DATE  15.11.2016
COMPETITION   F.A. Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round Replay
Stafford Rangers  STAFFORD RANGERS (0) 2
Gordon (80), Reid (117) (pen)
Hednesford Town  HEDNESFORD TOWN (0) 1
 Dunkley (90)
MoTM  James Mutton
TOP SCORER  George Carline (9)
FORM GUIDE  W  L  W  L  L  W  W  W  W  D  L
1st Whitby Town 18 37
2nd Blyth Spartans 18 36
3rd Rushall Olympic 19 36
5th Buxton 18 34
6th Spennymoor Town 16 32
7th Matlock Town 17 31
8th Warrington Town 20 30
9th Nantwich Town 15 28
10th Ashton United 20 28
11th Workington 18 27
12th Stourbridge 17 26
A local derby that had it all - goals, a brawl, red cards, extra time drama and a late penalty - finally ended in the favour of Stafford Rangers, who claimed local bragging rights and a place in the net round of the F.A. Trophy as they completed a narrow win over their rivals this evening

It had been another whirlwind seventy two hours at Keys Park, with Liam McDonald confirming yesterday what many feared since before the weekend, as he left the club to become the new manager of Solihull Moors. The Pitmen had moved quickly the same day, appointing Coleshill Town manager Paul Casey as their new manager. Casey's first Hednesford line-up revealed very little surprises, with Danny Glover returning to the starting line-up in place of Jamie Matthews, who was ill, as the only change to McDonald's final XI from the weekend

Rangers themselves will still have been smarting from conceding a late Simeon Maye equaliser on Saturday, with Neil Kitching making two changes himself - former Hednesford man Sam Griffiths was dropped in place of James Bowen and ex-Pitman Richard Batchelor dropped in favour of Mitchell Tolley

Stafford keeper Adam Whitehouse almost gifted the Pitmen an early lead, as the Rangers number one made a hash of an Ashley Sammons cross on nine minutes, dropping the ball at the feet of Gurjit Singh, who failed to bundle the ball home under pressure from close range

Glover's powerful run down the flank two minutes later saw the striker drive the ball across the face of goal, but failed to find anyone in red on the end of it and the ball went wide of goal

In the seventeenth minute, Stafford went closest to breaking the deadlock as Elliott Hodge crashed a shot off the post and back into play with a long range effort. Sean Geddes seized upon the rebound but found Dan Crane behind his rebounded shot

Hodge was shown the first yellow card of a busy evening for the match officials on twenty minutes, entering the book for blatantly stopping the Pitmen from breaking quickly

A superb late clearance from Mat Bailey denied James Mutton a certain goal on twenty four minutes, hacking the Hednesford defender's header off the line after Mutton had risen highest to head towards goal

Crane made a competent stop to deny Kris Taylor from a free kick, before Bailey headed wide from an excellent position following a Taylor corner kick on thirty one minutes

Glover - still trying to get back to full fitness - was forced off after one aggressive challenge too many from the Stafford defence on thirty four minutes, as he was replaced by Tristian Dunkley

The first half came to an explosive finish, with the production of the first red card of the evening on forty one minutes. Michael Williams and Hodge clashed out on the right hand side, with Geddes feeling inclined to get involved to voice his displeasure at Williams' part in the piece. This led to a fifteen man brawl and much for the match officials to clear up. Eventually, a second yellow was shown to Hodge for his part, with Williams booked for the original foul

From the resultant free kick, awarded for the original foul, Geddes curled the ball over the crossbar, with Crane confidently watching the shot out of play

The start of the second half saw Rangers defy their numerical disadvantage by having much of the better play. Kyle Perry continued to give the Hednesford centre backs much to think about, forcing Calum Flanagan into a last-ditch challenge on fifty three minutes

A minute later, Josh Gordon wasted another good chance to open the scoring by lifting his shot over the crossbar from close range

Singh was presented with a glorious chance for the visitors on fifty five minutes, breaking through the Stafford back line but getting his feet all mixed up as he took too long to decide his next step

 The Pitmen's numerical advantage was wiped out by Williams on sixty eight minutes, as he was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Gordon - the right back can have no complaints after his earlier booking

Stafford used this to their advantage as they pushed the Pitmen backwards, with Crane making a superb save to deny former team-mate Perry as well as fielding a dangerous cross from Geddes that searched for Gordon

In an attempt to cover off the loss of Williams, Casey brought on Lewis wright in place of the tiring Singh with fourteen minutes remaining

Rangers finally made their growing pressure tell with ten minutes remaining, as a neat passage of play saw Perry and Gordon exchange passes before Gordon curled a shot beyond the reach of Crane to give the hosts a valuable lead

With eight minutes left, skipper Tom Thorley was replaced by the younger, more willing legs of teenager Myles Phipps up front

The Pitmen were not done just yet, despite the clock ticking over the ninety minute mark, and somehow found the strength to turn up a late, late equaliser to take the game into extra time.  Alert to the ball, Dunkley cleverly flicked the ball past Whitehouse at his near post following a low cross to give the Pitmen a valuable leveller

 Extra time saw the Pitmen start much the stronger, buoyed by their late goal in normal time. Wright's long range effort was narrowly off target on ninety three minutes, followed two minutes later by a tricky run from Phipps that ended with the youngster curling a shot over the crossbar

Whitehouse was equal to another clever Dunkley moment on ninety seven minutes, as Cohen Bramall's cross was flicked goalwards by the substitute, only for Whitehouse to claim the ball

A number of players made their way into the book in extra time as tiredness set in amongst both sets of players. Rangers were far more energised after the break, with Perry heading over the crossbar immediately after the restart when it looked easier to score from close range

Stafford's Kieran Morris forced Crane into a smart save from his volley on 108 minutes, before Stafford snatched the all-important third goal with only three minutes remaining; Wright was adjudged to have tripped Levi Reid, allowing his brother Izak to fire past Crane, despite the best efforts of the Hednesford keeper, to score the winner from the spot

There was no time for the visibly shattered Pitmen to provide a response, with Rangers moving into the next round and a trip to Vanarama National League North Chorley as the reward. The Pitmen will be looking to get back on track as they travel to in-form Matlock Town on Saturday, by which time it is likely that Casey will have made moves in the transfer market to strengthen his threadbare squad
No. Player Mins On On/Off For Goals
Dan Crane 120  
Michael Williams 68    
Cohen Bramall 120
Simeon Maye 120    
James Mutton 120    
Calum Flanagan 120    
Gurjit Singh 76 Wright  
Tom Thorley 82 Phipps  
Danny Glover 34 Dunkley  
Ashley Sammons 120    
George Carline 120    
Lloyd Ransome 0    
Tristian Dunkley 86 Glover 1
Lewis Wright 44 Singh
Desean Martin 0  
Myles Phipps 38 Thorley