Sutton Coldfield Town 0 Stafford Rangers 3

Tuesday 2nd August 2005
Sutton Coldfield Town 0 Stafford Rangers 3
Pre-Season Friendly
At: Coles Lane
Kick-off: 7-30 pm
Programme: none
Attendance: 110 (headcount)
Weather: bright, mild
Duration: first-half: 45:05; second-half: 46:50

Stafford Rangers got back to winning ways with a comfortable victory at Coles Lane. Peter Thomson and skipper Wayne Daniel both found the net during the opening 16 minutes and substitute Gary Fife added a third goal shortly before the full-time whistle.

With several key players resting injuries, including new signing Vill Powell, Stafford player-manager Phil Robinson named an experimental side which included former Port Vale midfielder Levi Reid. Liam Murray, a trialist from Shrewsbury Town, also played the whole game as Daniel’s partner in the heart of the defence.

Sutton, from the Southern League Western Division outfit, were lacking their injured former Stafford midfielder David Berks.

Rangers got the game underway attacking the social club end in the first half and survived a couple of early scares. Will Smith got down to turn round a narrow-angled shot from Damian Markham and Darren Mashingham headed wide at the far post from the resulting corner.

However, Stafford took the lead in the 12th minute. Danny Edwards delivered a deep cross which Neil Grayson headed down for Peter Thomson to stab home his first Boro goal at close range.

Further chances followed. Daniel headed against the Sutton bar and Grayson sent another header wide but it was no surprise when the lead was extended in the 17th minute. Home keeper Tony Breedon turned round Levi Reid’s low 25-yard drive and captain Wayne Daniel put away a first-time header from the resulting corner.

Rangers continued to dominate with Dave Walker and Reid narrowly missing the target. Breedon pulled off another good save to keep out a long-range effort from Lee Downes.

Sutton made a bright start to the second half against an unchanged Stafford line-up. And despite Robinson calling for his side to “buzz again”, the home side almost reduced the deficit 11 minutes after the restart. Rory May hit a spectacular shot from outside the area which flew over Will Smith only for the ball to rebound off the bar. Nathan Moran also sent a header inches over.

Rangers finished the game on the attack and the lively Nathan Smith forced a save out of Sutton’s replacement keeper Dale Belford. Eventually in the 89th minute, good work from Nathan Smith set up Gary Fife who slotted home from a narrow angle.

Sutton were denied a consolation goal in injury time when Chris Milliard pulled off an amazing goal-line clearance to keep out a header from Darren Massingham.

Sutton Coldfield Town (blue/blue/blue): 1. Tony Breedon, 2. Jon Branch, 3. Craig Hancox, 4. Lucan Spittle, 5. Nathan Moran (capt), 6. Danny Haines, 7. Craig Owen, 8. Darren Massingham, 9. Rory May, 10. Damian Markman, 11. Liam Hibbert. Subs: 12. Justin Rowe (for Markman, 63), 14. Trialist (for Owen, 73), 15. Trialist (for Hibbert, 71), 16. John Daniels (for Haines, ht), 17. Trialist (for Branch, ht), X. Andy Ling, GK. Dale Belford (for Breedon, 54), 11. Liam Hibbert (returned for May, 85)

Stafford Rangers (red/red/red): 1. Will Smith, 2. Paul Groves, 3. Nathan Talbott, 4. Liam Murray, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 6. Levi Reid, 7. Lee Downes, 8. Neil Grayson, 9. Peter Thomson, 10. Dave Walker, 11. Danny Edwards. Subs: 12. Fife (for Thomson, 63), 14. Alex Gibson (for Groves, 63), 15. Nathan Smith (for Walker, 63), 16. Chris Milliard (for Edwards, 77), 17. Alex Gibbons (for Reid, 68), X. Dave Woodwine (for Grayson, 81), GK. Lewis Solly (not used).

Referee: Danny Gratton.

0-1 Peter Thomson (12)
0-2 Wayne Daniel (17)
0-3 Gary Fife (89)

Sutton: none
Stafford: none