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New era begins with a win for workmanlike Stafford Rangers

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 04, 2014

By Dave McLean

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A NEW era began for Stafford Rangers with a much-needed victory for the second bottom team.

Having appointed former Altrincham boss Graham Heathcote as manager on Frida to replace former Wolves striker Andy Mutch who departed 24 hours earlier, Rangers chalked up only their fourth league win of the campaign.

That, after conceding a 37th minute goal against the side just one place and six points above them at the start of the day.

Third bottom Stocksbridge took full advantage of a defensive mistake when Nathan Joynes' shot deceived home keeper Jon Brain after taking a wicked deflection.

But the new Rangers boss, who had left team selection to club coach Martin Prentice, was a delighted man when the Marston Road outfit responded within three minutes through James McCarthy, who slotted home from 12 yards.

In the second half, Rangers pressed for long periods, especially after moving 2-1 ahead within five minutes of the restart.

McCarthy turned provider, crossing for striker Karl Ashton, who was making his first start after a long injury absence, and Ashton rose superbly to head home from close range.

Other chances came and went for Rangers, while Stocksbridge sub Janni Lipka drilled wide when well placed.

However, this was a thoroughly workmanlike performance by the home side and they wrapped up their first league win in nine matches when sub Dan Cope drilled home from 18 yards with just two minutes remaining.

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