Monday, January 09, 2012

Stafford stun big-spenders

 Source: This is Staffordshire

 A TIRELESS display from Neville Thompson helped Stafford Rangers to a thrilling victory over promotion hopefuls FC United.

And although the targetman was not among the goals at Gigg Lane, manager Greg Clowes praised his efforts after naming Thompson as his sole striker to face the big-spending Mancunians.

On-loan Crewe forward Harry Clayton pulled out of the squad with a bout of tonsillitis leaving the Rangers boss with few options.

"When you are up there on your own it's difficult because you have to occupy two centre-halves but Neville did very, very well," Clowes admitted.

"But I will be working even harder this week to bring strikers in.

"We have made three offers for three players. Last week was a frustrating week and losing Harry Clayton did not help."

Peter Heler handed Stafford a 31st-minute lead with a well-taken goal that saw him latch on to Matthew Bell's perfect pass.

Defender Ryan Dicker doubled the lead with a clever back-heel just before the break, prompting more praise from the manager.

"As centre-halves go, Ryan Dicker is a lad who can play football and it was a lovely finish," added Clowes. "He's not one of those ugly central defenders."

United came more into the game after the break, but keeper Danny Read denied them on the hour when he kept out a Carlos Roca penalty.

Mike Norton finally netted from close range on 74 minutes but this proved just a consolation for the home side as they suffered their first home defeat since October.

NANTWICH Town are expecting their young striker Ben Mills to complete his move to Macclesfield Town this week.

A small initial fee has been agreed between the clubs for 22-year-old Mills, who is discussing personal terms with Macc manager Gary Simpson.

Nantwich boss Jimmy Quinn, who has recently spent extra time with Mills on the training ground, said: "It would be a great opportunity for the lad and great for the club because we are producing players for Football League clubs, but Ben has a lot of hard work to do."

Potteries-based Mills was left out of the Nantwich side that drew 1-1 with Mickleover Sports at the Weaver Stadium on Saturday, but Quinn said they would aim to replace him.

The player who took over from Mills up front, regular centre-back Mat Bailey, scored the goal that gave Nantwich the lead after 40 minutes but Mickleover levelled through Alex Steadman 10 minutes from time.

Nantwich had Darren Moss sent off early in the second half for a sliding tackle while Steadman also saw red for a second bookable offence.