Stafford Rangers 2 Port Vale 0
Rangers fans initially expected to see a strong Vale first team in this game but faced a very mixed outfit that were at times dynamic, energetic and had to be overcome by strength and a degree of experience in their own ranks.
The opening period was initially made up of some hectic midfield play with more speed and less haste before it started to settle with Vale trying to get a hold before John Kapend, a former Vale youngster, won Rangers’ first corner on ten minutes. Vale’s first real attack was somewhat eventful as Bayley attacked down the left and was intercepted by an excellent bye-line tackle from Ben Forrest who picked up a nasty injury, in the process. Sadly, this held up the game for some 18 minutes and all credit must go to both sets of medical staff and the teams in the way Forrest was not only treated but also shielded by a guard of both teams as he left the field on a stretcher.
The game eventually got back under way with a corner that was comfortably dealt with and what followed was a period of Rangers taking control rather than letting the incident deter them. On 39 minutes Joe Cuff played a ball into the Vale box and Ellis Jones tripped Josh Endall as he took control. Steve Martin pointed to the spot and Tyrone Ofori stepped up to give Rangers a 1-0 lead. Before half time Rangers were unlucky not to go further ahead as Cuff again cut in on the left but his shot also beat the far post as well as Stone’s diving save.
The second half again saw Rangers make big changes, but this time was 8 rather than the full 11. This line-up really started to assert itself, with Charles, Kenton and Cuff all having runs or efforts in the opening spell. On the hour Rangers won a left win corner and when Kenton whipped this into the near post it was met with a deft touch by Ofori to grab his second. Kapend replaced Cuff for his second run out of the game and when a ball was swung to the back he clipped the ball back where John Welsh fired just over. Declan Arber replaced the goal-getter Ofori and fired just wide himself with his first touch.
The 66th minute saw Vale introduce 7 changes and although this gave them fresh legs, Rangers continued to be more dominant. On 78 minutes McDermott had a rare chance for the visitors but fired well over. As the game wore on Rangers pressed again and a deep cross from the left saw a header strike a defender’s hand and a penalty was awarded. This was uncharacteristically fired so high it cleared the Shed End, by Jake Charles.
This proved to be the last meaningful action of the game as Rangers recorded their third consecutive friendly win, scoring 2 goals and keeping a clean sheet in the process.
Stafford Rangers (1st Half): Brown, Dawes, Endall, Harvey, Forrest, O’Niell, Kapend, Tonks, Ofori, Carr, Cuff
Stafford Rangers (2nd Half): Whitehouse, Trialist, Sutton, Moran, Welsh, Kenton, Charles, Tonks, Ofori, Trialist, Cuff
Port Vale: Stone (66’ Collinge), Dyer (58’ Chibaya), Trialist, Clarke (78’ Celeany), Lennon (58’ Osman), Martin (58’ Illori), Trialist (Plant 66’), Jones (58’ McFarlane), Garrity (58’ Chale), Proctor (45’ Okenla), Bailey (58’ McDermott)
Referee – Steve Martin
Report Alan Gee
Image Wendy Hill