Stafford Rangers 2 Droylsden 1

Saturday 26th April 2008
Stafford Rangers 2 Droylsden 1
Blue Square Premier at Marston Road
Attendance: 470

Stafford Rangers ended their difficult season with a spirited performance to move off the bottom at the expense of Droylsden. Neil Grayson gave Rangers a 13th-minute lead before former Stafford midfielder Ged Murphy was red carded just after the half hour for violent conduct. Sean Murphy levelled for the visitors early in the second half and Nick Wellecomme scored the winner in the 69th minute.

In a lively start, both sides created early openings. Danny Ellis saw a 20-yard shot to a deflection off a defender and loop up into the safe hands of Danny Alcock.

Ishmale Reid delivered a perfect cross from the left to Neil Grayson who sent his header wide.

A slip from Kevin Lynch inside the Droylsden area allowed Stafford to take a 13th-minute lead. The midfielder allowed Nick Wellecomme to square a pass for Grayson to hammer past Paul Phillips into the roof of the net from six yards out. It was the striker's 13th goal of the season and he finished as leading scorer.

Lynch soon limped off and was replaced by former Stafford midfielder Ged Murphy.

Djimi Sangare got forward with the attack and set up a good opportunity for Stafford to extend their lead. Wellecomme fed Jon Loukes who drove wide from just outside the area.

Murphy's game lasted barely 15 minutes before he was sent off in the 33rd minute for violent conduct.

Stafford certainly had the desire to end the season with a win and before the interval Sangare headed weakly at Phillips.

With Steve Halford on for Ellis at the start of the season, Droylsden went on the attack in search of an equaliser.

They got back on level terms six minutes after the restart. Awarded a free-kick 22 yards out for a foul by Richie Sutton, Sean Newton sent a left-foot curler into the top-right corner out of reach of Alcock's outstretched hand.

Stafford won two corners in quick succession in a bid to get back in front and Chris Flynn bravely headed the second one over the bar.

Both sides clearly wanted to made sure they didn't finish bottom with Stafford needing to score to avoid the wooden spoon. Stafford regained the lead in the 69th minute. The persistence of Sangare, who ran past two defenders in a run down the left, set up Wellecomme who fired past Philipps via the right-hand post.

Sangare got forward again but this time curled a right-foot shot well wide from 20 yards. Damion Jarrett headed straight at Phillips as Stafford looked for another goal.

The home fans continued to be entertained as Stafford finished with a flourish.

Jarrett hit the target with in dipping volley, which Phillips caught and the midfielder saw another effort smothered by the advancing Phillips who left his line.

Droylsden threw bodies forward in stoppage time, with Newson heading straight at Alcock, but to no avail as Stafford stood firm to finish in 23rd position.

After the game, Danny Alcock received both the Supporters and Players Player of the Season. The Directors jointly honoured Kevin Street and Neil Grayson. Wayne Daniel celebrated his 300th appearance - well done Shooter!

Stafford Rangers (black and white stripes / black / black): 1. Danny Alcock, 38. Alex Gibson, 5. Wayne Daniel (capt), 2. Richie Sutton, 6. Djoumin Sangare, 35. Damion Jarrett, 7. Chris Flynn, 43. Jonathan Loukes, 30. Ishmale Reid, 9. Neil Grayson, 42. Nick Wellecomme. Subs: 15. Nathan Smith (for Reid, 85), 16. Tom Ingram, 21. Jemiah Richards, 24. Steve Hopkinson, 33. Danny Allen (gk)

Droylsden (blue / blue / blue): 1. Paul Phillips, 2. Lee Roche, 4. Colin Cryan, 5. Greg Strong, 28. Sean Newton, 8. Jamie McGuire, 17. Kevin Lynch, 15. Ashley Burbeary, 23. Robbie Talbot, 9. Terry Fearns, 26. Danny Ellis. Subs: 11. Chris Denham, 16. Adam Dugdale (for Talbot, 77), 22. Steve Halford (for Ellis, ht), 27. Ged Murphy (for Lynch, 16), 39. Jimmy Williams

Referee: C. Pawson (South Yorkshire)
Attendance: 685 (away fans 98)

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