WITH their latest County Minor Youth League fixture at Nantwich Town switched to their hosts’ 3G pitch, leaders Stafford Rangers Youth U18s ran out 5-2 winners to maintain top spot.
Nantwich were sitting third in the league table and it was they who adapted quickly to the all-weather surface.
However, Rangers were not under any direct threat and kept Nantwich at bay, creating a couple of good chances of their own which saw Mat Smith drive just wide and Jack Edwards fire straight at the home keeper.
The deadlock was broken though on 20 minutes when Max Kiddle was adjudged to have fouled in the penalty area and the resultant spot kick was despatched by Gould for the home team. Rangers responded superbly and scored two goals in five minutes, firstly when Alex Curtis beat several players before firing hard and low across the keeper and into the bottom corner.
The feat was equalled by Edwards who gave Boro the lead.
Curtis might have added a third when he rounded the keeper but his effort was blocked and Smith pulled a fine save from the home keeper with a curled shot which was destined for the bottom corner.
The second half saw Sam Marsden, Dan Nowell and Sean Phillips added to the play and very quickly the game developed into a stalemate in the middle of the park but slowly Stafford began to create chances.
Billy Thorley and then Smith, when clean through on goal, were thwarted by an excellent couple of saves. Eventually Curtis did score again, cutting in from the right after receiving a pass from Smith before slamming home.
The scoring was not finished and, on 80 minutes, a shot from Gould was rolling through to Boro keeper Wes Hopwood but a deflection took it away from him and reduced Stafford's lead to one. Phillips then hit the side netting from a Curtis free kick to the back post and Nowell linked superbly with Edwards who fed Phillips in the six yard box and this time he made no mistake. The scoring was completed when Edwards was put through and although his first shot was saved he followed up to slide the ball home.
This was a good game of football, played in the right spirit, between two good footballing teams and Rangers Youth will be glad of the three points to maintain their lead at the top of the County Minor Youth table.