Express & Star

Hyde 1 Stafford Rangers 1 - Report

Stafford Rangers claimed a valuable point against high-flying Hyde United as Manasse Mampala cancelled out Kaiman Anderson’s opener.


The Rangers remained 21st in the Northern Premier League standings, but closed the gap to Basford United and safety from relegation to just six points as they returned to action after a two-week break.

It was a nervy start for Rangers defender Isaac Lee who gifted the home side an opportunity with a defensive error. Harry Bunn profited from Lee’s mistake, but his cross could not meet the heads of several Hyde forward men darting forward.

Joe Willis sliced an effort wide in the 10th-minute for Stafford before Ethan Stewart produced a superb block to deny Bunn and his header.

Cameron Belford denied the winger soon after before the Rangers enjoyed attacking success themselves. Connor Heath danced his way through the home side defence and presented Cooke with a shooting opportunity, but after the midfielder’s effort was blocked, debutant Owen German could not find the target with his follow-up.

Stafford’s Willis forced a good save from Jordan Eastham before Ben Woods headed wide from Andy Burns’ swinging cross, and Willis was left unhappy at the half-hour mark as fellow midfielder Cooke tried his luck from distance. The manager’s son will have had his fine long-range goal - which he scored previously at Matlock - fresh in his mind when firing at the goal.

Succumbing to late first-half pressure, the Rangers were relieved to enter the break without conceding a goal, and they had a perfect start to the second period as Anderson gave Dave Cooke’s side the lead. Netting with composure after a long-ball over the top, the counter-attack proved a successful tactic for the Rangers.

Hyde searched for an instant leveller as Callum Spooner tested Belford three-minutes past the half-hour mark, but the Stafford shot-stopper held the effort well to keep his side’s advantage.

Ben Woods then threatened twice for the Rangers but was denied before Jack Redhsaw fired wide after getting in-behind Lee and Stafford’s defence.

Redshaw then turned provider for the Hyde equaliser as Manasse Mampala headed Hyde level from his sweeping cross and caused agony for the Rangers like he did last season when the forward earned all three points for the Tigers.

The Rangers remained resilient until the end, fending off Hyde attacking waves, as Anderson looked to sniff out an opportunity for a winner. However, the full-time whistle came and Stafford earned their 18th point of the season.