Second loss on the bounce for Tigers

YOU wait 10 weeks for a league defeat, and then two come along at once.

On Saturday Worksop Town were beaten for the second game running, as Stafford Rangers triumphed 3-1 in the Northern Premier League clash.

It wasn’t so much a bad day at the office as a bad day on a ploughed field, as the boggy underfoot conditions ruined the game as a spectacle almost from the off.

But Rangers adapted quicker and more effectively to the surface, and three goals in a 10-minute period before half-time wrapped up the points.

Once they had their lead, Stafford sat back, soaked up the Worksop pressure and man marked like their lives depended on it, stifling the visiting attack completely.

The day started badly for Simon Clark, already without the services of Craig King (ankle), Leon Mettam (quads) and Ash Burbeary (hamstring), when Luke Shiels hobbled out of the warm up and was replaced by Adie Hawes.

But things began to look up in the 12th minute of the game, Lee Beeson’s corner only cleared as far as Matt Young and the Worksop midfielder sent a spectacular volley into the top corner of the net from 20 yards.

The home side looked to hit back with an audacious attempt of their own but Fabrice Kasiama shot well over the bar on the turn – it was a warning that Worksop should have heeded.

Some neat play set Oliver Davies on a run into the Tigers box and his shot fell the wrong side of the far post.

At the other end the visitors worked the ball out to the right and when Ryan Clarke slid it back to Lee Potts, the winger sidefooted wide when he perhaps had more time than he thought.

The miss was to prove costly in the 29th minute when a corner was glanced into the net by Karl Ashton, who timed his run to perfection to equalise.

Two minutes later Hawes’ foul on Kasiama gave Stafford a free-kick on the left edge of the box, Michael Carr curled it in and Liam Walshe rose to flick home for 2-1.

Kasiama was proving a handful for the visiting defence and after winning another free-kick from Hawes, had a shot deflected over the bar by Kern Miller.

And with six minutes left in the half Miller’s clearance fell into the path of the impressive striker and he ran in on goal to flick the ball past Bastock to give Stafford a two goal cushion.

Kasiama wasn’t done for the first half, and after outmuscling Lee Potts – not for the first time – he set up Christian Dacres who sparked a 30-yard drive just wide.

Worksop did produce an attack before the break, Potts putting the ball towards the back post where Beeson could have been, had he reacted quicker.

Returning to the pitch for the second 45, Worksop started better than their hosts, without troubling Rangers stopper Danny Read.

Simon Clark played all his cards on 57 minutes, sending on Stuart Ludlam, Nathan Modest and Jake Scott, with Hawes, Beeson and Potts making way.

Stafford were winning regular free-kicks in the Worksop half and the best of them forced a decent save from Bastock, Carr hammering one towards the near post.

Long periods of Worksop possession came and went but with Rangers remaining resolute there was no joy whatsoever in the final third of the pitch.

The game should have been dead and buried when Ashton turned Ludlam and left him face down in the mud, and the ball fell to Jimmy Turner who ballooned over when well placed.

It wasn’t until the 84th minute, with a double sliced clearance from the hosts, that Tigers finally had a chance, but Jackson’s shot at the empty net was cleared just in time.

The resulting corner was headed around before landing at Jackson’s feet and he drove it straight back to Read.

Bastock then spared his side’s blushes as substitute Peter Heler went on a run and almost found the net, but for the keeper’s trailing leg.

He was then faced with Ashton, running clean through, and the big striker blasted woefully over, but had the last laugh as the points stayed in Staffordshire.

Stafford Rangers: Read, George, Brown, Walshe, Bolton, Carr (Kinsella 90), Turner (Heler 75), Dacres (Downes 72), Ashton, Kasiama, Davies. Not used: Quinn, Reid.

Worksop Town: Bastock 6, Clarke 5, Ridley 4, YOUNG 6, Hawes 4 (Ludlam 57), Miller 4, Beeson 4 (Modest 57), Towers 6, Denton 5, Jackson 4, Potts 4 (Scott 57). Not used: Shiels, Telling.

Referee: Edward Smart. Assistants: Gary Clinton, Jonathan Walker.

Goalscorers: Ashton 29, Walshe 32, Kasiama 39; Young 12.

Yellows: Davies 90, Clarke 80, Towers 85.

Attendance: 527.