Away league match played on 18 September 2021.
Kicked off at 3:00 PM

It was a bad day at the office for Stafford Town as they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 at Cheadle Town, in probably their worst performance of the season. Indeed Stafford were fortunate that the margin of defeat was not greater given the dismal level of performance, particularly in the first half. After an early Cheadle shot over the bar, the hosts were gifted the first goal in the 4th minute as a sloppy pass out from the back by Ryan Bradshaw was intercepted, leading to a clear run in on goal that was calmly finished. Stafford were looking far too open and stretched defensively whilst also struggling to string any passes together to build an attack. Cheadle seemed to be winning most of the first and second balls and reclaiming possession at will, although they perhaps would have liked to have created more clear chances given their total dominance of the ball. The best chance of the half for Stafford was a free kick by Josh Wilson in the 23rd minute that beat the wall but saw the ‘keeper in the right place. Cheadle should then have doubled the lead, Ben Vangucci conceding a penalty with a clumsy tackle in the box. Fortunately for Stafford, ‘keeper Henry Smith managed to predict the penalty, diving to his right to push the ball clear. Smith was on hand again in the 30th minute, pushing a low curling shot wide after a neat spell of possession by Cheadle, as Stafford continued to be put under pressure until the end of the half. HT 1-0 Cheadle Town. Following a slight reshuffle, the start of the second half was perhaps the best part of the game for Stafford, Cheadle starting more slowly. An early Wilson corner was flicked on, rolling dangerously across the mouth of goal whilst a free kick crossed into the box from the right saw a powerful header by Ben Douglas well saved before the ball was cleared. Any Stafford momentum was halted on the hour when Ben Wood was sent to the sin bin by the referee for ten minutes, Cheadle capitalising on the extra man to take back control of the game. In the 68th minute a Cheadle through ball led to a shot that was saved by Smith using his feet, a scramble for the ball resulting in what appeared to be a foul on Smith and a follow-up shot blocked on the line by Douglas. Protests to the referee by Smith saw him sent to the sin bin and Tom Duffy brought on to deputise in goal. In the 73rd minute a seemingly harmless backpass by Sean Kinsella somehow rolled under his foot of the unfortunate Duffy into the net for an own goal. Stafford sensed the game was up as Cheadle looked to add to the scoreline, Duffy saving well with his legs in the 78th minute before Smith returned from the sin bin. Cheadle scored a deserved third in the 87th minute, Stafford again losing possession cheaply, the ball fed wide for a shot across the goal into the corner. Nathan Scott then made a threatening run and cut in from the left, firing a vicious shot that was well tipped over by the ‘keeper. Cheadle should have added to their lead further in the 90th minute, Smith saving on the goal-line. FT 3-0 Cheadle Town. Stafford will look to bounce back with two home games at Evans Park. The first of these is the FA Vase Second Qualifying Round against former Midland League opponents Studley on Saturday 25th September followed by a massive midweek league fixture with local rivals Brocton on the evening of Tuesday 28th September.

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