Stafford Rangers 1 Mickleover Sports 1
Evo-Stik League Premier Division
Tuesday 10 October 2017
Rangers and Mickleover battled out an uninspiring draw at Marston Road in front of an equally disappointing crowd of just 417.
Rangers made one change from the side that beat Grantham on Saturday with Osebi Adabaki returning to the starting line up in place of Mat Bailey.
Both the goals came in the opening quarter of the game with Richard Gregory opening the scoring for the Boro on 11 minutes before a soft goal credited to Mickloever’s Alex Morris midway through the half brought the scores level.
The game got off to a decent start as Louis Briscoe tried his luck hooking the ball over his shoulder but his effort was straight at Sports’ keeper Lewis King.
A couple of minutes later, Sports went even closer when Pablo Mills struck the Rangers bar from around 20 yards after Rangers had failed to clear a free kick then Andy Dales fired wide after Jack Sherratt had lost the ball in midfield.
There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening 10 minutes but Rangers then established a foothold with a well taken goal from Richard Gregory.
Jordaan Brown was the architect with a strong run down the inside left channel down to the by-line. From there, he picked out Gregory. The Rangers forward still had plenty to do but with tidy control and a sharp turn he fired the ball past King to put the Boro one up.
Kieren Westwood went close to making it 2-0 a couple of minutes later when he exchanged passes with Gregory but King saved with his foot.
With Rangers now on top, they will be disappointed with the goal that brought Mickleover level on 22 minutes.
A free kick was awarded in a dangerous position around 20 yards out after a handball decision was given against Kieran Morris but the immediate danger was averted as Adam Whitehouse turned John McGrath’s dead ball around the post. But, from McGrath’s subsequent corner, the ball glanced off Mills’ head and appeared to deflect off Alex Morris and find its way inside Whitehouse’s right hand post.
With their tails now up, Mickleover sought a second and nearly got it just a couple of minutes later when Mills was given time and space around ten yards out but Westwood headed off the line.
Whitehouse then saved well, tipping over from Andy Dales when the Sports’ midfielder broke through on goal – a chance he really should have taken – then, on the stroke of half time, Lewis Belgrave went wide from around 20 yards.
Rangers began the second half with revived vigour as Briscoe dispossessed McGrath and was only halted when Morris tripped him just outside the area – a foul that earned the Mickleover defender a caution. Gregory’s free kick was comfortably taken by King.
But then the game went flat and the next half hour was pretty much a non event. Mickleover packed their defence and, to their credit, rarely looked like being breached.
In fact, the visitors had the best chance to snatch the points when sub Tevahn Tyrell pounced on an error from Kieran Morris but with just Whitehouse to beat, he inexplicably lifted the ball over both the Rangers keeper and, to the relief of the home camp, the Rangers crossbar.
Rangers’ best chance of the half came soon after when Josh Craddock’s header was blocked on the line by Reece Horne while Whitehouse made a stoppage time save to keep out a long range drive from former Boro midfielder Jimmy Phillips in added time.
Rangers: 1 Adam Whitehouse, 2 Sam Griffiths, 3 Kieren Westwood, 4 Kieran Morris, 5 Jordaan Brown, 6 Josh Craddock, 7 Osebi Abadaki (12 Dan Westwood 84m), 8 Jack Sherratt, 9 Richard Gregory, 10 Izak Reid, 11 Louis Briscoe (17 Richard Batchelor 58m). Unused subs 14 Levi Reid, 15 Joe Thomas, 16 Kai Davis
Mickleover: 1 Lewis King, 2 Kevin Grocott, 3 Reece Horne, 4 John McGrath, 5 Pablo Mills,
6 Alex Morris, 7 Andy Dales, 8 Lewis Belgrave (17 Tevahn Tyrell 67m), 9 Tom Burgin, 10 Evan Garnett, 11 Jimmy Phillips. Unused subs 12 Ben Morris, 14 Morgan Williams, 15 William Norcross, 16 Clinton Morrison
Cautions: Brown, Briscoe (Rangers) Mills, Morris (Mickleover)
Referee: Darren Wilding