STAFFORD RANGERS 3 WORKSOP TOWN 1
STAFFORD Rangers struck three goals in ten stunning first half minutes to topple play-off hopefuls Worksop Town on Saturday and so complete a league double, writes Dave McLean.
Having opened brightly, Rangers conceded early on, but struck back before the break to wipe out the deficit and take a deserved 3-1 interval lead.
Rangers got at the visitors from the off and as boss Greg Clowes commented afterwards: “We made it uncomfortable for them.”
Boro welcomed back Jimmy Turner, keeper Danny Read and Ryan Brown for the visit of the Evo Stik premier’s leading scorers and their 6’ 5” striker Tony Denton, who for most part was kept in check.
However it was Worksop who drew first blood when Read could only punch clear a Lee Beeson corner and Matt Young met the ball to beat the former with a well struck volley.
But Rangers were not going to let this game slip away so early and the response was strong with Fabrice Kasiama firing just over, before
Karl Ashton put in Oliver Davies who drilled wide of the far post.
After Lee Potts missed a good opportunity for Worksop, the home side levelled on 29 minutes when Ashton rose above the Town defence to head in a right wing Kasiama corner.
Rangers continued to drive forward and three minutes later Rangers were ahead. Michael Carr delivered a left wing free kick and Liam Walshe glanced past experienced Worksop keeper Paul Bastock.
The home side were not finished and when Carr touched on a Christian Dacres pass, the ball fell kindly for Kasiama who showed great strength to hold off two defenders and fire past Bastock.
Shortly after the restart, Worksop made a triple substitution in an effort to rescue something, but it was a determined Rangers who should have added to their tally.
Bastock did well to get down and turn a Carr free kick round a post, before Turner missed a great chance when balooning over from 16 yards.
Brown then got back well to deny Jackson on 84 minutes as Rangers struggled to clear their
lines. In the closing stages, sub Peter Heler and
Ashton wasted good chances, but on the day it was a thoroughly workmanlike display by Rangers who deserved all three points.
Rangers – Read, George, Brown, Walshe, Bolton, Carr (Kinsella 90), Turner (Heler 74), Dacres (Downes 72), Ashton, Kasiama, Davies. Unused subs, Quinn, Reid.
Worksop – Bastock, Clarke, Ridley, Young, Hawes (Ludlam 57), Miller, Beeson (Modest 57), Towers, Denton, Jackson, Potts (Scott 57). Unused subs, Sheils, Telling.
Booked: Davies (Rangers); Clarke, Towers ( Worksop). Referee:Edward Smart (Rowley Regis); Att: 527.
A minute’s silence was observed before the game for loyal Boro supporter Gordon Cooper, who died on New Year’s Day aged 91.
He rarely missed a home match in 80 years, following in his father Thomas’ footsteps, who took in Rangers matches back in the late 1880’s.
Gordon’s son, Terry, also had two spells with Rangers as a player. Gordon’s funeral takes place at Stafford Crematorium on Monday, at 11.30am.
STAFFORD RANGERS 1 NANTWICH TOWN 2
STAFFORD Rangers’ involvement in this season’s Doodson Sport league cup is over after their third round exit on Tuesday night, writes Dave McLean.
Boro boss Greg Clowes gave the five players who were on the bench on Saturday a chance to push for a starting spot in the league, but most struggled on a sticky Marston Road pitch.
In a scrappy affair against fellow Evo- Stik premier rivals, Rangers showed early on but Sean Kinsella delayed a shooting chance and his effort was deflected wide. Levi Reid then drilled in a 25 yard effort that flew narrowly wide.
Nantwich responded with a cross from Sean Cooke that found the head of Mark Beesley, but he too was off target. Liam Walshe then wasted a chance when he met a Kinsella corner with his head.
It was Nantwich who broke the deadlock on 29 minutes when a through ball from Beesley deflected to Kyle Wilson, who beat home keeper Danny Read from a tight angle. Read then got down well to thwart Lewis Short at the near post.
When Cooke lost possession in his own half, Reid had a chance for Rangers but saw his curling effort drift just outside a post. Cooke then curled a shot inches wide after a mistake this time by Reid.
At the start of the second half, Rangers came more into the tie with Walshe finding Oliver Davies with a superb through ball.
Davies raced away and sent in a fierce drive that visiting keeper Jon Brain did well to block and Danny Quinn’s follow up header was tipped over by the keeper.
Reid again fired in from long range but saw his shot sail just over, before Peter Heler squared for Kinsella, whose left foot drive was again off the mark.
At this stage, Clowes sent on strikers Karl Ashton and Fabrice Kasiama in an effort to try and rescue the game. Kasiama had a chance but lobbed Brain and the cross bar.
After Kasiama had an further effort blocked by former Boro defender Ryan Dicker, the visitors broke away to net a second goal and virtually clinch the tie.
Home defender Luke George was adjudged to have handled a PJ Hudson cross and Cooke stepped forward to
convert the resultant penalty on 85 minutes.
Rangers did pull a goal back through Ashton, two minutes into stoppage time, but it was too little too late for the Boro on this occasion.
Teams: Rangers – Read, George, Brown, Walshe, Bolton, Reid, Heler, Downes, Quinn, Kinsella (Ashton 62), Davies (Kasiama 64). Unused subs, Carr, Dacres, Turner.
Nantwich – Brain, Dicker, Maguire, Hughes, Moss, McDonald, Cooke, Brown (Lane 88), Wilson, Beesley (Everall 82), Short (PJ Hudson 77).
Booked: Downes, Kinsella (Rangers); Dicker, Cooke (Nantwich).
Referee: Thomas Harty (Wolverhampton); Att: 210.
Next up for Rangers is a league trip to FC United of Manchester, who play at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground, on Saturday (3pm).