Saturday 29th April 2006

Saturday 29th April 2006
Stafford Rangers 0 Harrogate Town 1
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 806

On the final day of the regular league season, Harrogate Town finished the day as they began it, in fifth position, and will return to Marston Road on Tuesday evening (7.45 pm) to contest a play-off semi-final against Stafford Rangers, the Nationwide North runners-up.

Leading scorer Danny Holland scored the only goal, on 38 minutes, of a game with few clear-cut scoring opportunities.

Stafford’s Lee Downes had the first attempt on goal, firing well wide from fully 30 yards out.

The visitors quickly responded and a dangerous free kick cannoned off Paul Groves for a corner.

Both sides looked to get forward and Danny Ryan drove over the Stafford bar from outside the area.

Rangers almost took the lead on 21 minutes. Craig McAughtrie took a free kick from 20 yards out which deflected off the wall. The ball fell to Danny Edwards who saw a goalbound shot blocked by defender Chris Ellerker.

Nathan Smith and Edwards both went close before Harrogate scored the winner on 38 minutes. Gareth Grant pulled the ball back for the unchallenged Holland to slot home at close range.

Martyn Wood produced a superb save just before the interval to keep his side in front. Clearly unsighted, he did well to turn round a free kick from Edwards.

In the second half, Stafford found it difficult to penetrate the visitors’ well-organised defence and Martyn Wood was rarely troubled.

At the other end, Holland fired straight at Dean Williams from another chance created by Grant. The Stafford goalkeeper remained alert and pulled off a diving save to keep out a well-stuck effort from Lee Philpott.

As the game petered out during the final half-hour, Grant shot across the face of the Stafford goal and Holland sent another shot high over the bar.

During the interval, 41-year-old striker Neil Grayson was named Stafford Supporters’ ‘Player of the Season’.

Stafford Rangers: Williams, Sutton, Murray (Talbott, ht), McAughtrie (Daniel, ht), Groves, Reid, Downes, McMahon (Walker, 70), Pope, N. Smith, Edwards. Unused subs: Lovatt, A. Gibson.

Harrogate Town: M. Wood, Dunning, Ryan, L. Wood, Tomins, Ellerker, Grant (Lally, 90), Hunter, M. Smith, Holland (Jones, 83), Philpott. Unused subs: Heard, Stoneman, Mason.

Referee: R. J. Steans (Loughborough).

Goal: Danny Holland (38)

Non-League Paper Star Man: Holland (Harrogate)

Saturday 22nd April 2006

Northwich Victoria 3 Stafford Rangers 1
Nationwide North
At: Victoria Stadium
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 3154

Wednesday 19th April 2006

Stafford Rangers Reserves 0 Worcester City Reserves 0
Central Conference
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 44

Worcester City visited Marston Road for the final home Central Conference league game of the season. Through the match finished goalless, the Reserves created a number of good chances and found City’s Neil Hacking in fine form between the posts. The visiting keeper did well on 36 minutes to push away a deflected shot from Alex Gibbons that looped towards the top corner. Rangers keeper Steve Jackson also did well to hold a long-range effort from Butler at the second attempt. Stafford pressed in the second half with Hacking blocking a good effort from Ross Clarke.

Stafford Rangers: Steve Jackson, Dan Holgate, Mark Bailey, Ed Booth, Jemiah Richards (capt), Steve Hopkinson, Mike Weston, Alex Gibbons, Richard Miller, Ross Clarke, André Francis. Subs: Josh Robinson (for Hopkinson, 55), Courtney Shaw (for Miller, 62), Alex Taylor (for Weston, ht).

Monday 17th April 2006

Stafford Rangers 3 Lancaster City 0
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 943
Weather: -

Danny Edwards, Craig Lovatt and Grayson all went close before the latter opened the scoring on 25 minutes. Nathan Talbott, found in space on the left by Edwards, crossed low into the area and Grayson gave Anthony McMillan no chance of keeping out a well-struck shot.

Rangers continued to cause all sorts of problems for the visitors defence and doubled their lead on 43 minutes. Kevin Street played the ball into the six-yard box and Gibson forced it home.

Lancaster rallied at the start of the second half and Dean Williams pulled off a great diving save to keep out a header from Kevin Brown.

Lee Downes and Grayson both missed good chances to further extend the lead while City’s Mike Eckersley fired across the face of the Rangers goal.

It was Grayson who scored the third on 73 minutes, converting a pass from Street.

The outcome was never in doubt after that goal went in and Robinson was able to bring off Grayson, Street and Talbott before the end; each player received rapturous applause from the 943-strong crowd.

Stafford Rangers: Williams, Sutton, Talbott, McAughtrie, Daniel, Lovatt, Downes, Street, Grayson, Edwards, R. Gibson. Subs: Murray (for Talbott, 86), P. McMahon, N. Smith, Pope (for Grayson, 79), Reid (for Street, 82).

Lancaster City: Anthony McMillan, Mike Eckersley, Andy Scott, Kevin Brown, Joe McMahon, Ryan Elderton, Stephen Skinner, Steve Smith, Alex Taylor, Matt Bailey, Griff Jones. Sub: Tony Sullivan (for Skinner, 78), Joe Feeney (for Taylor, 78), Lee Foxcroft (for Elderton, 81), Gary Finley.

Sponsors’ Man of the Match: Neil Grayson.

Referee: M. Heywood (Northwich).
Attendance: 943.

Saturday 15th April 2006

Moor Green 0 Stafford Rangers 1
Nationwide North
At: Danson Park
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 393
Weather: -

For the third match in a row, Stafford left it late to find the back of the net and this time it was substitute Paul McMahon who scored after 84 minutes. Neil Grayson broke down the left, stayed onside and found Peter Thomson who had an initial shot blocked on the line. The recent signing from Hednesford reacted to tap in his first Rangers goal. Moor Green included three ex-Stafford players – Ben Petty, Darren Middleton and Andy Penny.

Moor Green: Ashley Timms, Richard Scott, Philip Midworth, Lee Collins (capt), Guy Sanders, Ben Petty, David Morrison, Dale Anderson, Peter Faulds, Gary McPhee, Phil Trainer. Subs: Darren Middleton (for Morrison, 72), Chris Nurse (for Petty, 72), David Bridgwater, Junior English, Andy Penny (for Scott, 88).

Stafford Rangers: Williams, Groves, Talbott, McAughtrie, Daniel, Reid, Downes, Street, Grayson, Smith, R. Gibson. Subs: Lovatt, Murray (for Groves, 74), McMahon (for Reid, 74), Thomson (for Smith, ht), Sutton.

Referee: P. Caswell (Leicester).
Attendance: 393.

Tuesday 11th April 2006

Workington 0 Stafford Rangers 1
Nationwide North
At: Borough Park
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 495
Weather: -

Stafford Rangers returned from the long midweek trip to Workington with all three points. But the fans who made it to Borough Park had to wait until 83 minutes for the winner. Paul McMahon low crossed into the area and Neil Grayson fired past Adam Collin from eight yards out.

Workington (red/red/red): Adam Collin, David Hewson, Marc Green, Kyle May, Alan Gray, Matt Henney, Gary Prosser, Steve Birks, Craig Johnston, Graham Goulding, Tom Cowan. Subs: Darren Edmondson, Dan Dillon (for Cowan, 75), Gareth Arnison, Wayne Gordon (for Goulding, 65), Craig Summersgill.

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes / black / black): 1. Dean Williams, 2. Paul Groves, 3. Nathan Talbott, 4. Craig McAughtrie, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 6. Craig Lovatt, 7. Lee Downes, 8. Kevin Street, 9. Neil Grayson, 10. Nathan Smith, 11. Tom Pope. Subs: Murray, Reid (for Lovatt, 70), McMahon (for Pope, 54), Edwards, Thomson (for Smith, 75).

Referee: D Handley (Wigan).

Saturday 8th April 2006

Gainsborough Trinity 1 Stafford Rangers 1
Nationwide North
At: Northolme
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 418

Wednesday 5th April 2006

Stafford Rangers Reserves 2 Nuneaton Borough Res 2
Central Conference
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 26
Weather: -

Youth team player Mike Weston scored twice as the Reserves came from behind to defeat a strong Nuneaton Borough side. The visitors took the lead after just three minutes through David Blenkinsopp. After Weston replaced the injured Danny Edwards, Rangers got back on 17 minutes. Paul McMahon chased a long ball down the right, pulled it back low for Pat Bannister to net at close range. Nuneaton, needing a win to secure the Central Conference title, regained the lead after 36 minutes with a low drive from Tom Breward.

Weston scored Rangers’ second equaliser of the evening when he bravely scored with a low shot from just inside the area and was injured in the process. Mike Winstanley and Lee Collymore replaced Levi Reid and McMahon on 69 minutes. Three minutes later, Jackson pulled off a great save to turn round a curling free kick from Stuart Whittaker that was heading for the top-left corner. Substitute Collymore made an impact by setting up what proved to be the winner on 76 minutes. He flicked the ball into the path of Weston who gave Ryan Poole no chance with a rising shot that flew over the Nuneaton keeper and dipped under the bar.

Saturday 1st April 2006

Stafford Rangers 3 Barrow 1
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 956