Stafford Rangers 3 Alfreton Town 1

Saturday 30th April 2005
Stafford Rangers 3 Alfreton Town 1
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Programme: ???
Attendance: 719
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 46:03; second-half: 47:10

Stafford Rangers ended the inaugural Nationwide North season with a 3-1 victory over Alfreton Town which made sure they moved above Redditch United to finish in eight position with 59 points from 42 games.

Alfreton got the game underway attacking the Social Club End in the first half.

Despite the visitors enjoying plenty of early possession and creating chances, Stafford took the lead in the 14th minute against the run of play. Danny Edwards delivered a free-kick into the area which Neil Grayson headed home.

Grayson doubled Stafford’s lead 13 minutes later. Nathan Talbott picked up the ball on the left, took it forward and sent a deep hanging cross into the area which unmarked Garyson headed into the net out of reach of Lee Butler’s right hand.

The veteran striker could have completed a hat-trick before the interval. He lifted a shot over the bar from Joe Anyon’s deep free-kick.

Grayson went close with a header which Butler held early in the second half and Talbot sent a 25-yard shot over the bar.

Alfreton didn’t look that dangerous yet pulled a goal back just after the hour mark. Matt Fisher crossed from the right and Peter Duffield headed into the top left corner, out of reach of the diving Anyon.

With renewed hope, the visitors started to press for an equaliser and Ian Robinson saw a shot blocked inside a crowded area from Fisher’s corner.

Entering two minutes of stoppage time, the final score looked like being 2-1 but Stafford wanted to finish the season in style. Man of the Match Grayson forced a point-blank save out of Butler before Robin Gibson curled Stafford’s third goal into the top-right corner.

At full-time, Craig McAughtrie was named Supporters Player of the Season with Grayson in second place and Robin Gibson in third place.

With Stafford finishing in eight with the tightest defence in the division, it was Southport who topped the final table to gain promotion to the Nationwide Conference with a three-point margin over runners-up Nuneaton Borough.

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes / black / black): 1. Joe Anyon, 2. Craig McAughtrie, 3. Dennis Pearce, 4. Chris Smith, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 6. Craig Lovatt, 7. Nathan Talbott, 8. Lee Downes, 9. Neil Grayson, 10. Danny Edwards, 11. Robin Gibson. Subs: 12. Richie Miller (not used), 14. Alan Dodd (for McAughtrie, 82), 15. Richard Beale (not used), 16. Robert Heath (for Pearce, 80), 17. Alex Gibson (not used). Manager: Phil Robinson.

Alfreton Town (red/red/red): 1. Lee Butler, 2. Carl Bradshaw, 3. Nicky Heinemann, 4. Luke Foster, 5. Grant Brown (capt), 6. Matthew Fisher, 7. Ian Robinson, 8. Richard Cooper, 9. Chris Bettney, 10. Peter Duffield, 11. Mitchum Ward. Subs: 12. Robert Cam (for Bradshaw, 72), 14. Steven Wooley (for Bettney, 59), 15. Paul Teather (not used), 16. Ben Chapman (not used), 17. Lee Featherstone (for Cooper, 80).

Referee: Dean Moharab (Hyde).
Assistants: G. N. Darragh (Stockport) and S. Mather (Droylsden).

1-0 Neil Grayson (14)
2-0 Neil Grayson (27)
2-1 Peter Duffield (63)
3-1 Robin Gibson (90+2)

Stafford: Robin Gibson (YC, 59), Danny Edwards (YC, 75)
Alfreton: Richard Cooper (YC, 59)