ON the eve of Saturday’s big FA Cup clash, Stafford Rangers caretaker boss Andy Mutch has told his charges they need to become more “street-wise”, writes Dave McLean.
His comment follows Tuesday night’s disappointing 2-2 league draw at home to Grantham Town, one that saw Rangers concede two late goals and miss out on a much-needed second Evo-Stik Premier win in four days.
On Saturday, Rangers chalked up their first league victory of the season with a well earned 2-1 home success over promotion hopefuls FC United, in front of the biggst gate of the season, just over 1,000.
And Rangers looked set to build on that success against Grantham after taking a 2-0 interval lead, until the Lincolnshire outfit hit back in the late stages, their winner in the eighth minute of stoppage time proving a real sickener.
“They (Grantham) dominated us in the second half. They were too strong for us and could have scored a number of goals,” said a disappointed Mutch.
“For all the effort and commitment we showed we have to put up a little bit and be a bit more street-wise in what we are doing. For the best part I was disappointed in what we did today.”
Mutch said his side shaded the first half and could well have gone in at the break with a three-goal lead. “That may have made more of a diffence.
“But looking at what Grantham did in the second half, they were more aggressive, they chased down and played percentage football. I feel they are going to be hard for anyone to play against.”
Rangers remain unbeaten in five matches under Mutch and ahead of Saturday’s home FA Cup second qualifying tie against higher league Skrill North outfit Boston United, he said: “We’ve got to stand up to the fight a bit more.
“I think one or two did (against Grantham) but there were quite a few who didn’t. We have to be a bit more competitive and that’s a little concerning. But we’ll brush ourselves down and be ready for that (FA Cup clash) definitely.”
The one major doubt is that of striker and last season’s leading marksman Danny Quinn who missed the Grantham game with a hamstring injury picked up in the match against FC United on Saturday.
Former league rivals Boston arrive at Marston Road currently sixth in the Skrill North table. However, they lost their unbeaten home record on Tuesday, going down 3-2 against Bradford Park Avenue.
Should a replay be required it will take place at the Jakemans Stadium on Tuesday (7.45pm), otherwise Rangers will entertain Stoke City in the Staffs Senior Cup on the same date.
In junior football, Rangers U12s beat Heath Hayes 3-1, with goals from Gabriel Hughes, Robson Flude and Danny Stevens, while Rangers Stripes U12s defeated Town Panthers 3-2.