Action From the Archives (4)

Continuing with Town’s 2011/12 F A Cup exploits and having seen off Newcastle Town in the First Qualifying Round Morton Titterton’s side faced a particularly daunting challenge in the next round away at Stafford Rangers.

In their time the Rangers had been one of the top Non League clubs in the country, and although they were no longer at that level having just been relegated from what is now National League North into the Northern Premier League they were still two levels above Town and therefore firm favourites to ease into the next round.

And at half time it all seemed to be going as expected as the Rangers led 1-0, but in arguably their best ever 45 minutes of F A Cup action Town turned in a genuine giant killing performance to leave the once mighty Rangers stunned and not a little embarrassed.

Yet almost unbelievably Town have not won an F A Cup tie since.  They went out to a late goal at Kings Lynn in the Third Qualifying Round which will be featured next week, and in the five campaigns since Tividale, Tipton Town, Blaby and Whetstone, Coalville Town and most recently AFC Mansfield have all ended Town’s interest at the first time of asking.

Let’s hope that sequence ends in the coming season, and meantime enjoy reading about an afternoon which few who were there will ever forget.

MORE F A CUP MAGIC AS TOWN’S SECOND HALF COMEBACK STUNS THE RANGERS 

Stafford Rangers      –     2    –     Gregory  (OG)  16   Nagington  75                                                   Stratford Town         –     4    –     Murphy  56  Mackey  65  Blake  87  Fellows  90 

This is surely what dreams are made of as Town pulled off one of their most impressive results ever at Marston Road on Saturday.  Trailing at the break they turned the game round  with a second half performance brimming with character and commitment to ultimately outbattle Stafford Rangers  –  who operate two levels above Town in the non-league pyramid  –  and secure a place in the Third Qualifying Round of the F A Cup with Budweiser for only the third time in their history.

In their time the Rangers have been one of the top non-league clubs in the country winning the F A Trophy twice in the 1970’s, and having progressed to the Second Round Proper of the F A Cup as recently as 2006, but they have struggled recently and following relegation from Blue Square Bet North last season went into this match lying 14th in the Evo Stik Northern League Premier Division with 13 points from  12 games.

They had however notched their best result of the season so far in midweek with a 1-0 away win at table toppers Northwich Victoria.

Town meanwhile had a pre-match boost with the news that they had picked up the MFA’s Moldwell Products Team of the Month Award for September with their heroics against Newcastle Town in the previous round no doubt being a contributory factor.

And Newcastle Town had a bearing on this match as well as their previous manager Greg Clowes and most of  their players had moved from Newcastle to the Rangers during the summer and formed the basis of the Rangers team here.

Sam Alsop was once again being a late withdrawal due to his knee problem but with Richard Morris reporting fit Town’s starting line-up showed only one change from last Saturday with Nick Pollard coming in for the unavailable Liam Reynolds.

Town made an encouraging start with the lively Mykel Beckley working an opening after cutting in from the left but firing well over, while at the other end Morris was soon in action as he punched out a left wing corner only as far as Dan Skelton who hit it first time but fortunately straight into Morris’s midriff.

The Rangers were looking to attack Town along the flanks and particularly down the right where the speedy Rob Stevenson has far too much pace for Ricky Baker.   An early foul brought the Town defender a yellow card, and inevitably it was Stevenson who was responsible for the Rangers going ahead in the 16th minute.

Once again he left Baker trailing, and as the unfortunate Andy Gregory tried to intercept his whipped-in centre it ricocheted off him past the bewildered Morris into the net.

And Town’s problems increased shortly after when Danny Haynes limped off with a hamstring problem with Joss Holford taking over at right back.

Beckley responded with a couple of promising runs down the left before being crowded out and Chris  Murphy was getting into some useful positions in midfield, but the Rangers had clearly done their homework on dangerman Ben Mackey who was being tightly marked by Luke George, and Town seldom looked like testing the Rangers keeper Danny Read.

Instead it was Stevenson who continued to make the most of the time and space he was allowed on the right, and on the half hour mark he sprinted past Baker for seemingly the umpteenth time and squared the ball to Chris Budrys whose close range effort was kept out by a reflex save from Morris.

Mackey at last had a shooting opportunity on 35 minutes when Gregory headed on an Adam Cooper free kick but Ryan Dicker was quickly across to snuff out the danger, and it was the Rangers who continued to have the better of the possession with Gregory and Cooper having to use all their experience to keep Town in the game.

And having had much the best of the first half the Rangers almost doubled their lead in the final minute when Stevenson once more went clear down the right to cross into Town’s penalty area, but Jon Sheldon failed to get enough power into his finish and the relieved Morris was able to save going to his right.  

Town could hardly complain at being behind at the interval, and lived dangerously after the restart with both Baker and Holford being forced to clear threatening centres over their own crossbar, but gradually they settled down and Morton Titterton then made what turned out to be a match-changing substitution when he replaced Beckley with the greater physical presence of Josh Blake.

But even before the change had time to work Town equalised.   Pollard was the provider by getting down to the byline on the right and his cross went behind both Blake and Mackey to reach the unmarked Murphy 10 yards out who swivelled to hit a crisp right footer well beyond the helpless Read.

Suddenly it was a different game with the Rangers defence looking increasingly nervous as Town got a grip in midfield while Blake’s persistence made more room for Mackey, and in the 65th minute Town silenced the home supporters by taking the lead.

As Mackey cut in from the right he was bundled over by Skelton but Murphy was first to the loose ball and slipped it back to Mackey who picked himself off the floor to unleash a rasping left foot shot from 20 yards out which rocketed past Read into the top corner of the net.

The Rangers immediately made a double substitution which surprisingly   –  and  much to Baker’s relief   –  included Stevenson being replaced,  and their fresh legs certainly gave them a bit of  momentum..

Morris just about guided a Glynn Blackhurst effort from distance round the post, and the tie was once again evenly poised when the Rangers equalised with 15 minutes to go.

Stuart Herlihy gave away a free kick on the halfway line which was launched into the penalty area by Paul Donnelly and after Michael Morton had his shot parried by Morris the ball broke to fellow substitute Alan Nagington who forced it past Morris from a narrow angle.

Getting back on level terms seemed to give the Rangers added impetus but Morris comfortably held a Budrys header before only being able to watch as a long range effort from Morton thudded against his left hand post and away to safety.

Perhaps with the idea of hanging on for a replay Morton Titterton withdrew Pollard and sent on the more defensively minded Karl Fellows as the Rangers final substitute Neville Thompson began to worry the Town defence with a couple of menacing runs down the left.

But this was the F A Cup and this tie wasn’t all over.  With three minutes left the Rangers  defence failed to deal with a Herlihy cross from the left and Mackey drilled the loose ball back into the six yard box where it was turned in by the predatory Blake to put Town in front again.

And with the Rangers piling forward in a last desperate attempt to avoid being on the wrong end of a Cup upset Town amazingly added a fourth in the final minute of normal time.

Mackey was again involved as he picked up a clearance on the right touchline and expertly turned past Donnelly to cut into the penalty area where his shot rebounded off the bar and Fellows followed up to loop a header over the stranded keeper into the net.

The four added minutes seemed never ending as the Rangers desperately sought to repeat Town’s miracle reprieve at Newcastle a fortnight ago but at last the referee blew the final whistle and the celebrations for the travelling Town faithful could begin.

Morton Titterton and his players left the pitch to a rapturous reception and their run in this famous old competition this season is almost becoming fantasy.  In five matches they have netted a scarcely believable 24 goals, and with a favourable draw on Monday there could well be more to come.

Beckley tackled Staff FA Cup_MG_0080_edited-1

Mackey goal_MG_0272_edited-1

Mackey fires Town ahead…

Mackey tumble Staff FA Cup_MG_0277_edited-1

…and celebrates in style

Blake celebrates players in wake Staff FA Cup_MG_0339_edited-1

Blake regains the advantage

Morton finger pointing celebration Staff FA Cup_MG_0410_edited-1

Fellows goal Staff FA Cup_MG_0379_edited-1

Fellows seals the win

Supporters cheers Staff FA Cup_MG_0457_edited-1

The fans and officials celebrate

TOWN : Morris, Haynes (Holford 23), Baker, Murphy, Gregory, Cooper,  Faulds, Herlihy, Mackey, Beckley (Blake 54), Pollard (Fellows 81).    Unused Subs   –   Brown, Thompson  & Cross (GK)

STAFFORD : Read, Donnelly, Skelton, George, Dicker, Blackhurst, Heler, Stevenson (Morton 76),  Budrys, Kinsella (Nagington 76), Sheldon (Thompson 76).   Unused Subs  –  Shotton & Alcock

Attendance      –    438

Town  Man of the Match    –   Josh Blake

The View From The Dug-Out  –  Morton Titterton reflects on a magical afternoon

“We had a poor first half.  We showed them too much respect and allowed them too much time, but we put that right after half time and I thought that we were terrific from then on.  Josh Blake made a huge difference when he came on as he played closer to Mackey and was able to combine with him to put pressure on their defence, but the whole squad was absolutely magnificent and I’m proud of them all.

And what really pleases me about this result is what it means for the Club.  There are so many people who put in a tremendous amount of work to keep the Club going, and afternoons like this are their reward for all their efforts season after season.” 

Match Stats by Rod Abrahams 

Town        –    GA  12  OT  6  HW  1   CW  1  FC 18  OS  6  YC 2   RC  0

Stafford    –    GA  12  OT  7  HW  1    CW 10  FC  6  OS  1  YC 0   RC  0

Town Yellow Cards             –       Baker & Gregory

Stafford Yellow Cards         –       None

Match Report by Bryan Hale

Nick Mowl

STISA are sad to report the death in tragic circumstances  last Tuesday (May 16th)  of former Town midfielder Nick Mowl at the age of only 41

Having previously been at Solihull Borough Nick was brought to Town by Micky Moore at the start of the 2007/8 season, and later went on to play for Bedworth United.

Nick Mowl

Tog’s competition

OK You have had a quiz from Rod. How did you do ? Now here’s a time-passer for those times where you just want to sit and pass the time ! It will keep you and the webpage ticking over during the down-time from football.

From the letters of  ………..

“STRATFORD TOWN”

…… how many words, of five letters or more, can you make out of our beloved football club’s name ?

Rules :-

Either singular or plural words – BUT NOT BOTH

No names, places, slang, rude nor swear words, derogatory nor offensive words

No prizes offered; it’s just for fun !

If you want to “make a comment” with your total and name, please do so.

Thomas goes in to management with Rushall

Wayne Thomas has been appointed manager of Northern Premier League Rushall Olympic. The vastly experienced centre half who recently played 5 games on loan at the DCS stadium was released by Kidderminster at the end of the season.

The Pics chairman John Allen commented “Wayne’s personality, ambitions, contacts and ethos is exactly what we were looking for and I am excited by this appointment as we look forward to a successful 2017/18. “Meanwhile the hard work will continue off-the-field to draw new supporters and finances to the club to allow us to continue to progress way beyond our natural fit as a village football club.”

5F3A1498

Wayne Thomas in action for Town

Action From The Archives (3)

Town’s F A Cup run in the 2011/12 season was now really grabbing everyone’s attention, and after the epic ten goal thriller in Staffordshire which was featured last week Town and Newcastle met again for the replay three days later at the DCS.

Amazingly it was yet another goal fest with another eight to make it eighteen in total over the two games with this time Ben Mackey emulating Newcastle’s  Anthony Malbon by hitting five on his own.

And unlike Malbon in the original tie he was on the winning side as Town progressed into the Second  Qualifying Round where their reward was a daunting  away tie at mighty Stafford Rangers.

Read how they fared in that one next week, but for now here’s the report on the  second action packed encounter with Newcastle who had come so close to winning the original tie but who were now simply blown away by Town’s and particularly Mackey’s  clinical finishing.

 A MACKEY MASTERCLASS DESTROYS NEWCASTLE AND SENDS TOWN INTO THE NEXT ROUND 

Stratford Town        –     6    –    Mackey  (5)  2, 20, 37, 49 & 81    Beckley  39                                     Newcastle Town     –     2    –    Lane  55   Malbon  86 

Mackey and Pollard NT FA Cup_MG_9632_edited-1Mackey celebration NT FA Cup_MG_9661_edited-1Supporters in rain _MG_9606_edited-1Town cheers end of game_MG_9693_edited-1

After Saturday’s collector’s item of a scoreline  –  according to Club historian  Alan Hawkins the last time Town drew 5-5 in a League or Cup match was back in September 1952  –  it was surely too much to ask for more of the same in Tuesday evening’s replay at the DCS.

But amazingly it was another goal fest with Ben Mackey equalling Anthony Malbon’s Saturday feat by banging in five as Town overwhelmed their Staffordshire visitors with the game being effectively decided  by the interval when Town had raced to a four goal lead with a scintillating first half display.

Town’s starting line-up showed two changes from Saturday with Adam Cooper replacing Ross Brown in the backline and Nick Pollard coming in for the injured Nathan Edgington.

For Newcastle both Dave Harper and Leon Ashman who came on as half time substitutes on Saturday kept their places, while Ryan Connor was preferred to Jack Harrison in midfield.

Mykel Beckley had turned in a Man of the Match performance for Town on Saturday when he terrorised the Newcastle defence with his pace down the left as he helped himself to  a first half hat-trick, and he was in the same devastating form here straight from the kick-off.

Barely a minute had been played when he sprinted past James Askey with his cross being put behind for a corner from which Danny Haynes’ header was deflected away for another corner.

Taken by Mark Faulds on the left it was spilled by keeper Dave Dyson and turned in by Mackey to give Town exactly the start they wanted.

Clearly stunned by this early setback Newcastle struggled to make any impact apart from a couple of free kicks.   With Beckley continuing to threaten whenever he got the ball and Mackey exuding class with his instant control of the ball and his ability to make the perfectly weighted pass Town were well on top.

And they deservedly went two up in the 20th minute when for the umpteenth time Beckley ghosted past the hapless Askey and lobbed the ball across to the far post where it was neatly headed back by Pollard for the predatory Mackey to fire past Dyson from close in.

With dangerman Malbon being tightly marked by Cooper and hardly being allowed a meaningful kick Newcastle offered little up front and it continued to be all Town.

Skipper Sam Alsop was bossing midfield and set up a chance for Beckley only for his effort to be well held by Dyson, and soon after Mackey charged down an attempted clearance by Dave Whittaker with the loose ball falling to Beckley whose shot on the turn beat Dyson but fizzed inches wide.

A teasing cross from the left by Alsop was then just out of the stretching Pollard’s reach before Town made it three on 37 minutes, and again it was down to poor handling by the unfortunate Dyson.

Nothing much seemed on as he came out to the edge of the penalty area to collect a hopeful through ball from Pollard, but he inexplicably fumbled it into the path of Mackey who turned and exquisitely chipped it over the stranded keeper into the empty net.

What a sensational way to complete a 35 minute hat-trick.

And it got even worse for Newcastle two minutes later as the busy Pollard   –  who was enjoying easily his best game yet in a Town shirt  –  threaded the ball through to Beckley who had moved inside and he outpaced a couple of covering defenders to coolly slot it past the advancing Dyson to give Town a surely unassailable four goal interval lead.  

Even by the standards of this wildly unpredictable cup tie it seemed that there could be no way back for Newcastle, but they came out in determined mood after the break.  Askey was soon replaced by Harrison as they switched to only three at the back but before the change had had time to work their task became virtually impossible as they went five behind.

This time Ricky Baker was the provider with a though pass down the inside left channel.  Beckley was in an offside position but he sensibly made no attempt to play the ball and instead it was seized on by Mackey  –  who was clearly onside  –  and he surged into the penalty area to unerringly shoot past the helpless Dyson.

Shortly after Newcastle pulled a goal back when Jack Lane headed in from a right wing corner, and on the hour mark it was Lane again who tried his luck with a rasping effort from 25 yards which was deflected behind off Haynes.

By now Newcastle had all three of their substitutes on, and for a while they had their best spell of the game.  Malbon at last escaped from Cooper’s clutches to test Richard Morris with a fiercely struck shot from distance, and with a quarter of an hour left he pounced on a misdirected  header from Faulds to hit a screamer from 25 yards which was acrobatically tipped over by Morris at full stretch.

But Town and Mackey were not finished yet, and it was six for Town and five for Mackey with ten minutes to go.

And the move started with a Newcastle free kick on the right which was comfortably collected by Morris who intelligently threw it out to Pollard on the right.   With most of the Newcastle players having piled forward for the free kick Pollard was able to sprint  the length of the pitch before squaring the ball across the six yard box for Mackey who was never going to miss from there.

Shortly after Mackey was withdrawn and went off to a rapturous reception not only from the Town supporters but also from the rest of his team-mates as well.

To their credit Newcastle kept going to the end with Morris pulling off another spectacular save to keep out a Lane thunderbolt and Malbon finally getting on the scoresheet by prodding home from a couple of yards out after Town had made a mess of dealing with a corner from the left.

So after two breathless games in which 18 goals had been scored with 16 coming from Malbon, Mackey and Beckley between them it is Town who progress to face Stafford Rangers in the next round.  The Rangers were relegated from the Bet Square Bet North last season and are currently 16th in the Premier Division of the Evo-Stik Northern League  –  two levels above Town.

And intriguingly their manager and most of their players only moved there from Newcastle in the summer.

But if Town can conjure up a repeat of this evening’s performance  there must be every possibility that they come back from the Rangers’ Marston Road ground with another positive result to keep their Cup run going.

TOWN : Morris, Faulds, Baker, Alsop, Haynes, Cooper, Reynolds (Holford 75), Herlihy, Mackey (Thompson 83), Beckley (Murphy 66),  Pollard.    Unused Subs   –   M Fellows,  Brown & Cross (GK)

NEWCASTLE : Dyson, Askey (Harrison 48), Lane, Harper, Whittaker, Connor, Diskin (Blake 61), Macpherson, Ashman, Malbon, Carter (Daniels 51).   Unused Subs  –  Bradbury  & Price.

Attendance      –    211

Marstons Town  Man of the Match    –   Ben Mackey

The View From The Dug-Out  –  Morton Titterton is a happy man

“I really enjoyed that !!  They are from a higher level than us and we completely outplayed  them.  Ben Mackey was simply different class, but  it wasn’t all a one man show as Nick Pollard, Mykel Beckley and Sam Alsop also stood out for me in a tremendous team performance. We were worthy winners and I’m absolutely delighted.” 

Match Stats by Rod Abrahams 

Town           –    GA  13  OT  9  HW  0   CW  5  FC 10  OS 2  YC 0   RC  0

Newcastle    –    GA  13  OT  7  HW  0   CW  13  FC  9  OS 3  YC 1   RC  0

Town Yellow Cards                –       None

Newcastle Yellow Cards         –       Diskin

Match Report by Bryan Hale

STISA QUIZ QUESTIONS – MAY 2017

Just to keep our website ticking over here are a few quiz questions, provided by Rod, have fun, answers next week.

1. Which part of London is famous for its Diamond trade?
2. What was first broadcast from Greenwich by the BBC in February 1924?
3. Who is the longest reining British King?
4 Which Sport was the subject of the Poppewell Report in 1985?
5 Which building was Prime Minister Lloyd George the first to use?
6 Who was the first person to manage Everton 3 times?
7 Who was first to win the US Masters Golf 5 times?
8 Who scored the last minute play off goal for Crystal Palace in 1997?
9 Who was the first jockey to ride seven Derby winners?
10 Who did Gazza flick the ball over for the goal against Scotland in the Euro 96?

No cheating by looking up the answers on the internet, this is just a bit of fun!

Joe Perkins leaves Town

Sad to report that Joe Perkins our magnificent Physio, Match Reporter, results predictor organiser and all round top gentleman is to leave Town due to work commitments after 5 fantastic years at the club.

Joe perkins

Joe commented ” It is with a heavy heart that I have made the decision to leave my position as Physiotherapist at Stratford Town FC. I have had five wonderful, memorable and successful years at the DCS and will greatly miss the camaraderie within the dressing room and with the many fans and friends I have made and met in that time.
I would like to thank Carl for giving me the opportunity to join him at STFC after he left Coleshill Town, where I spent three great years with him prior to our Stratford adventure, and for his friendship throughout those years. Sniffer, too, has also been a great friend during that period and he really is Mr Reliable.
There are so many people to thank at Stratford Town, and I’d be here all night mentioning them all so I’d just like to say a huge thank you to everyone at the club, from the players, those in the boardroom, to the fans and all the staff, for their friendship, help and support – you have all helped to make the last five years truly remarkable and unforgettable.
With immense fondness I look back at days like when we beat Westfields away in our MFA promotion season, the celebrations afterwards were outrageous, but encapsulated the craziness of that amazing first year at STFC, the play-off games against Taunton and Larkhall, the brilliant draw we achieved with ten men at Leamington last season; again, I could go on, so many fantastic memories, so many great games, goals, celebrations and laughs.
Thank you all so, so much, I mean that with the utmost sincerity. My final thought is beautifully summed up by the Bard, “I pray you, know me when we meet again. I wish you well, and so I take my leave.”(taken from The Merchant of Venice)

 

Bishops Stortford Are Lined Up as Worcester’s Replacement

Following Worcester City’s decision to play at a lower level next season it is understood that Bishops Stortford have been provisionally named to take their spot in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.

Stortford had finished last season in 23rd place in National League South and had been expecting to be relegated into the Isthmian League Premier Division, but  subject to final confirmation have now been re-routed  to join Town in the  Southern League.

And Town supporters may well remember their only previous meeting with Stortford back in October 2006 when a side containing the legendary Dennis Bailey among others went down narrowly in an F A Cup Third  Qualifying Round tie.

Gosport Borough will also come into the Southern League from National League South as Champions Chippenham Town move in the opposite direction while and Play Off winners Leamington head to National League North.