Stafford Town 4 Warstones Wanderers 3

Tuesday 6th November 2012
Stafford Town 4 Warstones Wanderers 3
JW Hunt Cup First Round
At: Evans Park
Kick-off: 7-45 pm
Admission: £4; Programme: £1 (28 pages)
Weather: cold, dry, windy
Attendance: 25 (headcount)
Duration: first-half: 45:12; second-half: 48:38

Following last week’s abandonment due to floodlight failure at Long Lane, this JW Hunt Cup First Round tie was quickly rearranged for tonight and switched to Stafford Town’s Evans Park. At the second attempt, Stafford Town and Warstones Wanderers served up a competitive and entertaining encounter which ten-man Reds won by the odd goal in seven with a big helping hand from hat-trick hero Paul McMahon.

The JW Hunt has an informative website ( which begins by explaining the competition was established in 1926 to raise funds for the sole benefit of the local blind. It is named in memory of John William Hunt, a local business man and benefactor.

Tonight’s programme listed the sixteen first round ties [I’ve added tonight’s results] which features clubs from the Black County, Birmingham and Staffordshire who complete in the West Midlands (Regional) League, Athium Midland Combination, Midland Alliance or Wolverhampton Combination.

Wyrley Juniors v Penkridge Town
Black Country Rangers v Wednesfield RBL
Chasetown 2 Wolverhampton Sporting Community 0
Trysull 2 Wednesfield 3
Wolverhampton Casuals 3 Stone Old Alleynians 2
Wellington Amateurs 3 Ettingshall Park Farm 0
AFC Smethwick 2 Tividale 1
Brocton 6 Penncroft 0
Warstones Wanderers 3 Stafford Town 4
Sporting Khalsa 4 Continental Star 0
Darlaston Town v Wolverhampton United
West Midlands Police 1 AFC Wombourne United 4
Heath Hayes 6 AFC Wulfrunians 0
Willenhall Town 3 Pendeford Santos 1
Wrens Nest 2 Pelsall Villa 3
Bilston Town 3 Red Star Alma 0

At the weekend, Stafford Town (10th in the Athium Midland Combination Premier Division with 24 points from 15 games) had Saturday off. Warstones (10th in West Midlands (Regional) League Division One with 18 points from 11 games) travelled to Bridgnorth Town Reserves and won by the odd goal in five to extend their current run in the league to an impressive six straight wins.

After I walked rather than drove to the ground, Evans Park provided the usual warm welcome and, on a mild-turning-cold evening, Warstones (in green and white) got the game underway attacking the cricket ground end in the first half. No pre-match fairplay handshakes tonight.

Attacking with the strong wind, Stafford enjoyed a lot of possession during a high-tempo start. Spencer Gunnell fired wide from 20 yards out and Paul McMahon forced a near-post save out of Warstones goalkeeper Andrew Aston.

I agreed with the person who described Town’s start as “good football” and Aston produced a great point-blank reaction save to keep out a close-range volley from Darryll Johns.

However, Warstones quickly got on the attack after the save and ball ended up at the feet of John Charters, unmarked on the left inside the area, who slotted past Sam Winstanley to give the visitors a 13th minute lead.

Suddenly, Warstones were in the ascendency and Aston McGinnis fired into the sidenetting from a good position on the right. And, a saving tackle from backtracking Gunnell presented Curtis Simpson getting a clear run on goal.

It did get worse for Town in the 23rd minute when Darryl Evans brought down McGinnis inside the area. McGinnis, himself, took the resulting penalty only for Winstanley to make a diving save though the assistant on the line started to wave his flag. Before the referee could act, Isaac Meggoe slotted home the loose ball to put the visitors two goals to the good.

Town needed to quickly peg back their in-form opponents and did so just before the half-hour mark. Gunnell launched a ‘Roly Delap’ style long throw from the left into the area where McMahon sent a header into the far side of the net.

That goal was McMahon’s 13th for Town this season and he notched up goal number 14 in the 39th minute to level things up. Fed by Gunnell, McMahon flicked the ball past the advancing goalkeeper into an unguarded net.

Having bagged an assist for the first two goals, Gunnell put Town ahead two minutes later. Chris Morris’ initial shot was blocked and Gunnell hammered home from the rebound.

Just before the interval, Aston kept out a low shot from McMahon but John Kirby couldn’t get in a clear shot from the rebound.

Stafford made a change at the interval with Steve Hopkinson, who played for Stafford Rangers in the Blue Square Premier, replaced Gunnell.

Winstanley produced a diving save at the start of the second half to turn round a 25-yard left foot shot from Charters.

Warstones defender Ashley Justin with a header and Town’s MacMahon with a shot from Ishmale Reid’s pass went close before Stafford extended their lead to two-goals in the 74th minute. Morris crossed low from the right and McMahon sidefooted home at close range to complete his hat-trick.

However, Town were reduced to ten men in the 78th minute when Hopkinson was shown a straight red card for a stiff tackle on Simeon Townsend.

Warstones made the Reds suffer by pulling a goal back in the 73rd minute. Cahrters’ frère-kick into Stafford area wasn’t cleared and Ben Whittal drove the ball into the roof of the net.

All of a sudden, extra time was back on the agenda and the goal gave renewed home to the two Warstones officials at the back of the stand – “Warstones c’mon” one of them shouted.

After the assistant nearest the dugouts indicated “two and a half” minutes left and those 2 ½ minutes were played, the referee kept the game on going – nervous times. Things were extremely tense especially when Simpson hit a swerving 25-yard shot which the diving Winstanley did well to stop.

It was certainly a hard-earned victory for Town who await news of the Second Round draw.

Elsewhere, Stafford Rangers won 3-1 at Wolverhampton Casuals in the Walsall Senior Cup and will visit Evans Park for an intriguing Second Round tie in two weeks time on Tuesday 20th November.

Stafford Town (red/red/red): 1. Sam Winstanley, 2. Jamie Cartwright, 3. Darryl Evans, 4. Mat Dockerty (capt), 5. James Price, 6. Ishmale Reid, 7. John Kirby, 8. Spencer Gunnell, 9. Paul McMahon, 10. Chris Morris, 11. Darryll Johns. Subs: 12. Liam Evans (for McMahon, 76), 14. Steve Bennett (for Kirby, 82), 15. Steve Hopkinson (for Gunnell, ht), 16. Richard Stone (not used).

Warstones Wanderers (green and white stripes / green / green): 1. Andrew Aston, 2. Mitchell Kerry, 3. Ashley Francis, 4. Ben Whittal (capt), 5. Ashley Justin, 6. Curtis Simpson, 7. Isaac Meggoe, 8. Lee Brown, 9. Simeon Townsend, 10. Aston McGinnis, 11. John Charters. Subs: 12. Patrick Rafferty (for Simpson, 68), 14. Scott Williamson (for Brown, 72), 15. Joshua Baker (not used).

Referee: Paddy Keane.
Assistants: Phil Felton and Chris Baugh.

0-1 John Charters (13)
0-2 Isaac Meggoe (25)
1-2 Paul McMahon (29)
2-2 Paul McMahon (39)
3-2 Spencer Gunnell (41)
4-2 Paul McMahon (74)
4-3 Ben Whittal (83)

Stafford: Steve Hopkinson (RC, 78), Mat Dockerty (YC, 80)
Warstones: Isaac Meggoe (YC, 63)