by Gary Hazlehurst, www.srfc.co.uk

Rangers gave League debuts to nine players after a close season of major upheaval.

The game was delayed by 75 minutes with Rangers stuck in horrendous traffic on the M5. Those fans that travelled on the day were subjected to a six-hour journey to the South West (why do fixture planners do this?).

Rangers began the game with Dennis Bailey partnering Danny Davidson up front. Andy Bott, on his return from holiday, had to settle for a place on the bench.

Rangers began the game brightly with McAughterie forcing the first save of the day from Matthews in the first minute. Within a minute, Lee Barrow headed a Berks free-kick wide when he would have expected to test the keeper.

Both sides struggled to make any impact. The delayed start seemed to be affecting both sides.

On 20 minutes, McAughterie conceded a free-kick outside the Rangers box but this was wasted. A minute later, Davidson chipped wide after an incisive ball from Robin Gibson.

The game began to brighten and good work by Tully down the Weymouth right was cleared by Barrow.

Halfway through the half, Robin Gibson was caught in two minds after being well set-up by Robinson and Davidson. Davidson was played clear on the right by the Rangers midfield. His low cross was clipped wide by the advancing Bailey.

On 29 minutes, Berks curled a shot wide with Robin Gibson clear. Craig McAughterie was given a free-kick opportunity on 33 minutes after a handball outside the box but he blasted over.

With 10 minutes left, Alex Browne headed just wide for the Terras. On 42 minutes, the home fans were baying for a penalty as Phillips appeared to be brought down from behind by Barrow, Fortunately, for the Boro, the referee must have though that Lee had played the ball. In first half injury time, Price made an excellent save from an Alex Brown header.

Half Time: Weymouth 0 Rangers 0

The second half began with a Robin Gibson cross evading the onrushing Rangers forwards.

On 51 minutes, McAughterie cleared for a corner after an excellent run by Mark Robinson. From the corner, Davidson got his large frame in the way of a Browne blockbuster.

The game was now even Stevens with Heath and Berks having good runs at the Weymouth rearguard. On 59 minutes, a mistake by Price saw Phillips cross to Laws but Alex Gibson was alive to the cross and cleared for a corner. Phillips was causing all sorts of trouble for Rangers and after 66 minutes he was brilliantly foiled by Price as his 20-yard volley headed goalwards.

Within a minute, the game changed. A bouncing ball in the box was inexplicably handled by McAughterie. The referee having no alternative than awarding a penalty. Rawlinson stepped up and beat Price comfortably from the spot.

Rangers attempted to come back. The best chance fell to McAughterie with 16 minutes to go. Robin Gibson reached the by-line and put in a deep cross were the big centre-half headed into the side netting from a narrow angle. Rangers continued to press and a Weymouth defender almost put a clearance into his own net. From the corner, Robin Gibson’s shot was blocked as it headed towards the net.

With 7 minutes remaining, Rangers had the ball in the net but Davidson was adjudged offside, Weymouth rallied with Phillips and Browne going close. Bott almost snatched an equaliser with his first touch but his 20-yard effort was just wide. In the final minute, Mark Robinson cleared for Weymouth after Davidson challenged the home keeper.

Full Time: Weymouth 1 Rangers 0

Jason Matthews, Steve Tulley, Simon Browne, Alex Browne, Mark Kenway,
Mark Rawlinson 1, Mark Robinson, Ian Hutchinson (Michael Dean 77),
Ryan Ashford (Martin Barlow 61), David Laws, Lee Phillips.
Sub not used: Lee Bradford
Goal: Rawlinson 70pen

Stafford Rangers:
Ryan Price, Alex Gibson, Richard Beale, Lee Barrow, Craig McAughtrie,
Phil Robinson (Craig Lovatt 86), David Berks, Robert Heath, Dennis Bailey,
Daniel Davidson, Robin Gibson (Andrew Bott 85).
Subs not used: Karl Ward [GK], Daniel, Daryl Wilkes

Referee: Bruce McLaren ( Woking )
Assistant Referees: Nick Birch ( Woking ), Paul Green ( Camberley )

Attendance: 708

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