Staffordshire Senior Cup QF
Tuesday 15 February 2022
Stafford Rangers booked themselves a Staffs Senior Cup semi final tie with Stoke City by the skin of their teeth after needing a penalty shoot out to see off Walsall Wood.
Kaiman Anderson’s equaliser with the final touch of the game saved Rangers from an embarrassing exit against a team from two levels below.
Despite making five changes to the starting line up, Rangers fielding a strong line up and could have had few complaints had the Midland Football League side gone through. It was a disjointed performance from the home side with too many performances falling below standard.
Everything had looked to be going to plan when Joe Cuff fired his side ahead on 17 minutes following Tom Tonks’ long throw from the right but Wood struck back quickly and Adam McGurk levelled on 25 minutes, finishing off a good attack with a shot that took a deflection on its way past Luke Pilling.
Anderson should have restored Rangers’ lead but blasted over from 6 yards after good work from Theo Bailey-Jones before Kevin Monteiro stunned Rangers with a super strike from around 40 yards out to put the visitors ahead on 37 minutes.
Rangers shooting was found wanting as efforts from Bailey-Jones and Ben Woods were well off target and they went in at the interval still trailing.
Pilling prevented McGurk from extending Wood’s lead early in the second half while Rangers struggled to threaten the visitors’ goal with Ethan Stewart heading over and a tame shot from Cuff not troubling Callum Smith.
Stafford kept pressing but with time running out it looked like they were going to suffer their first defeat in the competition since 2017. Anderson skied over while Michael Tait-Moran and Tre Pemberton both headed wide.
In a last gasp effort, Tonks’ throw resulted in a scramble in the Wood area and a desperate attempt to clear the lines saw the ball strike Anderson in the face and rebound into the net to take the game to penalties.
Cuff and Anderson scored from their kicks either side of Jordan Fitzpatrick netting for Wood. Pilling saved from Jai Verma and Pemberton made it 3-1. After McGurk sent his kick high over the Social Club roof, it was left to Stewart to send Rangers through, 4-1.
Stafford Rangers: 1 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Ben Woods (17 James O’Neill 80m), 4 Louis Malandjou, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 Joe Dunne, 7 Joe Kenton (14 Tre Pemberton 69m), 8 Tom Tonks, 9 Kaiman Anderson, 10 Theo Bailey-Jones (12 Michael Tait-Moran 69m), 11 Joe Cuff. Unused Subs: 15 Alex-Ray Harvey, 16 Alex Fletcher
Walsall Wood: 1 Callum Smith, 2 Matthew Hughes, 3 Kamol Campbell, 4 Tyreace Brown, 5 Phillip McKerdy (16 JD Lionga 89m), 6 Corey Currithers (12 Jordan Fitzpatrick 80m), 7 Jai Verma, 8 Kevin Monteiro, 9 Adam McGurk, 10 Kaden May, 11 Sam Unitt. Unused Subs 14 Hayden Purves, 15 Declan Somel, 17 Hagi Jikineh
Cautions: Campbell, Monteiro (Walsall Wood)
Ref: Michael D’Aguilar
Report: Chris Elsley