Evesham United 1 Stafford Rangers 3

Saturday 28th July 2007
Evesham United 1 Stafford Rangers 3
Pre-Season Friendly
At: St George's Lane, Worcester
Attendance: 90 (headcount)

After conceding a penalty just before the interval, Stafford Rangers hit back to defeat Southern League Evesham United with three second-half goals.

Kevin Street and Dolapo Olaoye were forced to sit out the game played at Worcester City FC but skipper Wayne Daniel started for the first time this season.

Stafford survived an early scare when Mark Owen fired wide from a good position.

New signing Djoumin Sangare almost broke the deadlock in the 28th minute. Staying up after a corner he hit a fierce rising drive which Evesham goalkeeper Nathan Vaughan pushed into the area. The ball dropped towards goal and Vaughan did well to recover and palm it away to safety.

Evesham took the lead with a disputed penalty just before the interval. Initially the referee awarded a free-kick Wayne Daniel pulled down Owen on the left edge of the area but pointed to the spot after consulting his better-placed assistant. Owen got up to send Danny Alcock the wrong way with a well-struck left-foot strike.

Rangers drew level within two minutes of the restart when a near-post header was glanced past Vaughan.

Ritchie Sutton drove across the face of the Evesham goal before Stafford took the lead in the 69th minute. Pavol Suhaj combined with Neil Grayson and fired into the bottom left corner from 10 yards out.

Rangers wrapped up the win with a third goal scored in the 80th minute.

Stafford Rangers 1 Walsall 3

Tuesday 24th July 2007
Stafford Rangers 1 Walsall 3
Pre-season Friendly
At: Marston Road
Attendance: 643

Stafford Rangers took an early lead through Ritchie Sutton but ended up going down to the League Two Champions for whom Tommy Mooney scored a hat-trick. Just sixty seconds had elasped when Sutton sent an unstoppable volley past Clayton Ince from 10 yards out from a pinpoint right-wing corner. Walsall hit back with an equaliser in the 10th minute. Craig McAughtrie brought down Martin Butler inside the area and Mooney sent Danny Alcock the wrong way from the penalty spot. A rare slip by McAughtrie allowed the Saddlers to take the lead in the 40th minute. He lost possession inside the area and a shot from Butler was parried by Alcock. But Mooney was on hand to tap in the loose ball at the far right post. Mooney completed his hat-trick in the 57th minute. He fired across the face of goal, past the diving Alcock, into the opposite bottom-right hand corner of the net.

Nantwich Town 0 Stafford Rangers 0

Saturday 21st July 2007
Nantwich Town 0 Stafford Rangers 0
Pre-Season Friendly
At: Hollinwood Road, Kidsgrove Athletic FC
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 150 (headcount)
Weather: rain

Stafford Rangers were forced to settle with a goalless draw against Nantwich, despite hitting the woodwork four times and having two goals disallowed for offside.

In a game switched to Kidsgrove Athletic because Nantwich's new Weaver Stadium wasn't quite finished, Stafford made a bright start and created several early chances.

A clearance by Town's keeper Mady Sidibe hit Pavol Suhaj and cannoned towards goal but a defender got back to calmly clear. In the next attack, Richard Sutton delivered a perfect cross into the area which Suhaj headed past Sidibe only to see the ball rebound off the left hand post. The tall Slovakian striker was equally unlucky within minute when again headed against the same upright. This time the ball rebounded to Kevin Street who saw a low drive deflected out for a corner. Ross Draper also fired over from fully 30 yards out as Stafford continued to look for an early breakthrough.

Skipper Andy Kinsey had Nantwich's first attempt on goal with a fiercely-stuck left foot shot from just outside the area which flashed narrowly wide.

Just after the quarter hour mark, Sidibe was again called into action to get down well to hold a low drive from the lively Street.

Midway through the half, Rangers managed to get the ball into the back of the Dabbers' net, only to be thwarted by a raised assistant referee's flag. Sidibe pulled off a fine save to deny Suhaj and Street forced the loose ball home.

Street turned provider to cross for Adaggio who headed over. Dillon also fired wide of the Nantwich goal from 25 yards out.

Robbie Duggan was called into action to hold a low drive from Gyorgy Kiss after good work by Kinsey, who also forced the Rangers keeper into a couple of useful saves.

It was Nantwich's turn to hit the woodwork five minutes before the interval. Kiss fired across the face of goal and saw the ball hit the far post.

Stafford were, for the third time, thwarted by a post on the hour mark. Badgio drove against the left-hand post with Gary Goodwin, on for Sidibe, beaten.

Goodwin prevented Rangers taking the lead with a couple of excellent saves. He got down to hold a close-range header from Craig McAughtrie and did well to tip a thunderous 30-yarder from Street onto the bar and over for a corner.

In between these two chances, Boro skipper Wayne Daniel came on for his first pre-season appearance as part of his continuing recovery from injury.

Late in the game with virtually all the Stafford side replaced by substitutes, Nantwich could have snatched the win. Glyn Blackhurst, once of Stafford, charged down the right and drilled a shot across the face of goal while Matt Freeman fired over.

Nantwich Town (green with white sleeves / green / green): 29. Sidibe; 2. Fitton, 4. R. Smith, 5. Glover, 7. Taylor; 11. Griggs, 8. Blackhurst, 6. Donnolly, 3. Kiss; 10. Bott, 9, Kinsley (capt).

Stafford Rangers (red/red/red): 32. Duggan; 19. Ingram, 2. Richards, 4. McAughtrie (capt), 26. Sutton; 9. Dillon, 10. Manak, 16. Draper, 8. Street; 15. Adaggio, 24. Suhaj. Subs: 20. Jarrett (for Ingram, 52), 32. Alcock (for Duggan, 54), 29. Robinson (for Draper, 54), 5. Daniel (for McAughtrie, 69), Brown (for Dillon, 69), 3. Hopkinson (for Manak, 78), Linford (for Street, 78), 28. Oldfield (for Suhaj, 83), 25. Scott (for Badgio, 83).

Referee: Steve Pardoe (Crewe).

Stapenhill 3 Stafford Rangers XI 1

Thursday 19th July 2007
Stapenhill 3 Stafford Rangers XI 1
Pre-Season Friendly
At: Edge Hill
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Admission: none; Programme: none
Attendance: 80 (headcount)
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 45:00; second-half: 45:00

Midland Alliance newcomers Stapenhill came out on top is this friendly against a Stafford Rangers XI, thanks to a hat-trick from striker Stefan Marshall. Boro, with Neil Grayson the only first-team regular in action, scored just before the interval through Ross Draper in the 40th minute. Marshall struck for the Swans in the 5th, 52nd and 73rd minutes before a crowd of around 80.

Stapenhill (red/red/red): 1. Tom Gutteridge, 2. Adam Price, 3. Graham Ashton, 4. Simon Wczasek, 5. Jim McCarron, 6. Gareth Langford (capt), 7. Jon Jenkinson, 8. Steven Gough, 9. Stefan Marshall, 10. Greg Smith, 11. Jordi Gough. Subs: 12. James Rowlands (for Steven Gough, 77), 14. Fox (for Price, 77), 15. Rob Winson (for Smith, 67), 16. Wilson (for Jordi Gough, ht), 17. Dean Bromley (for McCarron, 67), 17. Trialist (for Bromley, 83), 9. Trialist (for Wczasek, 85).

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes with black sleeves / black / black): 29. Made Sidibe, 21. Damien Jarrett, 2, Trialist, 25. Ross Draper, 27. Tom Ingram, 24. Steve Hopkinson, 7. Ramon Manach, 8. Nick Linford, 15. Richard Haynes, 14. Neil Grayson (capt), 30. Lee Scott. Subs: 28. David Oldfield (for Scott, ht), 23. Trialist (for Haynes, 61), 4. Trialist (for Grayson, 85), 11. Trialist (for Linford, 85).

Referee: Mark Jones (Gresley).

1-0 Stefan Marshall (5)
1-1 Ross Draper (40)
2-1 Stefan Marshall (52)
3-1 Stefan Marshall (73)

Meir KA 0 Stafford Rangers 4

Tuesday 17th July 2007 Meir KA 0 Stafford Rangers 4
Pre-Season Friendly
At: Kings Park, Hilderstone Road
Kick-off: 7-00 pm
Attendance: 130 (headcount)
Weather: dry with sunny spells

Meir KA's Kings Park ground is certainly a fine place to watch a match on a dry and sunny Tuesday evening in mid-July. There is plenty of greenery all around this rural location and the lush pitch was in perfect condition. The home side, members of the Midland Combination Premier Division, were certainly pleased to host Blue Square Premier opposition in the shape of Stafford Rangers.

The ground is located a mile or so south of Meir Heath (and 100 yards north of the Black Lake Inn) on Hilderstone Road (B5066) which runs from Hilderstone to Meir. There is a spacious car park with the entrance at the far end away from the road. Entering the ground through the turnstile near one corner of the pitch, there is an red-painted pavilion to the left which houses the changing rooms and bar. To the right behind the near goal, is a setaed stand and only the near touchline is an area of covered standing.

Once the action got underway, Stafford opened the scoring just before the interval through Marco Adaggio. They added three more goals in the second half courtesy of Pav Suhaj, Steve Hopkinson and Adaggio again to maintain their unbeaten start to their 2007/08 pre-season campaign.

Stafford got the game underway attacking the covered seated stand end of Kings Park. Meir, playing their first pre-season game, went close to opening the scoring on the quarter hour. Darren Johnson broke clear into the Boro area and rounded keeper Danny Alcock. The striker went for goal only to see the speedy Djoumin Sangare slide in and clear the ball at the expense of a corner.

With Wayne Daniel, Nathan Talbott and Nathan Smith all missing, Rangers took a while to get into their stride but proceeded to dominate from the midpoint of the first half onwards. Awarded a free-kick just outside the Meir area for a foul on Neil Grayson, Tom Ingram curled the ball around the wall and Richard Armison pulled off a superb save to turn the ball round a post. Grayson powered a header over from the resulting corner.

Kevin Street, continuing his comeback from a long-term injury, twice went close around the half-hour mark and Richie Sutton curled another effort wide before Stafford broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute. The ball bobbed around inside the Meir area before Adaggio slammed it into the roof of the net.

Stafford continued to impress during the second half. Shortly after the restart, defender Jemiah Richards fired over from outside the Mier area. Both Adaggio and substitute Pav Suhaj went close to doubling the lead. Street had a goalbound effort blocked by Clegg.

It was Suhaj who eventually increased Boro's advantage in the 67th minute. The tall Slovakian backheaded a deep from-kick from Damion Jarrett past Armison.

Aaron Calvert replaced Armison in the Meir goal before the restart and was quickly called into action to beat away a close-range shot from Adam Brown.

But the substitute home keeper could do nothing to prevent Rangers adding a third in the 71st minute. Suhaj laid the ball back to Phil Robinson who set up Hopkinson to net with a low drive across goal into the bottom-right corner.

Duggan had a quiet game after replacing Alcock but the keeper was called into action to come off his line to push away an attempted lob from Shane Reaney.

Calvert was kept busy and he pulled off a superb point-blank save to keep out a close-range effort from Suhaj. The rebound fell to Adaggio who put it wide.

The scoring was wrapped up in the 82nd minute. Ross Draper surged down the middle and fed Adaggio who fired past Calvert.

Meir KA (yellow/black/black): 1. Amison; 2. Wooliscroft, 6. D. Reaney (capt), 5. Clegg, 3. Evans; 7. Bradford, 8. Owen, 4. Clegg, 11. Lee; 9. Johnson, 10. S. Reaney. Subs included: 1. Calvert, 4. Tim Evans

Stafford Rangers (red/red/red): 17. Danny Alcock; 24. Jemiah Richards, 19. Djoumin Sangare, 4. Craig McAughtrie (capt); 26. Richie Sutton, 25. Tom Ingram, 8. Kevin Street, 7. Ramon Manak, 20. Dave Wood; 9. Neil Grayson, 10. Dolapo Olaoye. Subs: 21. Marco Adaggio (for Wood, 24), 15. Damion Jarrett (for Sutton, ht), 2. Pavol Suhaj (for Olaoye, ht), 16. Adam Brown (for Grayson, ht), 32. Robert Duggan (for Alcock, 50), 29. Phil Robinson (for Ingram, 62), 14. Steve Hopkinson (for Street, 69), 5. Ross Draper (for Manak, 69), 28. David Oldfield (for McAughtrie, 78).

Referee: Andrew Bradshaw (Blurton).

The match report was originally written for and published on the now defunct www.staffordrangers.co.uk

Saturday 14th July 2007

Stafford Rangers 1 Derby County 1
Pre-season friendly
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 749
Weather: warm and sunny

An injury-time equaliser from substitute Nick Linford earned Stafford Rangers a creditable draw aganst Derby County in the Marston Road sunshine.

With a side containing a mix of first-team and younger players, Derby almost took a very early lead. Paris Simmons curled a right-foot shot around the diving Stafford keeper Danny Alcock and was unlucky to see the ball rebound off the right-hand post.

However, the visitors didn't have to wait long before they took the lead. A deep cross from skipper Matty Oakley was knocked back by Steve Howard and Simmons forced the ball home at close range.

Derby, the first Premiership side to visit Marston Road, continued to play a neat passing game and a well-struck drive from Oakley was held by the diving Alcock at the second attempt.

Stafford found their opportunities limited in attack and defender Richard Sutton got forward to fire wide from outside the area.

There was further danger for the Rangers in the 28th minute. David Jones fed the overlapping Richard Jackson who shot across the face of goal and wide of the far right-hand post.

As the interval approached, Howard worked a shooting chance on the edge of the are and forced another good diving save out of Alcock.

Oakley had one further chance to double his side's lead just before half-time when he sent a well-struck drive just wide.

Stafford made a lively start to the second half and within a minute of the restart Wood pulled the ball back to Ingram drove just wide. But the visitors should have extended their lead when unmarked Craig Fagan headed a deep cross over the bar.

Just before the hour mark, Stafford were awarded a free-kick just outside the Derby area but the resulting shot from Grayson was charged down. McAughtrie stayed up with the attack and headed Wood's deep cross over.

Substitutions started to be made at regular intervals and Derby sub Anthony Robertson set up teammate David Jones who rifled a shot arrowly wide of the target.

Robert Duggan, on for Danny Alcock, was called into action to keep out a close-range effort from Fagan.

Derby searched for a second goal in the closing stages. Roberston drilled to the edge of the Stafford area and saw a goalbound shot deflect off a defender at the expense of a corner. Alex Forde's right-wing cross hit Sutton but, fortunately for Rangers, the ball cannoned into the chest of Duggan.

Fagan should have wrapped up the victory at the start of injury time. He ran down the middle past two defenders but shot wide.

Rangers got their equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time whern Linford hit a low 25-yard drive into the bottom-left corner past the diving Ross Atkins.

Stafford Rangers (red/red/red): 17. Alcock; 21. Richards, 4. McAughtrie, 5. Sangare, 26 Sutton; 16. Brown, 15. Flynn, 8, Street, 20. Wood; 24 Suhaj, 25. Olaoye. Subs: 32. Duggan (for Alcock, 76), 9. Grayson (for Olaoye, ht), 19. Linford (for Flynn, 80), 10. Ingram (for Brown, ht), 2. Jarrett (for Wood, 62), 14. Adaggio (for Suhaj, ht), 11. Hopkinson (for Sangare, 87), Robinson (for Street, 70)

Derby County (white/black/white): Hinchliffe, Mears, Jackson, Simmons, Moore, Nyatanga, Jones, Oakley, Howard, Fagan, Holmes. Subs: Hanson (for Nyatange, ht), Atkins (for Hinchliffe, 70), Ricahrds (for Holmes, ht), Dudley (for Hanson, 67), Robertson (for Howard, 62), Loesch (for Oakley, 62), Forde (for Mears, 62), Ojaama (for Moore, 70)

Referee: Chris Sarginson (Rugeley)
Attendance: 749 (inc 158 away fans)

This match report was originally written for and published on the now defunct www.staffordrangers.co.uk

Tuesday 10th July 2007

Tuesday 10th July 2007
Rocester 0 Stafford Rangers 1
Pre-Season Friendly
At: Hillsfield
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Admission: £4; Programme: 50p (8 pages)
Attendance: 221
Weather: clody with occasional sunshine
Duration: first-half: 45:17; second-half: 48:41

A late goal from substitute Richard Haynes made sure that Stafford Rangers got the 2007/08 pre-season campaign off to a winning start. The 19-year-old striker got into the perfect position in the 88th minute to slot home at close range after Lee Scott knocked down a deep left-wing cross from Ross Draper.

Pre-match thoughts: Good news – first match of the season! Bad news – fun with trying to find out the names of the new trialists. With several first-team regulars having left Stafford, there would no doubt be more trialists than usual. The journey to Rocester is fast becoming a traditional pre-season friendly. In fact this trip was the fifth consecutive season that the fixture had been played. I knew in advance that a programme would be produced for the first time for this fixture and Publicity/Internet man Barry Smith duly obliged with an eight-pager sold for 50p at the turnstile.

Stafford got the game underway attacking the mill end of Hillsfield in the first half.

Chances were scarce during the opening exchanges with Sean Patterson forcing Rocester keeper Rob Powner to turn round a low 10-yard effort at the expense of a corner. At the other end, Danny Alcock, who had a quiet first half, got down to hold a low drive from Paul Millward.

Stafford almost broke the deadlock in the 26th minute. Patterson fired against the bar after getting on the end of Pav Suhaj’s knock-down and Neil Grayson sent a follow-up header wide. The veteran striker quickly went close again with another header.

Kevin Street, who felt he needed the workout to complete his recovery from last season’s injury, tried his luck from 25-yards out after getting the better of marker Neil Reilly. Powner was well positioned to hold the shot.

As the interval approached, Ritchie Sutton got forward to head over and Stuart forced a diving save out of Powner, who got down well to his right. The ball ran free but the keeper recovered before Grayson or Curran pounced.

While Rocester introduced a brand-new side for the second half and a change of kit to yellow and black stripes, Phil Robinson made just three changes at the break though the manager made substitutions at regular intervals during the second half.

Powner again thwarted Rangers in the 53rd minute with another good save. Grayson latched onto a long ball and, when his path was blocked, laid the ball back to Street who fired on target.

Stafford were awarded an indirect free-kick inside the area midway through the second period when Powner picked up a backpass. The ball was tapped to Nathan Talbott who saw a low drive cleared off the line. Draper had another effort blocked in front of goal as Rangers continued to press and eventually Haynes netted the late winner.

The lead could have been doubled in injury time. Phil Robinson, on as a late substitute for Chris Flynn, delivered a dangerous left-wing cross which Draper headed over.

First half
Rocester (amber/black/black): 1. Rob Powner, 2. Pete Johnson, 3. Carl Allen, 4. Neil Reilly, 5. Matt Jackson, 6. Mark Ruddock, 7. Liam Sowter, 8. Nick Ward, 9. David Shaw, 10. Adam McMahon, 11. Paul Millward.
Stafford Rangers (red/red/red): 17. Danny Alcock, 21. Jemiah Richards, 5, Djoumin Sangare, 4. Craig McAughtrie, 26. Ritchie Sutton, 25. Chris Flynn, 8. Kevin Street, 11. Phil Curran, 6. Sean Patterson, 24. Pav Suhaj, 9. Neil Grayson.

Second half
Rocester (yellow and black stripes / black / black): 1. Rob Powner, 2. Adam Soane, 3. Paul Harley, 4. Simon Purchase, 5. Neil Bennett, 6. Ben Henderson, 7. Rory Maxwell, 8. Martin Gadsby, 9. Mark Hodson, 10. Lee Bagley, 11. Mark Dockerty.
Stafford Rangers (red/red/red): GK. Robert Duggan, 26. Ritchie Sutton, 5, Djoumin Sangare, 4. Craig McAughtrie, 3. Nathan Talbott, 19. Damian Jarrett, 25. Chris Flynn, 8. Kevin Street, 14. Adam Brown, 24. Pav Suhaj, 9. Neil Grayson. Subs: 23. Ross Draper (for Sutton, 61), 16. Tom Ingram (for Street, 63), 15. Lee Scott (for Grayson, 64), 7. Richard Haynes (for Suhaj, 78), 21. Jemiah Richards (for Talbott, 84), 29. Phil Robinson (for Flynn, 87).

Referee: Colin Rishton (Stoke-on-Trent).
Assistants: David Bekalow and Mick Ibbs.

0-1 Richard Haynes (88)