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Battling Stafford miss out on semi-final cup spot

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

By Dave McLean

THE Stafford defence smother this Walsall opponent in Saturday's county cup clash.

THE Stafford defence smother this Walsall opponent in Saturday's county cup clash.

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Stafford 1st XV 13 Walsall 1st XV 32.

STAFFORD 1st XV ended the year with a Staffs Cup game at home to higher league Walsall.

The visitors, who have been in good form this season, opened with an organised assault and Stafford found no respite in which they could settle.

Only determined defending kept the visitors at bay and as the defence absorbed the pressure, the momentum slowly started to change. The first visible Stafford attack ended in a penalty, Nick Oxley taking on the kicking duties and suddenly the home side were 3-0 up.

From the restart, Walsall were looking for a response and found space for a try in the corner to snatch the lead. A further Oxley penalty pushed the advantage back to the home side.

Stafford started to hold their own against a relentless opposition. Fortune seemed to favour the Cathedral faithful as what started as a tentative foray by the forwards culminated with Oli Greatholder muscling his way over the line for a try, with Oxley adding the conversion. As the half drew to a close a Walsall try and subsequent penalty bought the scores level at the break.

The Walsall assault returned in full force to open the second half, leaving Stafford defending deep in their own half. The home side demonstrated the quality of their team spirit as they dug in and eventually they blunted the Walsall attack.

Stafford stole possession to break out of the onslaught, but as the home side started to gain ground, a snatched pass lead to a Walsall try and all the hard work was undone.

Although Walsall were reduced to 13 players at one stage, they still managed to run in two quick tries to secure the game.

Despite the defeat, Stafford can hold their heads high for the manner in which they approached this game. They may not have managed the victory, but they proved that nobody is going to visit them without experiencing a gruelling encounter. On January 4, Stafford visit Leek in a league fixture (2.15pm).

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