Pitching In Northern Premier League
Saturday 19 March 2022
Stafford Rangers’ 14 match unbeaten run came to an end in disappointing fashion last Saturday as their home form continued to desert them.
A disjointed and scrappy game saw the visitors triumph by virtue of greater desire to win the first and second ball, yet Rangers could count themselves unlucky with both Jake Charles and Joe Cuff hitting the goal frame.
Rangers were missing Ethan Stewart who was ruled out with a back problem. Josh Endall took his place at the centre of defence.
Endall was in the thick of the action as his side made the perfect start. There were just four minutes on the clock when Endall headed back a deep corner from Tom Tonks and James O’Neill was left with a simple task from a couple of yards out.
Moments earlier, O’Neill had been in his more accustomed role in the Rangers’ defence clearing away the danger after Liam Brockbank had been on the end of a long throw from Sam Bailey.
Lancaster didn’t let the early set back affect them and pressed for an equaliser. Bailey badly miscued after being set up by Andrew Teague but Jack Byrne made no mistake when he levelled on 18 minutes, heading in Brockbank’s corner.
After a weak shot from Bailey had rolled through to Mateusz Hewelt, Lancaster went 2-1 up on 24 minutes. The defence stood static – appearing to wait for the whistle for a clear arm to the head of Tre Pemberton – but the whistle never came, Brockbank centred and Enoch Likoy moved in unchallenged to head past the Stafford keeper.
The was little else to shout about in the remaining 20 minutes of the half as the two defences cleared up anything thrown at them.
An excellent ball from Pemberton, 10 minutes after the interval, put Joe Cuff in but the wide man fired over. Almost immediately after, Lancaster keeper Curtis Anderson had to back pedal to tip over a deep centre from Andy Burns.
Tonks went down in the area on the hour mark only to be cautioned for simulation then a first time chip from Cuff skimmed the outside of the far post.
Rangers continued to create the better chances as a shot from Alex Fletcher deflected off Lancaster’s Joe Blanchard and landed on the roof of the net while Jake Charles hit the bar from distance. Two Rangers players moved in for the rebound but saw the ball bounce back over their heads and Lancaster cleared.
The visitors rarely threatened to add to their tally but they were denied a penalty by referee Jake Allsopp when Joe Rodwell-Grant went to ground after a tangle with Ben Woods.
Stafford Rangers: 1 Mateusz Hewelt, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods, 4 Alex-Ray Harvey (17 Kaiman Anderson 74m), 5 Josh Endall, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Tre Pemberton (14 Joe Kenton 78m), 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Jake Charles, 10 Alex Fletcher, 11 Joe Cuff (12 Michael Tait-Moran 80m). Unused Subs: 15 Joe Dunne, 16 Jed Abbey
Lancaster City: 1 Curtis Anderson, 2 Sam Bailey,3 Liam Brockbank, 4 Jack Byrne, 5 Andrew Teague (12 Ben Anderson 46m), 6 Joe Blanchard (14 Robert Wilson 86m), 7 Christian Sloan, 8 Simon Wills, 9 Enock Likoy (17 Joe Rodwell-Grant 62m), 10 Charlie Bailey, 11 Nathan Reid. Unused Subs 15 Joel Davidson, 16 Joel Darley
Cautions: Tonks, Charles, Cuff (Stafford), Teague, Wills, Reid, Anderson, Rodwell-Grant (Lancaster)
Referee: Jake Allsopp
Report: Chris Elsley