Tuesday 21st February 2006

Vauxhall Motors 1 Stafford Rangers 3
Nationwide North
At: Rivacre Road
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 198

Stafford Rangers’ lead at the top of the Nationwide North table returned to eight points following a tenth away victory in the league this season.

While Nuneaton Borough were left frustrated with a goalless draw at home to Worcester City, Neil Grayson, Paul Groves and Robin Gibson all found the net at a cold and windswept Rivacre Park.

Unlike Leigh RMI, bottom club Vauxhall Motors clearly want all three points and went on the attack from the kick-off. Their lively front line caused problems with both Mark Smyth and Thomas Rooney, cousin of Wayne, firing wide.

There was further danger from a Mike Garrity corner when Steve McNulty headed straight at Dean Williams.

Rangers took a while to get going as the home side’s defence proved difficult to penetrate.

Peter Thomson, recalled to the side in place of Nathan Smith, almost put Rangers ahead on 26 minutes. He beat the diving Tim Dittmer with an angled shot, only the see the ball rebound off the far post.

But Boro took the lead eight minutes later. Unchallenged Grayson stayed onside to head home a cross from Groves.

The goal, arguably against the run of play, gave Rangers a lift and they looked to increase their advantage, Dittmer pulled off a remarkable save to turn over a shot from Thomson and Craig Lovatt fired over from a great position.

However, Vauxhall equalised on 43 minutes. Grayson was harshly adjudged to have handled a shot from Wayne McDermott inside a crowded area and Rooney converted the resulting penalty.

Craig McAughtrie received his fifth booking of the season, for dissent, in injury time, and will now be suspended for the home game with Stalybridge.

McDermott was fortunate to stay on the field for a late challenge on Gibson which reserved more than a booking.

It took Boro just nine minutes of the second half to regain the lead. Kevin Street delivered a free kick into the area and Groves headed past Dittmer.

To their credit, Vauxhall forced Boro to work hard at the back and Liam Murray justified his recall with a solid performance at left back.

The home side, who threw on three fresh attackers, were restricted to a handful of speculative shots which all missed the target.

The tension was finally lifted in injury time when Rangers added a third on the break. Smith found the persistent Gibson inside the area who eventually slotted home after Dittmer initially thwarted the winger.

Match Facts

Vauxhall Motors: Dittmer, Moogan, McDermott, Brazier, McNulty, Glendenning, Garrity, Rooney, Smyth, Lawton, Lawless. Subs: O’Donnell (for Glendenning, 73), Cumiskey (for Smyth, 76), Martindale (for Lawless, 80), Duffy, Field.

Stafford Rangers: Williams, Groves, Talbott, McAughtrie, Daniel, Lovatt, Murray, Street, Grayson, Thomson, R. Gibson. Subs: Smith (for Thomson, 61), Reid, Walker, Downes, Edwards.

Bookings: McDermott, Garrity (both Vauxhall); McAughtrie (Rangers).

Referee: R. Pollock (Merseyside).