The Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 9 October 2021
Stafford Rangers’ roller coaster season continued Saturday as they went down to Scarborough Athletic by a single goal. Rangers, who are yet to record consecutive victories this season, were without the injured Jon Moran giving Ethan Stewart the opportunity to make his debut following his arrival from Alfreton Town. The Boro had an early scare when Joe Kenton landed awkwardly after an aerial challenge with Ashley Jackson, but the clubs’ current top scorer was able to continue after treatment.
Rangers had several opportunities to use the danger weapon of Tom Tonks’ long throw but, all too often, it proved easy pickings for Scarborough’ Ryan Whitley. On one occasion when it did not reach the 6’4” keeper, Jake Charles tried an overhead kick, but Whitley was able to make a comfortable save.
Scarborough’s first real threat opportunity came after a run out of defence from Kieran Glynn, but Maloney’s shot skied over. Play quickly switched to the opposite end of the field and saw Luca Navarro create a good opening when he cut in from the left, but his shot could only find Whitley.
A tightly contested first half, it was Rangers who looked the most likely to break the deadlock and they should have done so when Alex-Ray Harvey pounced on a poor back pass from James Cadman, but the Rangers’ captain shot wide with just the keeper to beat.
Navarro went close again after turning Maloney, but Scarborough always posed a threat and Nathan Cartman was inches away from converting Cadman’s first time cross before putting another effort straight at Luke Pilling. In the latter stages of the half, Charles controlled well before shooting for goal. James O’Neill’s intervention could easily have diverted the ball past Whitley – instead, it went the wrong side of the post.
There were few chances created at either end in the early stages of the second half but gradually Scarborough began to pose a greater threat. A good crossfield ball from Cartman saw Cadman shoot straight at Pilling who also saved from Jacob Day after Maloney’s pass had put him through.
The breakthrough finally came on 70 minutes with a good move on the Scarborough right as Cadman linked with Josh Barrett. He squared for Cartman to slot home from around six yards out. Rangers searched for the equaliser with O’Neill and substitute Joe Cuff both denied by Whitley but the frustrations among the fans was clearly audible as Tonks’ throws were swallowed up by the Scarborough keeper.
Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey (15 Omotolani Omotola 71m), 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Joe Kenton (12 Theo Bailey-Jones 46m), 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Luca Navarro (17 Joe Cuff 57m). Unused Subs: 14 Josh Endall, 16 Max McCarthy
Scarborough Athletic: 1 Ryan Whitley, 2 Josh Barrett, 3 Ashley Jackson, 4 Lewis Maloney, 5 Kieran Weledji, 6 Dylan Cogill, 7 James Cadman (12 Theo Hudson 90+3m), 8 Ryan Watson, 9 Nathan Cartman, 10 Jacob Day, 11 Kieran Glynn. Unused Subs 13 Michael Ingham (gk), 14 Michael Coulson, 15 Simon Heslop, 16 Nicholas Hutton
Cautions: Sweeney (Rangers), Cartman (Scarborough)
Referee: Richard Eley
Report: Chris Elsley