It was back-to-back home defeats for Stafford Town as they were beaten 2-0 by Alsager Town, who never allowed Stafford to show any of the good football that they produced in their opening league match. Alsager started the game quickly, shooting wide in just the third minute before a series of corners in the next ten minutes saw the ball scrambled clear at the last second on several occasions as Stafford looked to weather the storm. Alsager were doing an excellent job of pressing the ball high up the pitch, preventing Stafford from building any sort of passing rhythm. A goal certainly looked like it was coming for the visitors, who hit the bar in the 21st minute before finally taking the lead two minutes later; a diagonal ball to the left allowed the Alsager wide-man to cut inside and curl the ball into the far corner. Stafford eventually managed some attacks of note, Alsager defenders putting their bodies on the line twice to block consecutive shots inside the box. Alsager then missed a great chance to double the lead in the 30th minute, firing the ball over the bar after finding themselves in behind the Stafford backline. Stafford’s toothless first half display was summed up when a dangerously placed free kick failed to produce any shot at the Alsager goal. HT 1-0 Alsager Town. Stafford rang the changes at the break, introducing Henry Smith at the heart of the defence and Ryan Taylor in attack as they switched to a 4-3-3 formation. It was Alsager who had the first meaningful attack of the half however, as a dangerous cross from the right was whipped across the six-yard box lacking only the touch needed to finish. After ten minutes Stafford finally began to have their best spell of the game as Alsager were finding it more difficult to maintain their high press due to their exertions in the opening period. The half-time substitutes appeared to be making a difference, Smith in particular, who bravely won a multitude of contested headers throughout the half. In the 54th minute a whipped cross from Josh Wilson was just missed at the far post by a diving and outstretched Ryan Taylor. Minutes later another good ball into the box led to a shot by Sean Kinsella that was saved, before a corner resulted in two more blocked shots for the hosts. Alsager then halted any Stafford momentum in the 64th minute as they were awarded a clear penalty, Chris Anderson fouling the Alsager wide-man on the right side of the penalty area. The penalty was subsequently dispatched into the left corner to settle any Alsager nerves, the visitors then expertly managing the rest of the half to ensure there could be no Stafford comeback, even having a late chance to make it three but firing over the bar. FT 2-0 Alsager Town. Stafford next face their first away test of the season on Saturday as they take on St. Martins at the home of Welsh Champions TNS, before hosting Cammell Laird the following week.
As usual the key parts of the game can be found at our YouTube channel Stafford Town TV using this link;