top of page


Dr. Martens Southern Premier League

Stafford Rangers

Davidson (58)

Hednesford Town

Lucas (62) (penalty)

(0) 1

(0) 1



Current Form

Next Match


Shaun Wray


Tiverton Town (A) 21.9.02

 The big derby clash at Marston Road this evening ended with honours even, in a very entertaining match between two high-flying sides that threw caution to the wind on a boggy pitch in the second half of the game


Manager Ian Painter, roundly booed on his return to Stafford, kept faith in the side that trounced Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday as the Pitmen looked to end their long-running Rangers hoodoo, with Stuart Lake remaining in the side after returning to first-team action at the weekend

Stafford had been in impressive form in the first nine games of the new season, with player/manager Phil Robinson's side sitting just below the Pitmen in sixth place at the start of play. Rangers had been richly rewarded for their long trip to Dover Athletic on Saturday, winning 2-0 at the Crabble to put them on fifteen points for the season. Robinson included himself in the home side's starting line-up, leaving ex-Hednesford pair David Berks and Lee Barrow amongst the substitutes for the Chase derby

The home side were on the front foot from the off, with Stafford's on-loan Crewe striker Paul Edwards latched on to a Robin Gibson cross on eleven minutes but headed wide of Mark Gayle's goal from eight yards out

A minute later, Rob Heath's incisive pass from the centre of midfield caught out the Hednesford back line and found Danny Davidson, who scuffed his shot straight into the arms of Gayle

The Pitmen countered through Saturday's two-goal hero Steve Piearce, who somehow headed over from a Darren Simkin cross on fifteen minutes when he stole a yard on Wayne Daniel to reach the dipping cross

A long, searching ball from Craig McAughtrie was headed straight into the path of Heath by Chris Brindley on twenty minutes, but Heath's wild effort sailed into the packed Shed End terrace without testing Gayle on this occasion

Shaun Wray - up against his former side - made a darting run down the left wing on twenty-four minutes, beating Alex Gibson down the flank and sending over a deep cross that just evaded both Piearce and Mark Jones in the Stafford penalty area

Midfielder Paul Ware was next to try his luck for the Pitmen on twenty seven minutes, but he skewed a long-range shot wide following a long Stuart Lake throw-in that made it's way all the way through to the former Cardiff man

Good football from Stafford on twenty-nine minutes saw Heath and Edwards link up well just outside the Hednesford penalty area, playing Davidson in behind the Hednesford centre-backs. On this occasion, Les Robinson was alert to the danger and snuffed out the chance before Davidson could get a shot away

Robinson was involved at the other end of the pitch four minutes later, lifting an opportunistic volley over the crossbar after Ware's corner kick was flicked on by Lake into the path of the former Oxford United man

Stafford remained a threat on the counter-attack, with the talented Robin Gibson an ever-willing recipient of the ball out wide. Gibson did well to skip past a diving challenge from Simkin on thirty-nine minutes and play the ball through on goal, but Gayle was alert to the danger and scooped the ball up before Davidson could react

 Just before the half-time break, ex-Stafford man Chris Brindley powered in a shot that was goalbound until a deflection off Daniel turned the ball away from goal. Wray did well to recycle the ball and sent over a cross that Brindley glancing wide of goal

 Stafford attempted to turn the screw at the start of the second half, but found Mark Gayle in commanding form in the Hednesford goal. The experienced stopper made an excellent save from Robin Gibson on forty-nine minutes, followed by an even better save low down to his right to palm away an effort from Edwards a minute later

Wray's trickery saw him drift inside from the left wing on fifty-three minutes, skipping past three challenges but lifting his effort high into the Shed End, prompting ironic cheers from his former employers' supporters

Three successive corners cranked up the pressure on the Hednesford defence, with Edwards heading the best chance of the three narrowly over the crossbar from a Robin Gibson cross on fifty-five minutes

 The inevitable Rangers goal did arrive however on fifty-eight minutes, as the Hednesford defence dithered on a Heath pass to Davidson and allowed the dangerous striker to wriggle past Richard Lucas to wriggle free and fire past Gayle from close range

 Credit to the Pitmen and their wonderful travelling support, as they rolled their sleeves up and attempted to get the visitors back into the game. They were back in it sooner than they thought when only four minutes later, a deep Wray cross from the right was handled in the area by Daniel, who was forced into the error by Piearce's persistence. Skipper Lucas fired the resultant penalty straight down the middle and past Ryan Price to give the Pitmen their equaliser

The away side had their tails up and sensed a win, with Lake showing a lack of composure on sixty-five minutes when Wray's square ball to him was struck high over the crossbar by the experienced midfield man

 Piearce was also guilty of wasting a fine chance for the visitors on seventy minutes, scuffing a shot into the side-netting from six yards out after Wray yet again had got past Alfie Carter down the right and pokes the ball into the path of Piearce

The Pitmen made two quickfire changes to their side in the next five minutes, bringing on Ashley Williams for the limping Simkin and Stewart Airdrie in place of the underperforming Jones

Airdrie brought renewed enthusiasm to the side with his wing play down the left, jinking his way past Alex Gibson on eighty minutes and standing up a fine cross that Daniel did well to shepherd behind under pressure from Piearce at the far post. The resultant Carl Adams corner was headed high over the crossbar by Brindley, who rose highest to meet the deep kick at the far post

With nine minutes remaining, Lake's fitness again got the better of him as he was taken off in favour of Wayne Simpson as the Pitmen looked to add stability to their back line

Stafford's bright opening to the half had somewhat dissipated, with Davidson taken off in place of Berks as Rangers struggled for inspiration in front of a sizeable crowd

Despite a late flurry of corner kicks from both sides, neither team could muster a winner and had to be content with a combative point. It's a point that lifts the Pitmen into the heady heights of third place in the table, with Painter's side looking to claim top spot on Saturday with a win at Tiverton Town

Stafford Rangers: Price, A. Gibson, Carter, Daniel ©, McAughtrie, Lovatt, Robinson (Downes 67), Heath, Edwards, Davidson (Berks 75), R. Gibson      Subs Unused: Bott, Barrow, Ward

Hednesford Town: Gayle, Simkin (Williams 71), Lucas ©, Robinson, Brindley, Lake (Simpson 81), Wray, Ware, Piearce, Jones (Airdrie 75), Adams      Subs Unused: Ryder, Jenkins

bottom of page