Tuesday 25th July 2006

Leek Town 1 Stafford Rangers 1
Pre-season Friendly
At: Harrison Park
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 162
Weather: sunny
Duration: first-half: 44:54; second-half: 44:55

A headed goal from former skipper Lee Barrow, scored early in the second half, looked like to condemn Stafford Rangers to a rare pre-season defeat until Nathan Talbott scored a late equaliser.

Talbott, who played in a more attacking role at Harrison Park, tapped in at close range in the 84th minute after Leek keeper Mark Kearns could only parry a shot from Pat Bannister.

Boro Manager Phil Robinson started with Alex Gibson, Ged Murphy and Delapo Olaoye in what was a familiar line-up. Missing were Robin Gibson, Craig Lovatt, Danny Edwards and Nathan Smith.

It was Stafford who dominated the opening half and Kearns pulled off several fine saves to keep Leek on level terms.

Early on, the keeper tipped over a shot from Neil Grayson and from the resulting corner Talbott saw a shot cleared off the line by Rob Hawthorne.

Olaoye headed over from eight-yards out before Kearns denied both Wayne Daniel and Grayson with acrobatic saves.

Grayson headed over and a chip from Murphy didn’t miss by much as Boro continued to threaten the home goal with Craig McAughtrie also driving over from well outside the area.

Dean Williams was rarely troubled but, just before the interval, he held a curling free-kick from Barrow.

Rangers continued to cause problems and Hawthorne made another goal line clearance, this time to keep out a McAughtrie header.

But Leek stunned Boro by taking the lead in the 53rd minute. Barrow, who recently arrived from Hednesford Town, headed home a near-post corner delivered by Dave MacPherson.

Stafford were denied two clear-cut penalties, one for a foul on Dave Walker and another for handball, and it didn’t look as if it was going to be Stafford’s night.

However, with time running out, Talbott got into the area unchallenged to score the equaliser.

Leek Town (blue / blue / sky blue): 1. Mark Kearns, 2. Rob Hawthorne, 3. Adam Yates, 4. Ashley Wooliscroft (capt), 5. Paul Booth, 6. Lee Barrow, 7. Mark Devlin, 8. Dave MacPherson, 9. Alan Nagington, 10. Dan Booth, 11. Jordan Johnson. Subs: 12. Sam Wood (for Nagington, 78), 14. Dave Tickle (not used), 15. Tom Barnett (for Dan Booth, 70), 16. Kevin Jackson (for Wooliscroft, 85).

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes / black / black): 1. Dean Williams (Alcock, ht), 2. Alex Gibson (Walker, ht), 3. Nathan Talbott, 4. Craig McAughtrie, 5. Wayne Daniel, 6. Ged Murphy (Osborn, ht), 7. Lee Downes (Dacres, 81), 8. Kevin Street, 9. Neil Grayson (Bannister, 81), 10. Dolapo Olaoye (F. Francis, ht (A. Francis, 88)), 11. Liam Murray (Milliard, 88). Subs: 17gk. Danny Alcock (for Williams, ht), 12. Dave Walker (for Gibson, ht), 14. Francino Francis (for Olaoye, ht), 16. Simon Osborn (for Murphy, ht), 2. Christian Dacres (for Downes, 81), 15. Pat Bannister (for Grayson, 81), 3. Chris Milliard (for Murray, 88), 4. Andre Francis (for Francino Francis, 88), 17. Ed Booth (not used), x. Jemiah Richards (not used).

Referee: Nigel Day (Kidsgrove).
Assistants: Simon Bennett (Kidsgrove) and Oliver Yates (Newcastle).