Staffordshire Senior Cup Round 2
Tuesday 30 November 2021
Stafford Rangers had to overcome a determined effort from local rivals Stafford Town to make progress in the Staffs Senior Cup.
Despite the three league gap, there was little to choose between the two sides as Town looked to cause a cup upset in front of an excellent crowd of 507 at Evans Park.
Having had their game against South Shields postponed at the weekend, Rangers fielded a strong side for what was just the second competitive fixture between the two clubs and they went close inside 5 minutes when recent signing Michael Tait-Moran was just off target.
Town responded immediately as Declan Arber sent the ball across the face of the Rangers’ goal then, with the pressure still on, Arber could only head Leon Ashman’s cross straight at Luke Pilling.
It was end to end and Town’s keeper Henry Smith did well to hold on to a close range effort from Tait-Moran before also keeping out Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls after a good move from the Boro.
Chances came and went for both sides with Pilling making a save from Arber and Tait-Moran heading wide.
Bailey-Nicholls spurned a couple of good chances to open the scoring as Smith kept out one effort before the Rangers’ newcomer shot wide with just the keeper to beat.
Town’s best effort came a couple of minutes before the break when Josh Wilson forced Pilling to push away a shot that was heading for the top corner.
Bailey-Nicholls missed out again in the second half when his drive from the edge of the area thumped against Smith’s right hand post but, a minute later, it was the Boro’s turn to breathe a sigh of relief as Arber just failed to connect with Ashman’s centre.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 67th minute. Rangers caught the home defence napping as Joe Cuff was given time and space to fire in a shot under Smith.
Cuff went close to doubling the lead five minutes later with a rising volley over the bar.
But Town refused to give in and Chris Anderson should have done better when he got on the end of Kaz Danilian’s cross but side footed wide at the back post.
Pilling turned a dangerous cross from Nathan Scott over the bar then only a superb intervention from Andy Burns denied Arber as the former Rangers man looked set to level the scores.
Arber sent another opportunity for Town high over and with it went the home side’s hopes.
Rangers could have added a couple more goals in the dying stages as Jake Charles and Theo Bailey-Jones were both denied by Smith at the end of an entertaining night for local football fans.
Stafford Town: 1 Henry Smith, 2 Matt Dudley, 3 Harry Bowers, Charlie Swingwood, 5 Chris Anderson, 6 Ben Wood (15 Nathan Scott 57m), 7 Ryan Taylor (12 Kaz Danilian 57m), 8 Declan Arber, 9 Josh Oultram, 10 Josh Wilson (14 Morgan Payne 76m), 11 Kyle Ashman. Unused Subs: 16 Sam Amadu, 17 Ben Vangoucci
Stafford Rangers: 13 Luke Pilling, 2 Andrew Burns, 3 Michael Lennon, 4 Louis Malandjou, 5 Ethan Stewart, 6 James O’Neill, 7 Joe Cuff (17 Jaden Henry-Dean 89m), 8 Theo Bailey-Jones, 9 Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls, 10 Alex Fletcher (14 Tom Tonks 85m), 11 Michael Tait-Moran (16 Jake Charles 65m). Unused Subs: 12 Joe Kenton, 15 Alex-Ray Harvey
Referee: Steve Martin
Report: Chris Elsley