It took a late second half penalty by Charlie Yates to secure Rangers a share of the spoils that a disjointed performance threatened to deny but, in reality, neither team ultimately deserved to win and a point each was probably the fairest outcome.
The injury fairy visited Rangers before the match had started with both Joe Straker and Josh Barden picking up knocks during the warm-up.
The match itself started with Barden trying to release Yates through the middle, but his pass was too heavily weighted, and it ran into touch. Kippax responded with a curling effort from outside the area which just cleared the crossbar.
The Barden/Yates combination nearly worked for Rangers a couple of minutes later when Yates picked up Barden’s pass, cut off the wing and placed his shot just over.
With five minutes on the clock, the injury curse said hello once more as Danny Grannon went for a header only to fall over the ducked form of the defender and land heavily on his left shoulder. Clearly in pain, the referee stopped the match for the striker to receive treatment.
Kippax became more fluent in midfield and it needed Conor Buckley to cut across his man to snuff out the danger as a quick pass had caught Rangers cold.
It was Grannon who nearly made the breakthrough when he dived to head Yates’s cross at the keeper from five yards out. In the build-up, the referee blew to signal offside against the striker, which was harsh as his run started behind the final defender.
Combination play between Joe Wilks and Yates found James Woodward and his surging run ended with a powerful shot that required the Kippax custodian to dive to his right and palm the ball over. From the resultant corner, Yates flicked the ball back to Barden, whose powerful shot was blocked by a defender, who may be rather sore tomorrow!
Rangers were forced into a spell of defending as Kippax piled on the pressure. Dubery had to leap highest to divert the ball over the striker who was lurking right behind him.
With twenty minutes played, Grannon’s injury proved to be too much for him, and he trudged off the pitch to be replaced by Dave McKay.
It was evident that Rangers were trying to adapt and taking advantage of this, Kippax came forward and forced Jack Abbott into producing a good block as the striker ran across the box and shot. Minutes later, Jonty Smith made a good save low down.
Getting some stride back into their game, Joe Turley raced into the area from the left wing, trying to place his shot under the keeper, the custodian stretched out a leg and poked the ball clear.
In a comedy moment, Smith produced a full-length diving save to push a Kippax shot wide and all watching were rather perplexed as Mr Green pointed to the area to signal a goal-kick!
One area that was failing for both teams was the decision making, and as the game progressed, many times with players in better positions, the wrong ball was often chosen and several opportunities for an opening goal were denied as the ball went the opposite way.
With the half nearly finished, Yates latched onto the industrious Dan Slater’s side pass, and from outside the area shot just over the bar.
The second half started in the worst possible fashion for Rangers as they conceded within 110 seconds. A throw in on the right side wasn’t cleared properly and a drilled cross back into the six-yard box was turned home past Smith.
Rangers went straight on the attack, but the referee’s whistle pulled play back for an offside against Dubery. Minutes later a foot race between the keeper and Turley ended with the glovesman managing to kick the ball out from under the winger’s boot.
Kippax surged forward again and were only a foot wide of adding a second when the winger cut off the wing, raced across the edge of the area and with no Rangers challenge forthcoming, took aim and curled his shot just past the post.
Deighton’s passing was serving them well, but crossing wasn’t, and several moves ended in disappointment when the final ball crashed out of play with frustrations starting to rise.
With Rangers managing to attack often, Turley, Wilks, Yates and Barden were usually involved, but one of the clearest chances fell to Dubery, and as he tried to find the far corner of the net, another good diving save pushed his shot wide.
A clever up and over pass by Dubery released Yates down the right wing and although the defender cleared his initial cross, the ball felt to Woodward who headed it just wide of the target.
A mistake in the Kippax box by the defender missing his header allowed Dubery to nip in behind him, with the presence of the keeper in close proximity, Dubey was forced to shoot on the turn and the ball went just wide of the near post with many feeling that it just wasn’t going to happen for Rangers.
With tiredness starting to settle in, the game became quite a stretched affair and both keepers were getting plenty of catching practice as crosses were hurried and placed too near to them.
Another change of personnel saw Turley replaced by Andy Maxted as Manager Dan Marshall pushed Wilks onto the right wing. It was a move that suited Wilks as he was given time and space to cause havoc, but try as he might, that elusive final ball was eluding him.
Having had a let off down in their own area moments earlier as a Kippax shot crashed just wide, Rangers were awarded a penalty when Abbott was held as he looked to attack a Wilks free-kick. After booking the culprit, Mr Green allowed the spot kick to be taken and Yates sent the keeper the wrong way to equalise in the 81st minute.
Both teams were going for it and a looping header in Deighton’s area needed two attempts by Smith to collect under pressure and then Barden’s little flick nearly fell to Wilks, but again, the keeper managed to snatch the ball from him.
It needed a superb save from Smith in the dying seconds to make sure that a point came home with Rangers as it looked like a great lob from Kippax was going to nestle in the net, but arcing backwards at full stretch, Smith clawed the ball clear to allow Rangers to breathe again. Straight down the other end and a teasing cross from Maxted was just too high for Dubery as he flung himself head first to try and get a touch goalwards.
Report by Pete Arnett
Team: Smith, Wilks, Buckley,C, Abbott, Duberry, Woodward, Turley, Slater, Barden, Grannon, Yates
Subs: McKay (for Grannon 20), Maxted (for Turley 63) Not Used: Straker, J
Yellow Cards: Rangers (None), Kippax FC (2 players)
Red Cards: None
Referee: Mr Martin Green
KDRFC Man of the Match (Chosen by Daniel Marshall) was Jonty Smith. A superb string of saves and safe handling from our number 1 kept Kippax out on several occasions. He saved (pun intended) the best until last however with a great stop to break Kippax hearts!
Post-Match Reaction from Manager Dan Marshall:
“In reflection, a point was the least we deserved. With all the chances towards the end it could have possibly been 3-3 and if it wasn’t for an outstanding save by Jonty, we would have left with nothing and that would have been hard on the lads. It wasn’t our best performance and we were disjointed. We started well for the first fifteen minutes, but the injury to Danny was a massive blow and stopped the way we wanted to play. I don’t think either team deserved to win it and I would have been very disappointed if we hadn’t got something from it.”
Charlie Yates Goal v Kippax FC
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