Tuesday 28th March 2006

Stafford Rangers 1 Kettering Town 3
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 745
Weather: -

Both sides finished with ten men after controversy reigned in Tuesday’s game at Marston Road. Under the new lights, Kettering took the lead on 42 minutes. A rising shot from Andy Hall bounced down onto the line from the underside of the bar and the assistant referee indicated goal.

Stafford levelled on 50 minutes when Robin Gibson headed home a cross from Peter Thomson but Kettering regained the lead on the hour. Nathan Koo-Boothe rose to send a looping header past Dean Williams from Hall’s deep free-kick.

Gibson (79 minutes) and Hall (82 minutes) were both dismissed with a second yellow card before the game’s biggest talking point occurred on 86 minutes. Craig McAughtrie saw a shot cleared off the line (or was it from behind the line?) and Kettering quickly broke upfield. Ryan Zico-Black beat Williams with a low shot from 15 yards.

New signing Paul McMahon from Hednesford Town made his debut as a second-half substitute.

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes/black/black): Williams, Groves, Talbott, McAughtrie, Daniel (capt), Lovatt, Murray, Street, Thomson, Smith, R. Gibson. Subs: Edwards, Reid (for Murray, 63), McMahon (for Thomson, 81), Downes, A. Gibson.

Kettering Town (red/red/red): Mark Osborn, Wayne Diuk, Liam Nicell, David Theobald, Craig McIlwain (capt), Nathan Koo-Boothe, Ollie Burgess, Brett Solkhon, Anthony Elding, Ryan Zico-Black, Andy Hall. Subs: Junior McDougald, Patrick Peter, Moses Olaleye (for Burgess, 54), Staffan Morley, Nick Bussey.

Goals: Hall (42), Gibson (50), Koo-Boothe (60), Zico-Black (87).

Sponsors’ Man of the Match: Kevin Street.

Referee: S. J. Cook (Belper).
Attendance: 745.

Saturday 25th March 2006

Hinckley United 0 Stafford Rangers 1
Nationwide North
At: Marston's Stadium
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 715
Weather: -

Stafford Rangers ended a run of three league games without a win thanks to a late goal scored by Wayne Daniel. The skipper ran in unchallenged on 86 minutes to head home a corner from Nathan Smith to make it a happy first visit to the Marston’s Stadium.

Hinckley United (blue/blue/red): Dan Haystead, Neil Cartwright, Leigh Platnauer, Jamie Lenton, Carl Heeley (capt), Brad Piercewright, Matt Lewis, Leon Jackson, Tris Whitman, Owen Story, Sam Shilton. Subs: Ricky Muggleton (for Shilton, 89), Dorryl Proffitt (for Whitman, 73), Tom Manship, Dougie Wade, Stuart Storer (for Piercewright, 69).

Stafford Rangers (yellow/black/black): Williams, Clarke, Talbott, McAughtrie, Daniel (capt), Lovatt, Murray, Street, Thomson, Smith, R. Gibson. Subs: Edwards (for Murray, 81), Reid (for Street, 75), Groves, Downes, A. Gibson.

Goal: Wayne Daniel (86).

Hinckley’s Man of the Match: Matt Lewis.

Non-League Paper Star Man: Wayne Daniel.

Referee: S. G. Cooke (Mansfield).
Attendance: 715.

Tuesday 21st March 2006

Stafford Rangers 0 Stoke City 2
Staffs Senior Cup semi final
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 393
Weather: -

Stoke took the lead on 16 minutes when Siguardsson volleyed home a right-wing cross. Solly pulled off several saves in the second half but was beaten again on 75 minutes. Unchallenged Sweeney got on the end of a pass from Josh Wilson and slotted the ball past the helpless Rangers keeper.

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes/black/black): Lewis Solly, Dan Holgate, Alex Gibson, Ed Booth, Jemiah Richards, Levi Reid, Lee Downes (capt), Phil Robinson, Matthew Platt, Dave Walker, Danny Edwards. Subs: Richard Haynes (for Platt, 67), André Francis (for Holgate, ht), Alex Gibbons, Steve Hopkinson (for Robinson, 56), Matt Skinner.

Stoke City (red and white stripes/white/white): Robert Duggan, John Quigley, Carl Dickinson, Junior, Ryan Shotton, Andy Wilkinson (capt), Karl Henry, Peter Kopteff, Hannes Siguardsson, Martin Paterson, Peter Sweeney. Subs: Adam Rooney (for Siguardsson, 66), Chris Sanna, Josh Wilson (for Junior, 66), Liam Page (for Paterson, 66), Matthew Hazley.

Goals: Siguardsson (16), Sweeney (75).

Referee: R. Merchant (Stone).
Attendance: 393.

Saturday 18th March 2006

Stafford Rangers 0 Droylsden 0
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 785

Stafford Rangers 1 Hednesford Town 1

Tuesday 14th March 2006
Stafford Rangers 1 Hednesford Town 1
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 1519
Weather: -

Stafford Rangers took the lead six minutes before the break through Smith but were denied victory with an equaliser scored deep in second-half injury time by McSweeney.

Rangers dominated the first half. Grayson saw an early hit the outside of the left-hand post. Street and Reid both fired wide from well outside the area. Eventually on 39 minutes, Williams sent a free-kick forward into the area where unchallenged Smith took advantage of hesitation between Barrow and Adams to fire past the advancing Hateley. Just before the interval, Hadland, already booked, was fortunate to stay on the field after felling Gibson.

Hednesford finally had their first attempt on target after 72 minutes. Dann headed a free-kick straight at Williams. Substitute Thomson tested Hateley on 86 minutes – the visiting keeper held a well-struck shot at the second attempt. Williams did remarkably well to leap to his left two minutes later to turn round a curling free-kick from ex-Rangers defender Barrow. Deep into injury time, McSweeney on the right inside the area fired home via the underside of the bar.

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes/black/black): Dean Williams, Paul Groves, Nathan Talbott, Craig McAughtrie, Wayne Daniel (capt), Craig Lovatt, Levi Reid, Kevin Street, Neil Grayson, Nathan Smith, Robin Gibson. Subs: Liam Murray, Matt Clarke, Dave Walker, Lee Downes, Peter Thomson (for Smith, 77).

Hednesford Town (green/green/green): Gary Hateley, Ross Adams, Tom Marshall, Scott Hadland, Scott Dann, Lee Barrow (capt), Sean Platt, Nathan Lamey, Jai Stanley, Leon McSweeney, Colin Hunter. Subs: Mark Briggs, Ross Dyer (for Hunter, 77), Anthony Maguire, Grant Beckett (for Hadland, 84), Alex Molloy.

Goals: Smith (39), McSweeney (90+2).

Sponsor’s man of the match: Craig McAughtrie.

Referee: A. P. Morbin (Sheffield).
Attendance: 1,519.

Alfreton Town 2 Stafford Rangers 1

Saturday 11th March 2006
Alfreton Town 2 Stafford Rangers 1
Nationwide North
At: Impact Arena
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 480

By the law of averages, Stafford Rangers’ long unbeaten run in the Nationwide North had to come to an end sometime. That was the philosophical conclusion of Boro boss Phil Robinson after his side went down by the odd goal in three at lowly Alfreton Town. An own goal from skipper Wayne Daniel and a deflected shot, which cancelled out an equaliser from Paul Groves, condemned Rangers to their first league reverse since mid-November.

Rangers, who welcomed back Craig McAughtrie from suspension, enjoyed the lions share of possession in the first half and really should have turned it into a goal. After surviving an early scare when Dean Williams did well to turn round a deflected shot from Jon Stevenson, the league leaders created a number of good chances.
Neil Grayson, playing in a deeper role because of the absence of Kevin Street (rib injury), got forward to head a cross from Nathan Smith. Craig Lovatt and Levi Reid both saw shots straight at Reds’ keeper Simon Rayner.

Rayner made a superb save to turn over a close-range volley from Peter Thomson and he also did well to hold a rising fiercely-struck shot blocked inside the area as Boro kept up the attack. But Alfreton took the lead against the run of play. Daniel, attempting to head behind a right-wing cross from Mick Godber, succeeded only in directing the ball into the bottom-left corner of his own net.

Rangers got back on level terms after 56 minutes. The home defence failed to pick up Groves who ghosted in to head home a near-post free kick from Nathan Smith. Daniel cleared a header from David Robinson off the line before Rangers should have taken the lead on 70 minutes. Thomson blasted wide of an unguarded net after the diving Rayner could only parry a shot from Smith.

Stafford still looked favourites to win but it was Alfreton, in need points to aid their fight against relegation, who scored what proved the winner on 75 minutes. From a free kick, a shot from Stevenson, on the edge of the area, took a deflection and looped over Williams into the net. Once in front for a second time, the home side, who have a good record at their own Impact Arena, proved difficult to penetrate. Not even a late triple substitution in the 85th minute could prevent Boro’s 14-league-match unbeaten run coming to an end.

Alfreton Town (red/red/red): Simon Rayner, Ryan Clarke, Brooks, Robinson, Turner, Howard, Bettney, Fisher, Mick Godber, Jon Stevenson, Featherstone. Subs: Nwadike (for Fisher, 50), Mills (for Howard, 86), Duffield, Rankine, Flanaghan.

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes / black / black): Dean Williams, Paul Groves, Nathan Talbott, Craig McAughtrie, Wayne Daniel (capt), Craig Lovatt, Levi Reid, Nathan Smith, Neil Grayson, Peter Thomson, Robin Gibson. Subs: Liam Murray (for Thomson, 85), Matt Clarke (for Groves, 85), Dave Walker (for Smith, 85), Lee Downes, Danny Edwards.

Referee: M Foley (Sheffield).

1-0 Wayne Daniel (41 og)
1-1 Paul Groves (57)
2-1 Jon Stevenson (71)

Tuesday 7th March 2006

Stafford Rangers 1 Stalybridge Celtic 0
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 561

Westfields 0 Chasetown 5

Saturday 4th March 2006
Westfields 0 Chasetown 5
Harvey World Travel Midland Alliance
At: allpay Park
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 91

With Stafford Rangers's at Workington postponed due to snow, I headed instead to Hereford and saw promotion-seeking Chasetown bounced back from two successive defeats with a comfortable victory at ten-man Westfields.

They scored three goals in the last few minutes to increase the winning margin to one which reflected their dominance in the Hereford sunshine.

Karl Edwards and Lee Bullimore both scored twice to lift the Scholars up to fourth position in the Midland Alliance table with Nicky Harrison netting the other goal.

Chasetown should have taken the lead inside the first minute when Bullimore drilled a shot wide with just Westfield’s keeper Jon Pugh to beat. The striker also headed over and Edwards tamely fired at Pugh, who made a good diving save to keep out a low shot from Duncan Horler.

It was no surprise when the deadlock was broken on 33 minutes. Edwards got up after being felled by Pugh inside the area to convert the resulting penalty.

Scholars’ keeper Simon Bryan, who had a quiet afternoon, needed to be alert to keep his side in front. He pulled a fine diving save to turn round a header from Alec Winstone that looked to be heading for the bottom-left corner.

However, the task facing Westfields, second from bottom in the table with just three league wins all season, was made harder just before the break. Substitute Mark Davis received a straight red card for dissent.

With a numerical advantage, Chasetown doubled their lead on 53 minutes when Harrison converted a low cross from Lee Parsons.

Westfields were forced to replace their injured keeper and substitute Mark Hopkins kept out a shot from Bullimore with his boot.

As the home side became frustrated, referee Steve Castle was kept busy and added several names to his list of eight bookings which, by full time, included six from Westfields.

Two goals looked like being the winning margin until the visitors netted three more in the closing stages.

Bullimore broke clear down the left and slipped a low shot past the advancing Hopkins on 86 minutes. He then added an almost identical fourth goal in injury time.

Edwards completed the scoring moments before the final whistle with an easy tap-in after Neil Aulton’s shot rebounded off the left-hand post.

Westfields: Pugh (Hopkins, 60), Moon, Jinks, Winstone, Hunt (Griffiths, 77), Hoskins, Price (Davis, 13), Hibbard, Burton, Craddock, Beale. Unused subs: Rivett, Griffiths.

Chasetown: Bryan, Parsons, Aulton, Bytheway, Slater, Ulfig (Huckfield, 60), Egan, Harrison (Sayer, 89), Bullimore, Edwards, Horler. Unused subs: Smith, Branch, Harris.

Referee: Mr S. Castle (Wolverhampton).