first half, creating the better of the few chances on show. The first fell to defender Jimmy O’Neill at the near post but he headed over from Andy Burns’ cross.
A couple of minutes later, there was a scramble in the Rangers’ area with Brad Grayson in the thick of the action, but he was crowded out by the Boro defence and, when the ball finally ran loose, Lewis Butroid fired wide. A good turn from Jake Charles produced a shot on goal for Rangers but Harvey Cartwright saved before Lewis Carr cleared the immediate danger. Rangers kept up the pressure, but Ben Woods struck his low drive straight at the Gainsborough keeper.
Charles was unfortunate to be in the way of a shot from Kenton before Alex Fletcher fired over from 25 yards as Rangers stayed on top. But chances were limited and the best they had in the remainder of the half was Luca Navarro shooting wide after being put through by Charles.
Gainsborough were more positive after the break and had a great chance when Grayson’s pass found Liam Waldock in space, but Luke Pilling kept him out with his legs. Shortly after, Alex Wollerton fired wide from distance, but the contest became a stalemate as neither defence gave way. Gainsborough did have one last chance as Grayson fired across the face of goal in the final minute, but it was a day when neither side deserved anything more than the point they got.
Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Luca Navarro (14 Max McCarthy 60m), 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Joe Kenton, 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Theo Bailey-Jones (15 Alex-Ray Harvey 88m). Unused Subs: 12 Omotolani Omotola, 16 Josh Endall, 17 Michael Lennon
Gainsborough Trinity: 1 Harvey Cartwright, 2 Joe Wilson, 3 Lewis Butroid, 4 Lewis Carr, 5 Neal Bishop, 6 Charlie Jemson, 7 Isaac Rice, 8 Liam Waldock, Bradley Grayson, 10 Alex Wollerton (15 Toby Gould 75m), 11 Rio Molyneaux (16 Harry Jessop 57m). Unused subs: 12 Callum Minkley, 14 Cieron Keane, 17 Jack Gibson
Cautions: Woods (Rangers)
Referee: Mark Pearson
Report: Chris Elsley