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Miserable festive period for Marston Road men

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

By Dave McLean

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Ashton United 4 Stafford Rangers 0

ANOTHER poor Stafford Rangers performance sees them deep in relegation trouble after conceding 102 league goals in the calendar year.

Rangers made one change from Boxing Day with Jake Healy replacing the injured Paris Bateman.

The in-form Robins went close inside two minutes with Oliver Davies blocking Martin Pilkington's shot. Davies missed a decent chance for Rangers, shooting wide from the left touch line with Paul Phillips out of his goal.

Ashton took the lead on nine minutes. Andy Griffiths gave away possession to Matty Chadwick, who shrugged off the challenge from Darren Bullock and fired under Jon Brain.

It should have been two on the quarter hour mark when Pilkington beat Darren Chadwick, passing to Dale Johnson who somehow side foot wide.

Bullock headed wide from a Matty Burke corner as a Rangers briefly threatened. Ashton continued to press with Tom Morris blocking a Lee Rick effort and Gary Gee seeing a shot deflected for a corner.

A fine defensive header from Bullock thwarted Pilkington before the home side doubled their lead in the 37th minute. Pilkington beat Morris easily and hammered a shot which Brain parried into the path of Rick who hammered home.

Ashton started the second half on the front foot and It became the Brain show as the keeper made fine saves to stop Chadwick and Rick from extending the lead.

But he was helpless in the 52nd minute when Dale Johnson headed home after Rangers failed to clear a corner.

Brain continued to thwart Ashton with two excellent saves from Pilkington. It was a case of how many Ashton would score but it took them until the 78th minute to grab number four, Kayde Coppin scoring with a shot half saved by Brain. Jay Gorton almost scored with a superb diving header at the death but it was just off target.

Ashton: Paul Phillips, Chris Lynch, Greg Pearson, Jay Gorton, Jack Higgins, Ash Young, Matty Chadwick, Gary Gee, Martin Pilkington (Joe O'Neill 55), Dale Johnson (Cavell Coo 78), Lee Rick (Kayde Coppin 60). Subs not used: Steve Halford, Josh Steadman

Rangers: Jon Brain, Jake Healy, Tom Morris, Darren Chadwick (Jack Lees 21), Darren Bullock, Jermaine Johnson (Jack West 63), Oliver Davies, Matty Burke, Dan Cope (Sean Kinsella 63), Andy Griffiths, Louis Harris. Subs not used: James McCarthy, Phil Mooney. Booked: Pilkington (Ashton); Referee: Colin Whitaker; Attendance: 167.

On Boxing Day, Rangers visited Nantwich Town, went down 4-1 and finished with ten men.

The Dabbers took the lead in the 14th minute. Mark Jones beat Matty Burke, the ball falling for Osebi Abadaki who beat Brain with ease. Rangers were level in two minutes. A free kick from Sean Kinsella was headed home by new boy Andy Griffiths. Harris then headed wide as Rangers threatened to cause an upset. A powerful run by Johnson ended in a weak shot which was comfortably saved.

Nantwich built up a head of steam with Mark Jones, Harry Clayton and Ben Deegan all going close. The home side were then guilty of two appalling misses. Steve Foster crossed to the far post for Deegan to head against the post with the goal at his mercy. The ball rebounded to Sam Wildon in front of the empty net but he somehow put his shot wide.

Nantwich took the lead two minutes after the break, Deegan stooping to head home.

Nantwich's third was a superb move. Deegan controlled the ball and played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Foster who dinked the ball over Brain. The game was up for Rangers in the 76th minute. Abadaki raced into the box and was brought down f by skipper Darren Bullock, who was red-carded and Aaron Burns converted the spot kick.

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