Tuesday 26th February 2008

Histon 3 Stafford Rangers 3
Blue Square Premier
At: Glassworld Stadium
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 527

Stafford Rangers scored two very late goals to gain an unlikely point and extend their unbeaten run to four games. It looked game over when Ekan Okay made it 3-1 to Histon in the 81st minute but Damion Jarrett converted a penalty and Djoumin Sangare struck an injury-time equaliser. Earlier, goals from Danny Wright scored either side of the interval put Histon in command before Neil Grayson reduced the deficit having earlier missed a penalty.

Injuries forced Stafford to make two changes to the starting line-up with Matt Hazley and Ross Draper coming in for Steve Hopkinson and Marco Adaggio who both limped off during the first half of last Saturday’s game.

There were few clear-cut chances created in the first half, through Histon had an early 'goal' Nathaniel Knight-Percival disallowed for pushing. Rangers defender Chris Flynn saw a header cleared off the line in the 34th minute but there was no real sign of the six-goal thriller that unfolded.

The Rangers’ defence was forced to work hard as Histon, employing a very direct style of play synonymous with their coach John Beck, caused plenty of problems from set-pieces and long throws.

And it was from a corner that Histon took the lead in first-half injury time. Knight-Percival headed the ball on and Danny Wright flicked it home at close range.

Stafford quickly got forward and Grayson was felled in the box by Patrick Ada. He picked himself up, only to send the resulting penalty over the bar.

Early in the second half, Danny Alcock maintained his excellent recent form with a superb reaction save to keep out Matt Mitchel-King’s header.

Grayson’s miss looked like proving costly especially when Wright doubled his side’s advantage with a 57th-minute tap in.

But the veteran made amends by reducing the deficit in the 70th minute with a brave header from Courtney’s Shaw’s left-wing cross.

An error by Richie Sutton allowed Histon to restore their two-goal advantage in the 81st minute. The defender, attempting to clear Wright’s cross, helped the ball on to Erkan Okay at the far right-hand post who headed home.

Bull urged his side to chase every ball and got another opportunity from the spot in the 89th minute. Histon fans and their manager, Steve Fallon, were puzzled when referee Guy Stretton awarded a penalty for a push on Grayson by Rosoce Hipperson. Jarrett took responsibility and confidently netted his first Stafford goal.

Stafford kept up the pressure and keeper Danny Naisbitt somehow kept out a long-range effort from Kevin Street.

Substitute Ishmale Reid, on his debut, then lofted a free-kick forward into a packed area in the second minute of stoppage time. Flynn headed it down and Sangare fired past Naisbitt to extend Rangers’ unbeaten run to four games.

The drama didn’t end there. Stafford survived a Histon corner and Reid tried his luck with a long-range lob that didn’t miss by much.

Histon (red/black/black): 21. Danny Naisbitt, 24. Craig Pope, 30. Patrick Ada, 4. Mat Mitchel-King, 25. Gareth Gwillim, 10. Antonio Murray, 6. Adrian Cambridge (capt), 7. John Kennedy, 18. Nathanial Knight-Percival, 23. Daniel Wright, 33. Jack Midson. Subs: 3. Erkan Okay (for Cambridge, 75), 11. Jamie Barker (for Midson, 85), 15. Roscoe Hipperson (for Pope, 85), 1. Lance Key, 17. Robbie Nightingale

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes/white/red): 1. Danny Alcock, 38. Alex Gibson, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 2. Richie Sutton, 7. Chris Flynn, 37. Matt Hazley, 8. Kevin Street, 17. Ross Draper, 19. Seb Arnolin, 9. Neil Grayson, 35 Damion Jarrett. Subs: 40. Courtnet Shaw (for Arnolin, 55), 6. Djoumin Sangare (for Gibson, 70), 30. Ishmale Reid (for Hazley, 85), 16. Tom Ingram, 39. Keenan Meakin-Richards

Referee: Guy Stretton (Leicester)
Attendance: 527

The original match report was written for and published on the now defunct www.staffordrangers.co.uk

Saturday 23rd February 2008 (3-00 pm)

Halifax Town 0 Stafford Rangers 0
Blue Square Premier at Shay Stadium
Attendance: 1103

With new manager Steve Bull MBE giving instructions from the technical area, Stafford Rangers gained a hard-fought point from a goalless draw at Shay Stadium.

Dolapo Oloaye’s injury meant there was one enforced change to the starting line-up with Marco Adaggio partnering Neil Grayson up front. Ross Draper returned from suspension with a place on the bench though he replaced Steve Hopkinson in the 26th minute.

Halifax got the game under way on a playing surface used the previous evening for Rugby League. The home side attacked the away end at Shay Stadium and, after just 16 seconds, Danny Alcock got down to his right to hold a low long-range shot from Simon Heslop.

Seb Arnolin also tried his luck inside the first minute from well outside the area and fired wide of the left-hand post.

Steve Bull, who began the game seated at the back of the dugout, was quickly on his feet in the technical area and remained there until the final whistle.

Halifax did most of the early attacking and Heslop drive straight at Alcock from 25-yards out. Tom Kearney and Jon Shaw combined to set up Craig Nelthorpe who shot over from no more than 10 yards out.

On the quarter hour, Jon Shaw set up Craig Nelthorpe who fired over from 10 yards out. Alcock was certainly kept on his toes and produced a good save in the 20th minute. Nathan Joynes fed Jon Shaw who saw a rising drive from 15 yards tipped over by the Rangers keeper at the expense of a corner.

Kearney was next to test Alcock. The busy keeper got down to his left to hold a low 25-yards drive. Joynes also headed wide as the home side continued to press for a goal.

Rangers were forced to make a change in the 26th minute when Ross Draper came on for the injured Steve Hopkinson. Arnolin switched to left and the Frenchman was given instructions by his new manager. Marco Adaggio also limped off and was replaced in the 41st minute by Courtney Shaw.

Halifax made a change for the start of the second half with Andy Campbell replacing Joynes.

Chris Flynn chipped the ball forward into the Halifax area. Damion Jarrett, tightly marked by Adam Quinn got on the end but his shot lacked direction.

Halifax appealed for a penalty when Jon Shaw went down inside the area but, fortunately for Rangers, referee Webb allowed play to continue.

In the next attack, Quinn bravely got his head to Nelthorpe’s cross and sent the ball narrowly wide.

The home side made a second change on the hour with Lewis Kileen replacing former Stafford loanee Anthony Griffith.

Ross Draper was booked in the 62nd minute for a foul on Tom Kearney.

Halifax went even closer to taking the lead in the 63rd minute. Shaw took the ball forward and hit a low drive which beat the diving Alcock only to rebound off the right-hand post.

Quinn again went close to breaking the deadlock with a powerful header which Alcock tipped over.

Rangers brought on Matt Hazley in the 65th minute in place of Arnolin.

With the game really opened up, Heslop’s long-range drive took a deflection off Flynn and out for another home corner. Alcock held a 25-yard shot from Kearney at the second attempt.

Rangers won their second corner in the 79th minute, delivered into the six-yard box by Hazley, and both Neil Grayson and Wayne Daniel just failed to apply the finishing touch.

Alcock produced yet another save when he tipped over a rising shot from Kearney.

In the 86th minute, Kevin Street took the ball forward down the middle and laid it to Courtney Shaw in space on the left. The substitute played it back to Street who fired at Adam Legzdins.

Flynn was booked in stoppage time for a foul on Killeen and just before the final whistle, Richie Sutton made a vital tackle on the edge of the Stafford area.

Halifax Town (blue/white/blue): 21. Adam Legzdins, 18. Gareth Davies, 4. Tom Clarke, 5. Adam Quinn, 3. Matt Doughty, 27. Simon Heslop, 6. Tom Kearney (capt), 19. Anthony Griffith, 16. Craig Nelthorpe, 11. Jon Shaw, 26. Nathan Joynes. Subs: 8. Andy Campbell (for Joynes, ht), 10. Lewis Kileen (for Griffith, 60), 9. Darryn Stamp, 14. Jake Wright, 28. Mark Whitehouse

Stafford Rangers (all red): 1. Danny Alcock, 38. Alex Gibson, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 2. Richie Sutton, 7. Chris Flynn, 35. Damion Jarrett, 8. Kevin Street, 19. Seb Arnolin, 24. Steve Hopkinson, 20. Marco Adaggio, 9. Neil Grayson. Subs: 17. Ross Draper (for Hopkinson, 26), 40. Courtney Shaw (for Adaggio, 40), 37. Matt Hazley (for Arnolin, 65), 6. Djoumin Sangare, 16. Tom Ingram

Referee: D. Webb (Durham)
Attendance: 1103

This match report was originally written for and published on the now defunct www.staffordrangers.co.uk

Saturday 16th February 2008 (3-00 pm)

Forest Green Rovers 1 Stafford Rangers 2
Blue Square Premier at The New Lawn
Attendance: 1093

Goals from caretaker managers Neil Grayson and Kevin Street fired Stafford Rangers to a second successive victory in the Blue Square Premier.

Grayson took full advantage of a defensive error to give Rangers a 12th-minute lead and Street fired home the winner midway through the second half. Former Stafford midfielder Michael Brough had levelled things up in the 35th minute.

Just like they did for the abandoned game at Histon, Grayson and Street named an unchanged side, keeping faith with the line-up that started the win over Weymouth last Saturday. Nathan Smith and Matt Hazley returned to the bench from injury but David McNiven was missing after being loaned to Farsley Celtic.

Rangers decided to attack the covered home end in the first half forcing Forest Green to defend into the low sun.

The home side got the game under way and Adriano Rigoglioso sent an early volley wide of the target.

Street tried his luck from well outside the area and his effort drifted wide of the right-hand post.

A deep cross from Alex Gibson was headed out at the far post by Chris Giles for Rangers’ first corner in around three hours of football [the previous one was in the 79th minute of the Tamworth FA Trophy replay].

The corner was cleared but Rangers will soon celebrating a goal in the 12th minute. Ryan Robinson sliced a clearance from Anthony Tonkin’s backpass straight to unmarked Grayson who sent a right-foot volley straight into an unguarded net.

Rovers immediately put Rangers under pressure by winning a corner themselves.

Gibson played a free-kick forward into the home area and Grayson got in a back header which Robinson held.

Danny Alcock, named Star Man by both the Non-League Paper and Non-League Today, pulled off an outstanding save in the 21st minute. Rigoglioso hammered a goalbound shot from 12 yards out and the Stafford keeper dived to his right to keep the ball out with a one-handed save. The danger was cleared at the expense of a corner from which Brough headed wide.

Seb Arnolin saw an effort blocked by Jamie Pitman before Marco Adaggio replaced the injured Dolapo Oloaye in the 31st minute.

The home side started to really threaten and Wayne Daniel got in the way of a 25-yard shot from Rigoglioso. But Rangers were out of luck in the 35th minute when Brough, who made one Rangers appearance a few seasons ago, fired into the top left corner from the edge of the area.

Rigoglioso quickly got forward in search of another goal for his side and his 12-yard shot was saved by Alcock.

With Stafford needing to work hard at the back, Adaggio relieved a bit of pressure by taking the ball forward to the end of the Rovers area but curled a shot wide. The striker also volleyed over the bar.

As the interval approached, Grayson met Chris Flynn’s cross and headed wide. Rangers had to survive four corners in quick succession during three minutes of first-half stoppage time.

Soon after the restart, Rigoglioso turned inside the area and hit a low shot which Alcock got down to hold.

Forest Green made their first change in the 50th minute when Les Afful replaced Jamie Pitman.

Arnolin got into a good position and drove across the face of the home goal. Another effort from Damion Jarrett took a deflection and went out for a corner. With Rangers keeping up the attack, Jarrett forced a fine block out of Robinson. Grayson pounced on the loose ball only to be flagged offside.

Richie Sutton went into the book for a foul of Rigoglioso and both players were soon replaced with Djoumin Sangare coming on for Rangers.

On the hour, a long-range shot from Grayson bounced awkwardly inside the area and Robinson failed to hold. However, the keeper claimed at the second attempt as Adaggio closed in.

Rangers were eventually rewarded for their efforts, scoring what proved to be the winner in the 67th minute. Street rifled a low shot into the bottom left corner from just outside the area. Hopkinson almost made it three when his shot rebounded off Robinson’s knee. Adaggio also fired wide.

With the home crowd starting to get a bit restless with their team’s performance, John Hardiker was booked for a foul on Adaggio. Grayson’s name also entered the referee’s notebook for persistent fouling. The referee became card happy in what was a good natured contest by adding the names of Sangare (85th), Hopkinson (90th) and Matt Hazley (90th) before the end.

Welsh cut into the area from the left and fired a low shot which Alcock superbly blocked. In the 85th minute, following a foul by Sangare on Brough 25 yards out, Alex Lawless fired the resulting free-kick against the right-hand post.

Further changes saw Forest Green replace substitute Lee Dodgson with Mark Preece and Matt Hazley come on for Damion Jarrett.

Four minutes of stoppage time was indicated by the fourth official, during which Adaggio get his head to a long ball down the middle that Robinson rushed off his line to hold.

Boos were heard at The New Lawn as Rangers celebrated their first ever points against Forest Green after three previous league defeats.

Forest Green Rovers (black and white stripes/black/black): 1. Ryan Robinson, 4. Darren Jones, 5. Chris Giles, 11. John Hardiker, 3, Anthony Tonkin, 2. Alex Lawless, 10. Michael Brough (capt), 6. Jamie Pitman, 16. Ishmael Welsh, 9. Adriano Rigoglioso, 14, Stuart Fleetwood. Subs: 17. Les Afful (for Pitman, 50), 22. Lee Dodgson (for Rigoglioso, 58), 12. Mark Preece (for Dodgson, 84), 20. Jonathan Smith, 23, Danny Carey-Bertram

Stafford Rangers (all red): 1. Danny Alcock, 38. Alex Gibson, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 2. Richie Sutton, 7. Chris Flynn, 35. Damion Jarrett, 8. Kevin Street, 19. Seb Arnolin, 24. Steve Hopkinson, 11. Dolapo Olaoye, 9. Neil Grayson. Subs: 6. 20. Marco Adaggio (for Olaoye, 31), Djoumin Sangare (for Sutton, 59), 37. Matt Hazley (for Jarrett, 86), 15. Nathan Smith, 16. Tom Ingram

Referee: Steve Cummins (Cheshire)
Attendance: 1093 (inc 76 away fans)

This match report was originally written for and published on the now defunct www.staffordrangers.co.uk

Tuesday 12th February 2008 (7-45 pm)

Histon 0 Stafford Rangers 0
Blue Square Premier at the Glassworld Stadium
Attendance: 473

Stafford Rangers were left frustrated by thick fog at Histon when well on course to following up Saturday's win over Weymouth with another good result.

Mist frequently came and went before the interval and suddenly started getting thicker during the opening stages of the second half. Eventually, the match was abandoned in the 64th minute with the scoreline still goalless when neither assistant referee could see the opposite touchline. Match referee Guy Stretton allowed five or so minutes for the fog to lift and when it didn't he informed both captains of his decision to call a premature end. The teams will try again on Tuesday 26th February with reduced admission for fans who picked up a voucher.

Neil Grayson and Kevin Street named an unchanged startling line-up. Djimi Sangare returned from suspension with a place on the bench and replaced injured Chris Flynn at half-time.

Histon got proceedings under way at the Glassworld Stadium with Rangers attacking the Bridge Road end of the ground.

A long throw from Adrian Cambridge in the second minute set up the game's first chance. The ball wasn't cleared and Antonio Murray headed weakly at Danny Alcock.

Dolapo Olaoye got forward and only a saving tackle by last defender Mat Mitchel-King prevented the Rangers striker getting clear into the area.

Mitchel-King headed over from Cambridge's corner while Damion Jarrett tried his luck from well outside the area and didn't miss by much.

Skipper Wayne Daniel was alert inside the Boro area to prevent Murray getting a shooting chance.

All that action came in the opening 8 minutes before chances became scarce for a while.

John Kennedy drove over the Stafford bar in the 17th minute.

Stafford enjoyed a good spell after the halfway mark of the first half. Grayson got between two defenders but couldn't get on the end of an accurate cross from Jarrett.

Street laid the ball into the path of Seb Arnolin who fired over from fully 30 yards out. Steve Hopkinson got forward to the edge of the Histon area and shot weakly at Danny Naisbitt who gathered up.

The game's first serious scoring opportunity was created just before the half hour. Street went for goal with a 30-yard right-foot shot which looked to be heading for the bottom left corner before Naisbitt got down to make a save.

Grayson got in a back header from Hopkinson's throw and Naisbitt made a routine catch.

In the 33rd minute, Histon were awarded a free-kick just outside the Stafford area for a foul on Kennedy. Gareth Gwillim tapped it short to Cambridge who hit a well-struck drive which Alcock blocked. The ball, which ended up out on the left, was crossed back into the danger zone and Erkan Okay fired over from the edge of the area.

The home side got forward again with Mitchel-king heading over Okay's cross.

Daniel was booked for a clumsy challenge on Murray in the 41st minute. The booking, like the later on received by Jack Midson, isn't wiped from the records.

Just before the break, Cambridge launched another long throw and Alcock blocked a close-range shot from Midson.

Sangare entered the action at the start of the second half in place of the injured Flynn.

Soon after the restart, Midson drove across the face of the Stafford goal from the left and wide of the far post.

Midson received his yellow card in the 52nd minute for a late challenge on Richie Sutton.

In the 54th minute, a left-wing cross (probably) by Nathanial Knight-Percival came over out of the fog into the Rangers area. Midson jumped with Alcock but his header lacked direction.

Rangers were comfortable against a side employing direct tactics and had a chance to take the lead. A poor clearance from Naisbitt fell to Arnolin some 40 yards out. The midfielder hit a first-time lob which didn't miss the unguarded net by much.

Knight-Percival got in a looping header from Okay's cross which ended up in the safe hands of Alcock.

In the 62nd minute, Marco Adaggio replaced Hopkinson, who had received treatment a few minutes before. But before Rangers' three-pronged attack could make an impact, the referee was forced to call a halt 18 minutes and 44 seconds into the second half.

Histon: 21. Danny Naisbitt, 24. Craig Pope, 30. Patrick Ada, 4. Mat Mitchel-King, 25. Gareth Gwillim, 3. Erkan Okay, 6. Adrian Cambridge (capt), 7. John Kennedy, 18. Nathaniel Knight-Percival, 10. Antonio Murray, 33. Jack Midson. Subs: 1. Lance Key, 17. Robbie Nightingale, 23. Daniel Wright, 5. Matt Langston, 11. Jamie Barker (all not used)

Stafford Rangers: 1. Danny Alcock, 38. Alex Gibson, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 2. Richie Sutton, 7. Chris Flynn, 35. Damion Jarrett, 8. Kevin Street, 19. Seb Arnolin, 24. Steve Hopkinson, 11. Dolapo Olaoye, 9. Neil Grayson. Subs: 6. Djoumin Sangare (for Flynn, ht), 20. Marco Adaggio (for Hopkinson, 62), 10. David McNiven, 16. Tom Ingram, 40. Courtney Shaw

Referee: Guy Stretton (Leicester)
Attendance: 473

This match report was originally written for and published on the now defunct www.staffordrangers.co.uk

Saturday 9th February 2008 (3-00 pm)

Stafford Rangers 2 Weymouth 1
Blue Square Premier at Marston Road
Attendance: 591

Stafford Rangers were finally able to celebrate their first home league win of the season after Courtney Shaw, on his debut, scored a late winner.

The winger, who was part of the County Senior League and Reserve setup, forced the ball over the line at close range in the 86th minute, not long after coming on as a substitute.

Earlier, in the Marston Road sunshine, Neil Grayson headed Rangers into a 29th-minute lead and Gavin McCallum levelled for the visitors in the 73rd minute.

The win, coupled with Droylsden's home defeat, lifts Rangers off the bottom into 23rd position in the Blue Square Premier table.

Injuries and suspensions meant an unfamiliar starting line-up. Regulars Richie Sutton and Neil Grayson both returned while Alex Gibson was given a first start since returning from Droylsden. Seb Arnolin and Steve Hopkinson also came into the starting line-up. New signings Keenan Meakin-Richards and Courtney Shaw were both named on the bench.

After Weymouth kicked off, Stafford, attacking the Social Club end, were the first side to threaten. However, the visitors had the first attempt on goal. Michael Malcolm crossed to the far post from the right to the unmarked Anton Robinson who fired in rising shot towards goal. But Danny Alcock was there to pull off an outstanding save and tip the ball over.

The save triggered two corners in quick succession and, from the second, Kyle Critchell hooked the ball over the bar.

Grayson flicked on a long clearance into the path of Dolapo Olaoye who shot past the advancing Jason Matthews and just wide of the left-hand post.

The game was certainly an even one and Rangers created another chance in the 17th minute. Damion Jarrett's free-kick was cleared to Kevin Street 25 yard out who fired towards goal. But the ball took a deflection, lost pace and Mathews comfortably saved.

Weymouth got forward down the right. Alcock failed to hold Critchell's cross but Marcus Browning sent the loose ball over the bar. James Coutts then got in a looping header which Alcock held.

The deadlock was broken in the 29th minute. Jarrett delivered a perfect free-kick from the right towards the far post where Grayson rose to send a header into the net wide of Matthews.

Weymouth were awarded a free-kick for a foul by Sutton on Stuart Beavon just outside the area. Paolo Vernazza played the ball into the area and, unlike Grayson minutes earlier, Browning sent his header over the bar.

As the interval approached, Alcock gathered up a low weak shot from Browning and the Rangers keeper dived bravely at the feet of Coutts who looked to get on the end of Vernazza's throughball.

Weymouth made a strong start to the second half. Coutts hammered a free-kick into the wall but the ball wasn't cleared and Rangers were perhaps relieved to see a raised flag for offside.

The visitors made two changes and went three at the back. One of the newcomers, Simon Weatherstone started to immediately pose problems and forced a diving save out of Alcock. The same player also drilled another shot wide of the target.

In the 57th minute, Scott Doe became the first of two Weymouth players to see 'yellow', receiving his for a foul on Jarrett.

On the hour, the other substitute Nick Crittenden fired across the face of the Rangers goal from the right and wide of the far post.

Two corners within a couple of minutes followed from the visitors and Grayson cleared a deflected shot from Weatherstone off the line. From yet another corner, the ball wasn't cleared and Doe fired over.

Stafford made a first change and Alex Gibson, who had looked composed in his familiar right-back role, was replaced by Tom Ingram.

In the 72nd minute, Jarrett fed Olaoye got past a couple of defenders and shot past the advancing Matthews. The ball drifted wide.

Weymouth boss John Hollins made a third and final change in the 72nd minute and the glove-wearing Gavin McCallum made an immediate impact. Barely a minute after coming on for Macolm, he headed past Alcock from 15 yards to level things up.

Before play resumed, Marco Adaggio in his orange boots replaced Arnolin.

Jarrett certainly can deliver an accurate free-kick and created a great chance for Grayson. The joint player-manager thumped a shot inches wide of the left-hand post. Shortly after Jarrett crossed into the area, Grayson helped the ball on and Daniel, up with the attack, headed straight at Matthews.

Browning was booked in the 78th minute for a foul on Jarrett.

Found by Steve Hopkinson on the left, Adaggio cut infield but ended up firing well wide of the far post.

Weymouth pressed forward and there was danger for Rangers when Vernazza headed wide at the far post. In the next attack, Beavon drove just wide of the left-hand post while at the other end, Adaggio's overhead kick flew wide.

'Cometh the hour, cometh the man'. In the 83rd minute the fourth official held up his board which read '40 24' and Shaw replaced Hopkinson.

Three minutes later, Shaw became a hero. A scramble ensued after Jarrett played a free-kick into a populated area and the substitute forced the ball home. Yes!!!!!!

Weymouth, needing points to keep clear of the relegation picture, piled men forward and Grayson dropped back as an extra defender.

Weatherstone tried his luck from just outside the area and somehow lifted his shot so high that the linesmans' flags would, no doubt been raised at Twickenham to indicate a conversion.

Joking aside, Vernazza almost spoilt the day in the 90th minute by firing past Alcock against the left-hand post. Four minutes of stoppage time was indicated and, in it, Vernazza's corner wasn't cleared and Weatherstone sent his shot side from 15 yards out.

The win improves Rangers' recent record against Weymouth since the Millennium to 9 victories out of 12 meetings. Today's win was the fourth in a row against the Terras and a 'double' for the second consecutive season.

Stafford Rangers: 1. Danny Alcock, 38. Alex Gibson, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 2. Richie Sutton, 7. Chris Flynn, 35. Damion Jarrett, 8. Kevin Street, 19. Seb Arnolin, 24. Steve Hopkinson, 11. Dolapo Oloaye, 9. Neil Grayson. Unused subs: 16. Tom Ingram (for Gibson, 68), 20. Marco Adaggio (for Arnolin, 74), 40 Courtney Shaw (for Hopkinson, 83), 10. David McNiven, 39. Keenan Meakin-Richards

Weymouth: 17. Jason Matthews, 2. Kyle Critchell, 12. Scott Doe, 26. Joe Kitamarike, 5. Narada Barnard, 6. James Coutts, 4. Marcus Browning (capt), 22. Paulo Vernazza, 11. Anton Robinson, 10. Stuart Beavon, 30. Michael Malcolm. Subs: 13. Simon Weatherstone (for Barnard, 53), 7. Nick Crittenden (for Coutts, 53), 25. Gavin McCallum (for Malcom, 72), 1. Dave Roberts, 23. Justyn Roberts

Referee: Jake Collin (Liverpool)
Attendance: 591 (inc 84 away fans)

This match report was originally written for and published on the now defunct www.staffordrangers.co.uk

Tuesday 5th February 2008

Tamworth 2 Stafford Rangers 1
FA Carlsberg Trophy Third Round Replay
At: The Lamb
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Attendance: 571

After conceding two quick goals just before the interval through Nick Wright (39th min) and Chris Nurse (43rd min), Stafford dominated the second half and Djoumin Sangare (73rd min) reduced the deficit. But in the end, the pressure couldn't be turned into an equaliser

Stafford were forced to make three changes to the side that started Saturday’s game at Marston Road. Jemiah Richards (broken foot), Ryan Lynch (end of loan spell) and Marco Adaggio (hamstring) were all missing so Chris Flynn, Tom Ingram and Dolapo Olaoye came in. Youth team defender Mike Hathaway was promoted to the subs bench.

Rangers got the game underway attacking down the slope towards the southern open end at The Lamb. But Tamworth got forward and almost took a second-minute lead. Nick Wright got into the Rangers area and hit a low shot against the left-hand post. Wayne Daniel cleared the rebound at the expense of a corner.

Stafford survived two early corners in quick succession and nearly scored from Damion Jarrett’s free-kick played into the home area. Ross Draper headed wide.

Daniel came to Rangers’ rescue in the 8th minute when he cleared off the line from Jake Sheridan’s low drive.

Rain started to fall at The Lamb. Daniel stayed up with the attack after a free-kick was partially cleared and sent a low 20-yard drive straight at Lambs’ keeper Alex Cisak.

Just after the quarter-hour mark, Danny Alcock dived to his left to push clear a well-struck shot volley from Jamie Reed, hit from the edge of the area.

A good move just outside the Tamworth area involving Kevin Street and Olaoye set up Draper who shot wide.

Midway through the half, Gareth Evans, sent off on Saturday, volleyed high over the Stafford bar.

Alcock was called intoo action again in the 33rd minute. The Stafford keeper produced a fingertip save to turn Gareth Sheldon’s rising 30-yard drive onto the bar. Chris Nurse’s follow-up effort from the rebound went wide.

There was no argument that Tamworth were creating some decent chances, aided by the wind. Evans fired over from well outside the area as he was tripped while Reed drilled a shot across the face of goal from the right and wide of the far left post.

The Lambs took the lead in the 39th minute. Wright got into the area and planted a low shot into the net past Alcock.

The lead was doubled four minutes later when Nurse headed home Des Lyttle’s deep right-wing cross.

Just before the break, Cisak failed to deal with Ingram’s hanging left-wing cross and Michael Briscoe cleared Jarrett’s shot.

Draper was booked soon after the restart, before Olaoye had the ball in the Tamworth net in the 49th minute. Jarrett was adjudged to have handled in the build up and there were no complaints.

In contrast to the first half, it was Rangers’ turn to apply the pressure. Olaoye and Street fired wide and Jarrett sent another shot over the bar from well outside the area.

Steve Hopkinson replaced injured Hazley and Neil Grayson replaced David McNiven either side of the hour mark.

Olaoye was booked for a foul on Lyttle in the 64th minute.

Rangers won their first corner, delivered by Jarrett which flashed across the face of goal before Daniel could make contact. From the third corner in a matter of minutes, Draper saw a shot blocked by a defender and Stafford appealed for penalty when Jarrett’s follow-up struck a defender. The referee indicated the ball hit the chest of the Tamworth defender.

Tamworth replaced goalscorer Wright with Matt Williams just before Rangers halved the deficit.

In the 73rd minute, Jarrett played a free-kick into the area which Sangare rose to head past Cisak. Flynn made sure the ball hit the back of the net but the concensus is that it had already crossed the line. Flynn was originally credited with the goal but it has now been given to Sangare.

Still Rangers kept battling forward and such was their dominance that Tamworth didn’t have an attempt of goal throughout the second half.

The referee wasn’t in the mood for giving a penalty as he waived away a really good claim in the 79th minute. Draper’s shot clearly hit the arm of Evans and the reaction of the travelling fans behind the goal suggested, shall we say, a difference of opinion with the man in charge.

The Lambs made a second change. Marcus Ebdon came on for Sheridan in the 84th minute and Lyttle was booked moments later for delaying a throw-in too longer than the referee required.

Sangare was pushed up as an extra forward. He picked up a pass from Olaoye and curled a right-foot wide of the right-hand post from outside the area.

Former Rangers favourite Craig McAughtrie got a good welcome from the travelling fans when he replaced Reed.

Stafford kept Tamworth under pressure. Draper chipped the ball forward into the area and Sangare sent a diving header straight at Cisak.

The home fans booed the five minutes of added time indicated by the fourth official. Deep into stoppage time, Rangers won a throw on the right. Flynn found Grayson who helped the ball on with an acrobatic overhead kick and Sangare headed over.

Tamworth: Cisak, Lyttle, Evans, Briscoe, Langdon, Sheridan (Ebdon, 80), Bampton, Nurse, Sheldon, Wright (Williams, 72), Reed (McAughtrie, 86). Unused subs: Law, Bains

Stafford Rangers: Alcock, Flynn, Daniel, Sangare, Ingram, Jarrett, Draper, Street, Hazley (Hopkinson, 57), McNiven (Grayson, 62), Olaoye. Unused subs: Hathaway, Allen, Gibson

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)
Attendance: 571

This match report was originally written for and published on the now defunct www.staffordrangers.co.uk

Saturday 2nd February 2008

Stafford Rangers 2 Tamworth 2
FA Carlsberg Trophy Third Round
At: Marston Road
Kick-off: 3-00 pm
Attendance: 1025

Stafford Rangers go into the hat for Monday’s quarter final draw but will need a replay to reach the last eight of the FA Carlsberg Trophy.

Both Kevin Street (35th minute) and Damion Jarrett (45th minute) found the net before the interval after the visitors took an early lead through Nick Wright (7th minute). Tamworth were reduced to ten men in the 39th minute with the dismissal of Gareth Evans for violent conduct and skipper Dave Bampton scored the equaliser (63rd minute).

The replay will be on Tuesday, 5th February, at Tamworth’s Lamb ground.

Stafford made two changes to the starting line-up. Richie Sutton failed to recover from his stomach muscle problem so Djoumin Sangare started for the first time in three games. Marco Adaggio partnered David McNiven with Dolapo Oloaye on the bench. Tamworth’s former Stafford defender Craig McAughtrie was an unused substitute.

Tamworth got the game under way attacking the Town/Shed End and soon unsuccessfully appealed for a penalty when Jemiah Richards challenged Jamie Reed inside the area.

Nick Wright fired wide from 15 yards before he put the visitors ahead in the seventh minute. The Lambs’ striker broke into the area down the inside left channel, got past Danny Alcock and fired a low narrow-angle shot towards goal. The ball rebounded off the inside of the far right post and was adjudged to have crossed the line by the assistant after being hooked clear by a defender.

There was a short break after eight minutes while the assistant on the Lotus side limped off and was replaced by the fourth official.

Rangers won the game’s first corner which skipper Wayne Daniel headed over at the far post. In the next attack, both David McNiven and then Jarrett were both denied by saves from Alex Cisak. The keeper blocked McNiven’s effort and held the follow-up from Jarrett.

Stafford broke from Tamworth’s first corner and Daniel charged down the left into the visitors’ half. His progress was halted by Michael Briscoe who became the first of six players to see ‘yellow’

Both sides created chances. Street fired powerfully at Cisak while Bampton volleyed over the Stafford bar and Alcock gathered up a shot from Reed.

A spectacular strike got Rangers back on level terms in the 35th minute. Street went for goal from 35 yards out and the ball took a deflection on the way past Cisak. The caretaker manager certainly enjoyed scoring on his 100th appearance for the club.

Tamworth were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out in the 39th minute which Jon Richter played straight out for a goal kick. Moments later, Jarrett ended up on the ground and Evans was shown quickly shown a straight red card. A mêlée followed with both Bampton and Ross Draper were booked after the three match officials consulted.

When play resumed, the visitors got forward into the Stafford area. Both Richter and Bampton saw shots blocked.

Lacking a central defender, Tamworth sacrificed Richter in favour of Adie Smith who slotted into the position vacated by Evans.

Just before the initial 45 minutes were up, Rangers were celebrating a second goal. Matt Hazley’s throw on the left was crossed to the far post where Jarrett fired home via the underside of the bar.

In the five minutes of added time indicated by the fourth official (i.e. the injured assistant) which turned out to be six minutes, Richards was unable to continue with a foot injury and a reshuffle at the back following the arrival of substitute Chris Flynn. The names of both Hazley and Chris Nurse were added to Mr Naylor’s collection and Street hammered a 40-yard free-kick inches wide.

With the lights on for the start of the second half, Tamworth, now attacking with the aid of the strong icy wind, created a couple of chances. Gareth Sheldon volleyed wide from 25 yards and Alcock tipped over another long-range from the same midfielder.

Rangers suffered a blow when Adaggio was fouled by Briscoe and required treatment.

Just before the hour mark, Wright wasted a simple chance to net the equaliser. He rounded Alcock only, to the relief of Stafford fans, put the ball over an unguarded net from barely two yards out.

Adaggio was replaced by Dolapo Olaoye on the hour.

Tamworth got back on level terms in the 64th minute. Bampton the skipper fired past Alcock at close range.

The visitors pressed forward with Sheldon’s rising 30 yarder just clearing the bar. Reed nipped in at the near post to flick Nurse’s low cross just wide of the post.

Both sides made further changes and Neil Grayson returned from injury in place of Hazley. Tamworth replaced both starting strikers with Matthew Williams and Jake Sheridan.

In the 84th minute, Sangare who was up with the attack saw a low shot gathered up by Cisak. Sheldon went for goal once again and this time volleyed wide of the left hand post from 20 yards out.

After Sangare was booked, the resulting free-kick was scrambled clear and neither side could find a winner in the four minutes of added time at the end.

Stafford Rangers: Alcock, Sangare, Daniel, Richards (Flynn 45), Lynch, Jarrett, Draper, Street, Hazley (Grayson 74), McNiven, Adaggio (Olaoye 60). Unused subs: Ingram, Gibson

Tamworth: Cisak, Lyttle, Evans, Briscoe, Langdon, Richter (Smith 44), Bampton, Nurse, Sheldon, Wright (Williams 71), Reed (Sheridan 81). Unused subs: Ebdon, McAughtrie

Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)
Attendance: 1025 (inc 312 away fans)

This match report was originally written for and published on the now defunct www.staffordrangers.co.uk