Tuesday 20th November 2012 ko 19.45
Walsall Senior Cup 2nd Round
STAFFORD TOWN 1 (McMahon 55)
STAFFORD RANGERS 2 (L Reid 33 Kinsella 49)
When I was a child Stafford was off-limits, as my Dad did the vast majority of his National Service there, and hated the whole experience. When his time in the forces, was up, in 1955 and he was demobbed, he caught the bus back to Oxford and swore never to return to Stafford. That promise he kept right up to 1982 when the need to catch an early ferry from Heysham to the Isle of Man necessitated an overnight stay, and the most convenient stopping point was Stafford. Even then, we arrived late in the day, and left early the next morning.
Not of course there’s anything wrong with the place, with the ruins of a Gothic revival castle the major landmark since Norman times. More recently the town has become a major railway connection, which attracted major industry to the area. Much of that still exists, particularly in the field of Electrical Engineering. In contrast, Bostik has a factory here. Notable people born in Stafford include actor Neil Morrisey, “Compleat Angler,” author Isaak Walton and comedian Dave Gorman.
Stafford Town were formed in 1976, and Evans Park, named after chairman Gordon Evans is a fine place to have as your first permanent home. Situated around a mile from their more illustrious neighbours, it satisfies their current requirements, playing in the Midland Combination Premier Division, and has the capacity to be adapted, most obviously in the case of the stand, should the club progress. The choice of hedge as a perimeter will mean though that people will be able to watch from outside the ground for a few years yet!
With this being the first time the two clubs have met, there was a friendly buzz about the place, an atmosphere helped by Rangers opting not to take their percentage of the gate, as is their right under competition rules. It was a good game to watch too, with Rangers looking like a side 3 divisions higher, but Town working hard to keep them out. Former Oxford United forward Levi Reid opened the scoring after a fine cross from the left, no doubt annoying his younger brother Ishmale playing for Town!
When Sean Kinsella’s thumping shot double the lead, the tie looked dead and buried, but Rangers stopped the neat passing that had given them the advantage. A swirling free kick was eventually touched in by Paul McMahon. Other than a clever Fabrice Kasiama 35 yard shot that cannoned off the bar, it was all Town. Spencer Gunnell delayed far too long in shooting allowing Christian Dacres to dive across him to block his effort. And that ultimately was the difference between the two sides, that edge in front of goal.