Stafford Rangers 2 Hinckley United 3

Saturday 12th November 2005
Stafford Rangers 2 Hinckley United 3
Nationwide North
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Programme: £2 (48 pages)
Attendance: 964
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 46:56; second-half: 48:10

The ‘Manager of the Month curse’ struck again as Conference North leaders Stafford Rangers were left stunned by Hinckley United’s last minute winner.

Before the game, Stafford boss Phil Robinson received a large bottle of Champagne to mark his second Manager of the Month award of the season.

Stafford got the game underway attacking the Shed/Town End in the first half and defening into a low sun. They dominated the first half and Danny Edwards should have put away a simple chance after just 3 minutes. With an open goal to aim at, the winger sidefooted against the bar after Nathan Talbott burst through the visitors defence.

Hinckley were fortunate to retain all eleven players when midfielder Richard Lavery escaped with just a yellow card for a crunching two-footed tackle on Stafford’s leading scorer Nathan Smith.

It was no surprise when Rangers took the lead in the 14th minute, after Smith hit an angled shot on target from the left corner of the area. Goalkeeper Danny Haystead failed to hold and the ball went in off own defender Brad Piercewright under pressure from Peter Thomson.

The home side kept up the attack and Thomson sent a low drive flashing past the post.

As the interval approached, Hinckley got more into the game and levelled in first half injury time. Lee Colkin slotted home a low cross from Marc McGregor at close range.

The visitors stunned Boro by taking the lead six minutes after the resrart. Jamie Lenton took advantage of poor defending to drill a low shot past Dean Williams from 10 yards out. McGregor fired over the bar as Hinckely looked to extend their advantage.

However, substitute Levi Reid was unlucky not to equalise with a low shot from 25 yards that rebounded off the left-hand post with Haystead beaten.

Eventually, Stafford’s pressure was turned into a levelling 77th minute goal. Neil Grayson headed down a Reid cross for Thomson to slot home.

Rangers mounted a storming finish, and had Hinckley hanging on for what looked like a point, until they conceded a 90th minute winner on the break. Substitutes Jemaine Palmer and Owen Story combined with the latter scoring with a low shot that cost Stafford top spot in the table.

The visitors should have added a fourth in injury time. Lenton got on the end of a pass from Palmer inside the six-yard box but the ball somehow went over the bar.

Nathan Talbott was named Non-League Paper Star Man and the Sponsors’ Man of the Match as well.

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes / black / black): 1. Dean Williams, 2. Paul Groves, 3. Nathan Talbott, 4. Alan Dodd, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 6. Neil Grayson, 7. Craig Lovatt, 8. Kevin Street, 9. Peter Thomson, 10. Nathan Smith, 11. Danny Edwards. Subs: 12. Liam Murray (not used), 14. Levi Reid (for Edwards, 61), 15. Dave Walker (not used), 16. Alex Gibson (not used), 17. Robin Gibson (for Smith, 87).

Hinckley United (blue/blue/red): 1. Dan Haystead, 2. Neil Cartwright, 3. Jamie Lenton, 4. Richard Lavery, 5. Carl Heeley (capt), 6. Brad Piercewright, 7. Stuart Storer, 8. Leon Jackson, 9. Marc McGregor, 10. Laurant Cluzel, 11. Lee Colkin. Subs: 12. Andy Brown (not used), 14. Jermaine Palmer (for McGregor, 72), 15. Sam Shilton (not used), 16. Owen Story (for Cluzel, 81), 17. Leigh Platnauer (not used).

Referee: E. J. Tarry (Wythenshawe)
Assistants: R. J. Woodward (Congleton) and S. P. Wright (Sale).

1-0 Brad Piercewright (14 og)
1-1 Lee Colkin (45+2)
1-2 Jamie Lenton (51)
2-2 Peter Thomson (77)
2-3 Owen Story (90)

Stafford: none
Hinckley: Richard Lavery (YC, 7), Laurant Cluzel (YC, 39), Owen Story (YC, 90)