Express & Star

Marine 4 Stafford Rangers 0 - Report

A dominant display from Marine AFC saw Stafford Rangers lose 4-0 in the Northern Premier League.


Dave Cooke’s side suffered their second loss in a row at the Marine Travel Arena and remain five points adrift of safety from relegation.

The home side enjoyed the ball from the off, and it took Marine striker Bobby Grant just over three minutes to net on his debut. A poor Cameron Belford clearance led to a Grant opportunity from the edge of the box, and the forward finished superbly into the top-left corner.

Marine wide-man Finlay Sinclair-Smith caused chaos throughout the first period and saw his effort parried away well by Belford soon after the opener.

The Mariners side continued their dominance and full-back Matty Waters found the top-left corner fantastically from more than 30 yards out approaching the 15-minute mark.

2-0 down, things went from bad to worse for Stafford soon after as goalkeeper Belford suffered a serious blow to the head denying Sinclair-Smith’s free-kick heading towards the near post. Clashing with the woodwork, Belford received care for five minutes, but bravely battled on after being bandaged up.

The shot-stopper was immediately called into action denying Sinclair-Smith before Jake Moult’s error and poor pass presented Marine with an excellent opportunity, but Ethan Stewart was able to deny the winger once again.

Midfielder Louis White was then denied by the post as Marine entered the break on top.

Sinclair-Smith blasted his early second-half free-kick effort above the bar before Stafford substitute Connor Heath powered inside from the left-side but fired off-target.

Another poor Belford clearance from goal then led to a Marine penalty conceded by Joe Willis looking to defend the Rangers goal, and White sent the shot-stopper the wrong way for Marine’s third.

Sean Cooke’s effort wasn’t far from the top-left corner for the away side, but Marine’s dominance continued as Grant, Sinclair-Smith and Gregson all enjoyed efforts on goal but were denied by the Rangers.

Sinclair-Smith grabbed the goal he deserved in stoppage time lobbing Cameron Belford through in behind the Stafford defence, and sealed the 4-0 win for Marine.