Stafford Rangers 2 Forest Green Rovers 1

Saturday 4th February 2006
Stafford Rangers 2 Forest Green Rovers 1
FA Carlsberg Trophy Third Round
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 1178

Stafford Rangers thoroughly deserved to claim a second Nationwide Conference scalp in as many rounds from this very tight game.

The Nationwide North leaders took the lead early on through Craig Lovatt and veteran Neil Grayson scored the winner in the second half after Guy Madjo levelled moments just before the interval.

Delighted Phil Robinson, the first manager to lead Stafford into the quarter finals for 16 years, said: “Fair play to our lads. They stood up to a very physical and strong team, and over the course of 90 minutes deserved to win the game.”

Rangers went ahead on 12 minutes in their first serious attack with a superb finish. Receiving a pass from Robin Gibson, Kevin Street cleverly lifted the ball over the visiting defence into the path of long-serving Lovatt who volleyed home from twelve yards out.

Madjo and Johnnie Hayes both wasted good chances before Stafford survived a scare on 34 minutes. A long ball from Sekani Simpson rebounded off the left-hand post.

However, Forest Green eventually turned pressure into an equaliser in first-half injury time. Alsop headed a long ball down to Madjo who lifted the ball home.

Lovatt headed wide at the start of the second half but it wasn’t long before Stafford got back in front on 54 minutes. Street, inside the area on the left, fired towards the far post. The diving Clarke could only push the ball to Grayson and the ball rebounded into the net.

Forest Green threw plenty of bodies into attack but found the tightest Nationwide North defence in no mood to concede.

Dean Williams, like Grayson playing against his former club, pulled off three great saves during the last 14 minutes. He blocked a near-post shot from Madjo and also tipped over efforts from Bruno Teixeira and Hayes.

Grayson could have put the result beyond doubt when he blasted over after receiving the ball from Robin Gibson.

Dramatically, with seconds remaining in injury time, substitute Teixeria was inches away from an equaliser. He slid in at the far post and just failed to get on the end of a shot from Alex Meechan across the face of goal.

Star Man: Kevin Street (Stafford)
Entertainment: 3.

Star Man: Kevin Street.
Entertainment: 3 out of 5.

Stafford Rangers: Williams, Groves, Talbott, McAughtrie, Daniel, Lovatt, Murray, Street, Grayson, Thomson, R. Gibson. Unused subs: Reid, Smith, Walker, Downes, Edwards.

Forest Green Rovers: Clarke, Simpson, Sall, Graham, Searle (Bessley, 66), Meechan, Wanless, Gadsby (Teixeira, 82), Hayes, Alsop, Madjo. Unused subs: Garner, Harrison, Rendell.

Goals: Lovatt (12), Madjo (45), Grayson (54).

Bookings: Hayes (FGR, 75).

Referee: R. Fletcher (Derby).