Newcastle Town 0
Stafford Rangers 1
STAFFORD Rangers took a break from their troubled league campaign to book themselves a third consecutive appearance in the Staffs Senior Cup final.
The evening got off to a slow start and the game had passed the 15 minute mark before either side was able to create a meaningful chance.
It came Newcastle’s way via a free kick on the right from Ethan Vale. Former Stafford left back James Askey got in front of the Boro defence but with the goal at his mercy, he somehow managed to put the ball wide.
The let-off triggered Stafford into action and, just a minute later, they were in front. Josh Green and Jaiden White combined on the left to give Jazz Luckie an opening and although Joe Slinn managed to make the save, Jack Sherratt was first to the loose ball.
Two minutes later, Slinn saved from Luckie’s header as Stafford looked to extend their lead.
Newcastle’s plans were disrupted somewhat when midfielder Michael Conlon hobbled off midway through the half following a hard tackle from Green and it was Stafford who continued to cause the most danger although the Newcastle back line denied them a clear opportunity.
Charlie Scott tried his luck for the home side with a 25 yard strike but Jono Brown was untroubled while Stafford saw a shot from Sherratt swing wildly off target and another from Green comfortably taken by Slinn.
Defender Josh Burns came close to doubling Stafford’s lead on the hour but his powerful drive was blocked on the line. Later, Burns went close again with a good strike from distance that went a couple of feet over the Newcastle cross bar.
The home side stepped up their search for an equaliser in the closing 10 minutes and had Stafford pushed back deeper into defence but although there were one or two moments of alarm and desperate clearances, keeper Brown wasn’t called upon to make a save.
The other semi final is between Rushall Olympic and either Kidsgrove Athletic or Stoke City.
The quarter-final game between Kidsgrove and Stoke is scheduled to be played next Wednesday, March 13, with the winner to face Rushall in the other semi.
No date has been set yet for the final.
Newcastle : Slinn, Dennis, Askey, Vale, Lowe (Morley 46), Scott, Conlon (T Van Der Laan 26), J Van Der Laan, Glover, Howell, Ward. Unused subs: Bradbury, Pickering
Rangers : Brown, J Burns, Green (Hill 83), Coulson, D Burns, Harvey, White (Grayson 82), Thorley, Charles, Luckie, Sherratt. Unused subs: Bignot, King
Referee : Scott Simpson
Cautions : None
Attendance : 103