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Stafford Rangers fans a 12th man says manager Neil Kitching

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

Neil Kitching web

Neil Kitching web

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STAFFORD Rangers fans sucked the ball into the net according to manager Neil Kitching.

Acknowledging the “massive” part nearly 500 fans played as they won their first home game of the season on Tuesday night Kitching said they were a 12th man.

Boro beat Norton United 1-0 with a goal by substitute Ryan Edmunds and Kitching admitted he was shocked at the turnout.

“It was a superb night. The atmosphere was electric. I didn’t expect us to get that kind of gate. I thought we might get close to 350 but to get 483 and probably a few more than that, it was electric right from the start.”

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In an emotionally-charged atmosphere fans paid tribute to former chairman and secretary Mike Hughes who died earlier this month and who will be laid to rest on Wednesday.

“We paid our respects to Mike Hughes which was superb and a great speech from David Montgomery and warm applause for Mike started the night off really well.

“The fans got behind us right away. It was huge – most of the squad, the younger boys, are not used to this level of playing in front of a decent crowd. Saturday was a bit of an eye opener.

“(The support) is massive, it’s a 12th man – it sucks the ball into the net.

“To get that kind of gate so early on, I was quite shocked. I’m hopeful they will come back on Saturday and we can give them another performance and a result and it starts the bandwagon rolling.”

Wins from their first two matches have put them fourth in the table but Kitching remains level headed.

“It’s still very very early days. We don’t look at league tables until after 10 or 12 games in. We didn’t play well last night, not nearly as well as we played on Saturday. That’s down to two games really quickly against good opposition. For any team at this level you put all your efforts into an away match on Saturday. Mentally it’s draining as well to try to get a result away from home, then 48 hours later you have the expectation on you to do the same at home. It’s not so much physically draining as mentally. Fair play to them, they have got two results but the performance wasn’t as sharp as we had on Saturday.

“We are not going to get carried away. It’s two games, four days into a project. Football changes very quickly. And we won’t get downhearted when we lose a couple of games either.”

He paid tribute to Ryan Edmunds, who came off the bench to score Boro’s winner.

“Football changes very quickly. Ryan Edmunds was disappointed he didn’t start on Saturday and within 48 hours he’s come on as a sub and won the game for us and having his name sung as he walked from the pitch. He changed the game with his pace and delivery into the box. It’s just keeping them all grounded.”

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