Staffordshire Senior Cup: Stone Old Alleynians 1 Stafford Rangers 3 - Report

Stafford Rangers are celebrating yet another Staffordshire Senior Cup triumph after coming back from behind to beat a spirited Stone Old Alleynians 3-1.

SPORT COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 04/05/2022..Stafford Rangers V Stone  Old Alleynians at the Burton Albion ground..
SPORT COPYRIGHT EXPRESS AND STAR STEVE LEATH 04/05/2022..Stafford Rangers V Stone Old Alleynians at the Burton Albion ground..

A hard-fought affair at Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium saw Stone take a surprise lead early on as player-manager Luke Askey headed home.

Former Wolves defender Matt Hill's men eventually showed their quality, though, as star man Tom Tonks struck from the edge of the box.

Kaiman Anderson then came up with a second-half double as Rangers grabbed their third Senior Cup trophy in succession.

Stone were making their first-ever final appearance, having beaten Hednesford Town along the way, and the Midland Premier outfit were hoping to pull off another upset.

Rangers' Ethan Stewart tracks Stone's Jack Tomlinson

Rangers, meanwhile, were out to finish the season on a high note after finishing eighth in the Northern Premier.

They beat Rushall Olympic in the last final at Stoke in 2019 – the last two years wiped out by Covid.

A scrappy start to the clash saw Stone try their luck with some ambitious long-range efforts.

Skipper Matthew Thomas saw his strike fly comfortably wide of the far post, but Sam Bradbury's low drive kept Tyrell Belford on his toes.

Rangers struggled to display their superiority against a team two levels below them, and with a quarter of an hour on the clock, they fell behind.

Luke Askey heads home for Stone

An inswinging corner to the far post was met by Askey, who expertly guided his header beyond Belford.

Stone had to be sharp to prevent an immediate response – Ryan Goodwin getting in the way of a goalbound effort from Tonks – but they were performing valiantly.

Naturally, Hill's charges enjoyed more possession as the half progressed, and they managed to level things up before the interval.

Tonks had easily been their best player and duly found the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

He was then heavily involved as Rangers got themselves in front shortly after the break.

Tom Tonks scores for Rangers

Joe Kenton's low delivery from the right was directed towards goal by Tonks, with centre-forward Anderson getting the final touch just to make sure.

Stone, to their credit, kept fighting with everything they had and were refusing to make life easy for the leaders.

Rangers, however, made sure of the victory with a third in the closing stages.

Substitute Theo Bailey-Jones' inviting delivery was nodded in by Anderson to avoid an anxious finish. Rangers' recent dominance of the competition continues.

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