Holt from the Blue makes impressive debut.
By Paul Armstrong
Solid and disciplined at the back, mobile and combative in midfield and just lacking that cutting edge up front, Reds gave another good account of themselves but didn’t get the reward they deserved.
They were the dominant team for long spells, created the better of the few chances yet couldn’t find a way past rookie goalkeeper, Brad Caswel.
Reds gave a debut to eighteen years old, Jordan Holt – a former pupil of joint-manager, David Hewson, and the midfielder belied his tender years with a very mature performance. He and Josh Calvert were paired together in a new-look four man midfield and excelled.
They had the reassurance of a disciplined defence behind them and, as a consequence, Aaran Taylor had very little to do.
But young Caswel caught the eye in the Stafford goal making some decent stops, the best of which wasn’t from a shot. Jake Simpson sent a free-kick into the danger area which was missed by attackers and defenders alike. The ball bounced towards the top corner of the net but the ‘keeper leapt to his left and saved at the expense of a corner.
The only scare for Reds in the first half came via a great Richard Batchelor cross. The ball was heading towards Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson at the far post but Jake Simpson’s presence averted the danger.
Caswel preserved his clean sheet in the second half with four more decent stops. The first of those kept out a David Symington missile soon after the restart. Symington had danced past Jordaan Brown and thumped the ball goal-wards only for Caswel to make a spectacular stop.
More routine saves kept out Jack Ryan’s placed effort and a double-stop thwarted first Scott Allison and then Holt after the latter’s clever one-two created an opening.
Rangers arrived as the league’s top scorers but rarely looked like adding to their ten goals, whilst Reds recorded back-to-back home draws having drawn just once at Borough Park all last season.
Workington Taylor, Simpson, Mellen, Wordsworth, Smith, Calvert, Symington, Holt, Ryan (Joel, 86), Allison, Tinnion. Substitutes – Earl, Douglas, Rowntree, Fowler (not used).
Stafford Rangers Caswel, Davis, Brown, Morris, Bailey (Geohaghon, 77), Langston, Reid I (Perry, 65), Briscoe, Westwood, Fortnam-Tomlinson (Sherratt, 90), Batchelor. Substitutes – Reid L, Thomas (not used).
Referee Chris Porter, Preston
Bookings: Smith, Ryan (Workington), Westwood, Briscoe (Stafford Rangers).