Monday 29th January 2007

Hednesford Town Reserves 2 Stafford Rangers Reserves 4
Central Conference League Cup Group B
At: Keys Park
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Programme: free teamsheet
Attendance: 100 (headcount)
Duration: first half: 47:56; second half: 49:27

There is always something a bit special about a local derby, even if it is at Reserve team level.

Stafford Rangers secured a deserved victory in this round-robin League Cup tie at Keys Park with Richard Haynes netting a brace. They did most of the early attacking and a shot from Ricardo Wilks hit the post. The impressive Sean Ridgway fired wide and has an effort blocked in front of goal. It was no surprise when Stafford took the lead in the 19th minute. Haynes picked up the ball on the edge of the Hednesford area and scored with a low shot after initially being thwarted by Hednesford keeper Alex Molloy. Defender Ed Booth doubled the lead in the 43rd minute, heading home direct from a free kick. And it got even better in first-half injury time when Wilks broke clear, rounded Molloy and slotted home.

Richie Miller replaced the injured Wilks at the interval and soon forced Molloy to make a save. Hednesford staged a second-half fight back and reduced the deficit in the 55th minute. The Stafford defence failed to deal with a free kick and Dean Oliver stabbed the ball home. Haynes went close before the Pitmen scored again in the 75th minute. Tom Frankin netted with a free header. Hednesford pressed for an equaliser and almost got one. Substitute Craig Edwards sent a dipping 30-yard shot inches over the bar. But Haynes scored his second goal of the game in injury time to ensure Rangers won this entertaining derby. He slotted home from 10 yards out via the left-hand post.

Hednesford Town (sky blue / sky blue / sky blue): 1. Alex Molloy, 2. Greg Dickinson, 3. Matt Dudley, 4. Chad Shepard, 5. Edmar Lima, 6. Carl Ellis, 7. Keenan Meakin Richards, 8. Tom Franklin, 9. Dean Oliver, 10. Shannon North, 11. Reece Styche. Subs: 12. Craig Edwards (for North, 67), 14. Alex Deeming (for Richards, 77), 16gk. Phil Tomsak (for Molloy, 59).

Stafford Rangers (red/red/red): 1. John Haywood, 2. Dan Holgate, 3. Jack Thorley, 4. Sean Ridgway, 5. Jemiah Richards, 6. Ed Booth, 7. Steve Hopkinson, 8. Christian Dacres, 9. Ricardo Wilks, 10. Richard Haynes, 11. Craig Motteram. Subs: 12. John Robinson, 14. André Francis (for Motteram, 77), 15. Richard Miller (for Wilks, ht), 16. Spencer Gunnell, 17. Mike Weston (for Thorley, 63).

Referee: Terry Holbrook.

Saturday 27th January 2007

Stafford Rangers 1 Morecambe 3
Nationwide Conference
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 957
Weather: sunny spells
Duration: first half: 47:16; second half: 48:26

Just over 12 months ago, Stafford produced a shock result to send Morecambe tumbling out of the FA Carlsberg Trophy with a single goal victory at Marston Road.

This time round the two teams met in a league game at Marston Road having not done so since April 1985. And today both sides needed a win for different reasons - Morecambe to continue their push for a play-off place and Stafford to keep some daylight between themselves and relegation zone.

Phil Robinson recalled Neil Grayson to the Stafford startling line-up and gave a debut to 20-year-old midfielder Anthony Griffith signed on loan from Doncaster Rovers. The Morecambe starting line-up included two debutants in midfielders Neil Sorvel and Jerome Watt.

Morecambe got the game underway attacking the Social Club end in the first half and they took the lead in the 10th minute when Twiss scored direct from an inswinging corner. Adam Yates doubled the lead in the 32nd minute after he got forward from full back and slotted past Alcock. Guy Madjo fired at Shrimps’ keeper Steven Drench and Grayson sent another shot wide before Morecambe added their third in the 40th minute. Garry Thompson got clear and shot across goal into the bottom right corner.

Grayson worked hard to set up Madjo who sent the ball into the top-left corner from the edge of the area to reduce the deficit in the 54th minute. Morecambe almost restored their three-goal lead on the hour mark. Michael Twiss fed Thompson down the right who saw a near post shot blocked by Danny Alcock at the expense of a corner. Stafford did a lot of the attacking in the second half but it wasn’t enough stop Morecambe moving into fifth position and themselves dropping to 18th.

With such a small part-time squad hit by several injuries, Stafford received a further blow when Olaoye was stretchered off and taken to hospital for a precautionary x-ray on an injured left ankle. In the latter stages of the game Drench did well to deal with a dangerous near-post corner from Danny Edwards and Grayson got in a header from a cross by Anthony Griffith in his debut.

Guy Madjo was named Sponsors' Man of the Match and I selected Morecambe's Michael Twiss as the Non-League Paper Man of the Match.

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes with black sleeves / black / black): 17. Danny Alcock, 26. Richie Sutton, 4. Craig McAughtrie, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 3. Nathan Talbott, 6. Craig Lovatt, 28. David Oldfield, 25. Anthony Griffith, 9. Neil Grayson, 18. Dolapo Olaoye, 12. Guy Madjo. Subs: 1. Dean Williams (gk not used), 11. Robin Gibson (for Oldfield, 51), 15. Danny Edwards (for Olaoye, 68), 20. Alex Gibson (not used), 24. Steve Hopkinson (not used).

Morecambe (red/white/white): 1. Steven Drench, 2. Adam Yates, 17. Chris Blackburn, 5. Jim Bentley (capt), 4. Michael Howard, 19. Jerome Watt, 6. Craig Stanley, 32. Neil Sorvel, 8. Garry Hunter, 7. Michael Twiss, 11. Garry Thompson. Subs: 9. Wayne Curtis (not used), 12. Ged Brannan (for Watt, 70), 24. Fraser McLachlan (not used), 30. Scott Davies (gk not used). 31. Jason Walker (for Thompson, 85).

Referee: Guy Stretton (Leicestershire).

0-1 Michael Twiss (10)
0-2 Adam Yates (32)
0-3 Garry Thompson (40)
1-3 Guy Madjo (54)

Tuesday 23rd January 2007

Kidderminster Harriers 2 Stafford Rangers 0
Nationwide Conference
At: Aggborough
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 1573
Weather: very cold, dry
Duration: first half: 46:01; second half: 48:02

Stafford got the game underway attacking the Town End in the first, right to left in relation to my position sat in the press box in the main stand.

Both sides went close during the opening exchanges. As early as the 7th minute, a close-range shot from Daniel, upfield to get on the end of a Oldfield corner, was cleared off the line. The home side quickly broke and Alcock did well to keep out a shot from Penn. However, Harriers took the lead in the 10th minutes. A lofted pass from White fell to Simon Russell who fired home via a deflection off McAughtrie.

Stafford’s task was made much harder when Penn sent a rising 20-yard drive into the top-right corner in the 53rd minute. On-loan Constable should have made it three but somehow lifted a shot over the bar from just a couple of yards out. Phil Robinson made a double change in the 79th minute and the two replacements soon combined to almost reduce the deficit. Edwards saw a header cleared off the line from Grayson’s cross. Sutton headed wide before an accurate lob from Lovatt was superbly headed over by Blackwood at the expense of a corner. It just wasn’t Stafford’s night.

Kidderminster Harriers (red/black/black): 1. Scott Bevan, 2. Jeff Kenna, 5. Mark Creighton, 6. Stuart Whitehead (capt), 3. Jonny Harkness, 15. Simon Russell, 4. Gavin Hurren, 16. Russell Penn, 11. Michael Blackwood, 9. Andy White, 26. James Constable. Subs: 7. Jake Sedgemore (for Hurren, 59), 14. Luke Reynolds (for White, 86), 13. Steve Taylor (not used), 18. Brian Smikle (for Harkness, 64), 19. Scott Eaton (not used).

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes with black sleeves / red / red): 17. Danny Alcock, 26. Richie Sutton, 4. Craig McAughtrie, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 30. Liam Murray, 11. Robin Gibson, 3. Nathan Talbott, 6. Craig Lovatt, 28. David Oldfield, 12. Guy Madjo, 18. Dolapo Olaoye. Subs: 1. Dean Williams (gk not used), 9. Neil Grayson (for Olaoye, 79), 15. Danny Edwards (for Gibson, 79), 20. Alex Gibson (not used), 21. Christian Dacres (not used).

Referee: M Matadar (Lancashire).

1-0 Simon Russell (16)
2-0 Russell Penn (54)

Saturday 20th January 2007

Rushden & Diamonds 2 Stafford Rangers 1
Nationwide Conference
At: Nene Park
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 1837

Stafford Rangers actually moved up one place to 13th in the Nationwide Conference Table despite suffering their first defeat of 2007. They went into the game level on points and goal difference with Northwich who lost 3-1 and now have an inferior goal difference.

At the impressive Nene Park stadium, Rushden took control of the game with two goals in quick succession early in the second half. Rangers claimed a foul in Olaoye in the build up and ended up Cook drilling a low shot past the diving Alcock from just outside the area in the 52nd minute. Rushden doubled their lead two minutes later. Unmarked Jackson headed home a deep from Beardsley at the far post.

Rangers got a way back into the game in injury time when Olaoye reduced the deficit but couldn't find an equaliser. He slotted home a rebound after Diamonds' keeper Tynan saved a penalty from Grayson.

Rushden & Diamonds (red/red/red): Scott Tynan, Jon Ashton, Chris Hope (capt), Mark Albrighton, Wayne Hatswell, Jamie Cook, Gary Mills, Glenn Wilson, Marcus Kelly, Simeon Jackson, Chris Beardsley. Subs: Michael Rankine (for Cook, 76), Paul Watson (for Jackson, 82), David Perpetuini (for Kelly, 86), Martyn Margarson, Lee Tomlin.

Stafford Rangers (white/black/black): Alcock, Sutton, Daniel (capt), McAughtrie, Murray, R. Gibson, Murphy, Talbott, Oldfield, Olaoye, Grayson. Subs: Madjo (for Oldfield, 68), Lovatt (for R. Gibson 68), Edwards (for Murphy, 72), A. Gibson, Williams.

Referee: I. Smedley (Derby).
Attendance: 1,837.

Saturday 13th January 2007

Cambridge United 0 Stafford Rangers 1
Nationwide Conference
At: Abbey Stadium
Kick-off 3-00 pm
Attendance: 2056

Stafford Rangers won the first-ever meeting between the two sides with a goal scored on the half-hour. Following a foul on Olaoye just outside the United area, Oldfield went for goal with the resulting free kick. The ball hit Robin Gibson in front the ball and ran free. It fell to Talbott who forced a block out of keeper Herbert and Olaoye reacted to slot home the resulting loose ball.

Cambridge United (amber/black/black): Shane Herbert, Rob Gier, Andy Duncan (capt), Michael Morrison, Jordan Collins, Joshua Simpson, Rob Wolleaston, Stephen Smith, Courtney Pitt, Dean Holdsworth, Wayne Purser. Subs: Robbie Simpson (for J. Simpson, 72), Mark Peters (for Collins, 88), Darren Quinton, Michael Hyem, Matt Bloomer.

Stafford Rangers (blue/red/red): Alcock, Sutton, Daniel (capt), McAughtrie, Murray, Robin Gibson, Murphy, Talbott, Oldfield, Olaoye, Grayson. Subs: Lovatt, Madjo, Edwards, Alex Gibson, Williams (all not used).

Referee: Craig Evans (Lincolnshire).
Attendance: 2,056.

Saturday 6th January 2007

Penn Colts 7 Mahal 1
West Midlands (Regional) League Division 2
At: Four Ashes Ground
Kick-off: 2-00 pm
Attendance: 9 (headcount)
Weather: Rain
Duration: first half 45:02; second half 48:07

Penn Colts (green/black/green): Matt Moore, Michael Mills, Rikesh Patel, Matt Yeomans, Cavin Ellis, Anton Jackson, Phillip Hall (capt), Craig Thirlway, Alex Deakin, Ade Bandele, Stefan Bernard. Subs: Danny Smith (for Mills, 62), Kuliy Cheema (for Bernard, 78), Ashley Chambers (for Jackson, 78), James Mills, Eddie Spencer.

Mahal (white/white/white): Parminder Kalle, Mohammed Majid, Baldeep Sandhar, Jarvinder Malhi, Harjit Aujla, Jasdeep Dhillon (capt), (17.) Rajwesh Janagal, Gurdeep Bilkhu, Stefan Gordon, Hiten Pankhania, Ricky Uppal. Subs: Harban Dhillon (for Majid, 77), Jusir Sira, Ramesh Mal (for Sandhar, ht), Charanjit Kalle (for Bilkhu, 77), Denzil Campbell.

Monday 1st January 2007

Burton Albion 0 Stafford Rangers 0
Nationwide Conference
At: Pirelli Stadium
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 2570
Weather: -

Stafford Rangers remained in 15th position after holding Burton Albion to a goalless draw before a crowd of 2,570 at the Pirelli Stadium. Defences were very much on top though Rangers had a goal from Dolapo Olaoye disallowed for a foul on Albion keeper Kevin Poole during the second half.

The ball spent a lot of time in Stafford territory during the first half but just before the interval Guy Madjo headed just wide. Rangers had keeper Danny Alcock to thank for a superb fingertip save three minutes after the restart. His leapt to his left to turn over a rising drive from Albion defender Gary Rowett struck from 30-yards out to the scoreline level.

Stafford had a goal disallowed in the 75th minute from their first corner of the game. The ball, swung over by Ged Murphy, was punched in by Poole but the referee felt that the veteran keeper was blocked by a red-shirted player.

In injury time, Keith Gilroy drilled the ball across the face of the Stafford goal but none of the Burton players sliding in at the far post could, thankfully, apply the final touch.

Burton Albion (yellow/black/black): 30. Kevin Poole, 17. John Brayford, 6. Ryan Austin, 16. Jon Shaw, 2. Gary Rowett, 4. Andy Corbett, 8. Lee Fowler, 22. Paul Carden (capt), 11. Keith Gilroy, 9. Daryl Clare, 14. Shaun Harrad. Subs: 13. Martin Taylor, 15. Terry Henshaw, 19. Danny Holmes, 20. Nigel Clough, 21. Tom Liversage (all not used).

Stafford Rangers (red/red/red): 17. Danny Alcock, 26. Ritchie Sutton, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 4. Craig McAughtrie, 30. Liam Murray, 11. Robin Gibson, 27. Ged Murphy, 3. Nathan Talbott, 28. David Oldfield, 12. Guy Madjo, 9. Neil Grayson. Subs: 18. Dolapo Olaoye (for Madjo, 65), 15. Danny Edwards, 20. Alex Gibson, 22. Matty Barlow, 23. Chris Basham.

Referee: S. Attwell (Nuneaton).