It’s been a long summer, but the Dolly Blues finally return to league action. This weekend, Lancaster open their season against Stafford Rangers at the Giant Axe at 3pm.
Stafford finished 14th last season in the Evo-Stik Premier League, one point behind 13th placed Hednesford Town, three points ahead of 15th placed Matlock Town and two points and two places below City. Rangers won 11 of their 40 league matches, drawing 14 and losing 15.
In terms of league form at the back end of last season, Rangers ended positively by gaining 10 points out of a possible 15 from their last five fixtures. Their good run of form ended on a high after defeating Matlock Town in a confident 4-1 victory. Stafford will be hoping to bring that good form from the end of last season into their upcoming campaign.
Stafford’s previous three league fixtures:
27/04/19 – Stafford Rangers vs Matlock Town – 4-1
22/04/19 – Nantwich Town vs Stafford Rangers – 1-0
20/04/19 – Stafford Rangers vs South Shields – 1-1
The Boro have also had a convincing pre-season, beating Stafford Town 9-0 and AFC Newtown 2-0. They also drew 1-1 with the academy of League Two side Oldham Athletic.
One to Watch – Josh Green
Green is one of the new additions at Rangers this season. He arrived on loan from Football League side Fleetwood Town and has performed well in pre-season. The midfielder was noticed during his time at Stalybridge Celtic when several Football League scouts came calling. Green could prove to be a shrewd signing for Stafford this season and will be looking to cause many teams many problems.
They have made some positive signings, such as Port Vale youngster Joe Berks, who has recently arrived on loan prior to league clearance and confirmation. They have also signed Josh Burns, previously with Lincoln City, along with former Burnley, Fleetwood and Barrow player Alex-Ray Harvey. So, it is fair to say that Stafford have added Football League quality players to their squad in recent weeks.
The last time the Dolly Blues went face to face with Stafford was during their 1-1 draw at Marston Road. At the time, both sides were suffering at the wrong end of the table. The affair was a scrappy one, with the best two chances of the first half falling for Brad Carsley, who sent both chances begging. City were awarded a penalty 10 minutes from half-time, with Rangers ‘keeper Adam Siviter tripping David Norris, with Rob Wilson scoring from the spot. Lancaster would battle throughout the second half to maintain their lead, but it was a moment of magic from Tom Thorley’s free kick just outside the box in added time that led to City sharing the spoils with Rangers.
By Adam Smith