Stafford Town suffered their second pre-season defeat as Chadderton ran out 2-0 winners at Evans Park. Stafford were slightly below their best in the first half but still had the better chances to take the lead before an awful second period saw Chadderton take control, netting twice with Stafford missing a penalty and completely fading out of the contest. Stafford began the better of the two sides as Chadderton took time to settle into the match; a fourth minute cross from Ryan Taylor on the left blocked at the near post. In the tenth minute, Nathan Scott used his pace to steal a careless backpass, squaring the ball to an unmarked Josh Oultram in the box, but he rushed his effort and it was easily saved. Stafford were looking solid defensively, Charlie Swingwood and Henry Smith marshalling the Chadderton frontline, although Stafford were not moving the ball through midfield with the quality that they have shown when at their best. Taylor should have done better with a header two minutes later following a cross by Harry Bowers, before a mix up in the Stafford backline forced Zak Noble into a save. Scott then put in two good balls into the box in the next few minutes, the first headed goalwards without troubling the ‘keeper and the second fired across the goalmouth but evading the final touch needed to turn the ball goalwards. Chadderton had not looked very threatening from open play but were beginning to get a foothold in the game, having better possession and forcing several corners in succession that appeared to offer their best chance to score. Oultram then worked some space for himself on the edge of the box before shooting over the bar in the 25th minute. A continued spell of possession for Stafford in the 37th minute ended with a good ball forward to Scott, but his effort was saved. Chadderton came close to taking the lead with five minutes to go in the half, working the ball into the box for a lay off and shot that hit the post and ricocheted to safety. HT 0-0. Stafford made a couple of changes at halftime and were forced into another less than ten minutes into the second half when Smith took a blow to the nose as he made a defensive header. Chadderton then took the lead in the 55th minute when they were allowed to advance the ball down the left and deliver a ball into the box that was headed into the corner and although Stafford appealed for what looked like offside, poor marking was evident in the box. Stafford were offered a way back into the contest less than five minutes later as Taylor was bundled over in the box for a penalty. Unfortunately, the usually reliable Bowers saw his spot kick saved; an incident that would prove the catalyst for Stafford’s second half implosion as they lost all impetus in possession and began to give the ball away cheaply. Chadderton seized the opportunity presented to them by the hosts, firing over in the box in the 63rd minute and curling another effort wide a few minutes later. Scott was a lone spark for Stafford, his 70th minute cross from a short corner almost headed in by Swingwood at the backpost before the ball was cleared to Scott again, his cross this time was even better but no Stafford player could get a touch on the ball, which would have resulted in a certain goal. Chadderton hit the post for the second time in the 74th minute after cutting inside from the right, before doubling the lead minutes later; another shot by Chadderton was pushed over for a corner that was played short, the delivery into the box sailing over substitute ‘keeper Max Gibbs-Boddie into the far corner. Chadderton then managed the remainder of the match with little incident, Stafford left to question what might have been had they taken the lead in the first half or equalised through the penalty. FT 2-0 Chadderton.
Best of the action can be found at Stafford Town TV: