Stafford Rangers 3 Droylsden 1
STAFFORD Rangers gave their survival hopes a boost with this victory at home to basement outfit Droylsden.
It was also a first league double of the campaign for Rangers, who occupy second bottom spot in the Evo-Stik Premier. More importantly they have now cut the gap between them and the safety zone to 12 points.
Rangers knew this was a must-win game and they got the perfect start after just four minutes.
Dan Cope picked the ball up just inside the Droylsden half, advanced and then beat Droylsden keeper Craig Dootson with a stunning 30-yard drive that found the top corner of the net.
A second soon followed on 16 minutes when James McCarthy flicked the ball to debutant Ian Craney, the former Swansea City midfielder, who curled the ball in off the inside of a post.
It was fully 35 minutes before Droylsden threatened when Sam Freakes was thwarted by home keeper Jon Brain. McCarthy then saw his long range shot tipped over by Dootson.
The half closed with the visitors twice going close through Domaine Rouse and Sam Madeley.
Rangers virtually wrapped up the win on 57 minutes when McCarthy beat the Droyslden defence for pace, latching on to a fine through ball from Jermaine Johnson, to beat Dootson.
Droylsden did pull a goal back through Madeley, from close range, on 70 minutes, but it was Rangers' new boss Graham Heathcote who was celebrating back to back home victories.
In the closing stages,Heathcote sent on young youth team player Alex Curtis and he almost added a fourth Rangers goal, but Dootson turned the former's effort on to the woodwork and away for a corner.
Next up for Rangers is an away fixture at Grantham Town on Saturday, before returning to Marston Road on February 1 for the visit of another of the league's strugglers, Frickley Athletic (3pm).