Stafford Rangers 0 Morpeth 0 - Report

Dale Belford praised Morpeth Town AFC after a goalless stalemate with Stafford Rangers at Marston Road in the Northern Premier League, writes Luke Powell.

Stafford draw
Stafford draw

The Rangers extend their unbeaten run at home to five league matches but remain winless from their last four overall.

It’s the first goalless draw at Marston Road so far this season and the second of all games, and assistant manager Dale Belford spoke highly of the opposition who defended well to take a point.

He said: “If anybody saw the game today, it was a difficult game.

“Craig Lynch is a good manager and he set his team up in a way not to lose the game and I respect that.

“If you can’t win, don't lose. Sometimes you’ve got to credit the opposition for how manfully they defended.

“I thought they were fantastic from a defensive point of view and it’s down to us to break them down, unfortunately we couldn’t do that.

“On the flip side we kept a clean sheet and that’s what we’ve spoken about.”

Belford praised the home support on ‘Non-League day’ as he looms for his side to battle on moving forward.

“The atmosphere was fantastic,” said Belford.

Adding: “The fans have backed us and they’re great supporters. It’s not been as easy as last year for Matty and myself in terms of the results.

“It’s been a bit up and down like the Pepsi Max ride at Blackpool, but you buy your ticket and enjoy the ride.

“The fans have stuck by us. Unfortunately we lacked a bit of quality today but the result was a fair result for both sides.

“Going forward we’re going to go to Radcliffe and it’s going to be a really tough game. They’re flying high in the league and if we aren’t at our very best then it’s going to be a difficult afternoon for us.”

In the first half, the first real opportunity was presented to Rangers midfielder Jack Baxter who shot wide in the 23rd minute before Connor Pye headed over at close-range a minute later for the away side, probably thinking he should’ve done better.

Morpeth’s defence was excellent with captain Jeff Henderson clearing everything sent his way. Nathan Bissett’s header then rolled past the half-way line as goalkeeper Danidel Lowson ambitiously looked to clear with his head from outside the box, and the sides were level into the break.

In the second 45, the excellent defensive work from the away side resumed as Callum Saunders’ 60th-minute free-kick was deflected away and Joe Willis’ shot blocked at close-range.

Morpeth grew with confidence going forward looking to create with it coming to nothing, much the story for the home side too with Rangers’ opportunities and late free-kicks seen away well.

Stafford were met by the brick wall defence every time they attacked and as Belford said the draw was a fair reflection of how the game went.

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