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Stafford Rangers fourth in table after two straight wins as fans turn out for Mike Hughes

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

Ryan Edmunds web

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STAFFORD Rangers’ promotion hopes have got off to a flyer with the club sitting fourth in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

Two wins on the bounce have seen Neil Kitching's side on equal points with the top three clubs with only goal difference separating them.

An emotional minute’s applause for former chairman and secretary Mike Hughes preceded Tuesday night’s match which saw a gate of 483.

It was the visitors Norton United, managed by former Rangers midfielder Scott Dundas, who were first off the mark with a scuffed shot from Michael Lennon and another effort from Niall Green taking a deflection off Joe Ballinger in the first three minutes.

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Rangers gradually got a foothold on the game and saw Ryan Wynter fire wide with a shot on the turn from 18 yards out.

Wynter then turned provider as his left wing cross was laid off to James Dance but the midfielder failed to get a clean connection with the shot and the opportunity went by.

There were chances at both ends just before the break but they went into the break level.

After Dan Cope blazed his shot high over the Norton bar, Rangers keeper Adam Whitehouse showed good reflexes to push over a rising shot from Lee Cropper.

Rangers received a set back early in the second half when midfielder Levi Reid limped off with a hamstring strain but it was his replacement, Ryan Edmunds, who was to grab the only goal of the game on 58 mins when he climbed to head an Alex Curtis free kick beyond the reach of Ryan Boot.

Cope forced a save from Boot with a low shot from 20 yards out while Norton's Richard Smith wasted a great chance for the visitors when he sent his free kick high over the Stafford bar.

Wynter missed a couple of chances to add to the score while Edmunds was denied a second when Boot parried his shot.

Norton gave the Rangers fans a nervy ending to the night as they pressed for an equaliser but Whitehouse rarely looked threatened.

Stafford Rangers: 1 Adam Whitehouse, 2 Sam Griffiths, 3 Mark Branch, 4 Joe Ballinger, 5 Wayne Daniel, 6 Chris Smith, 7 James Dance, 8 Levi Reid (16 Ryan Edmunds 49m), 9 Ryan Wynter (15 Tom Vaughan 90+1m), 10 Dan Cope (18 Jordan Nadat 77m), 11 Alex Curtis. Unused Suns 12 Michael Williams, 14 Ollie Davies.

Norton United: 1 Ryan Boot, 2 Sam Bradbury, 3 Paul Taylor, 4 Richard Smith, 5 Adam Dawson (12 Chris Baker 88m), 6 Glyn Blackhurst, 7 Tom Winkle, 8 Mark McDonald (16 Daniel Cocks 81m), 9 Lee Cropper, 10 Michael Lennon (14 Leigh Skellern 72m), 11 Niall Green. Unused Subs 15 Kyle Diskin, 17 Robert Hawthorn

Cautions: Daniel (Rangers) Dawson (Norton)

Referee: Craig Taylor

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