In a close contest, Steeton AFC will be the more frustrated of the two teams as, despite enjoying the majority of possession, they couldn’t make it count, whilst Rangers will also rue spurned chances that would have turned a draw into a second win of the week.
Fielding a squad of fifteen players and no recognised keeper, it was Sam Straker who made the early running, but Steeton’s Scott removed the danger. Straight down the other end, the visitor’s fired in a shot that curled just wide.
With five minutes on the clock, Rangers struck and it was a lovely worked goal that was neatly tucked away by Harvey Ribbons. A long goal kick was back heeled into Straker’s path by Charlie Yates and he rolled a perfectly weighted pass into Ribbons’ path, leaving the winger to drill the ball past Tidswell in the Steeton goal.
Minutes later and it was nearly two nil when Tidswell fumbled a corner and the ball bounced in front of Ribbons. Releasing a half volley, his shot went over by a couple of feet.
Steeton were controlling the midfield with some slick passing, and a quick ball from the middle to the right allowed their winger to cut in and ghost across the edge of Deighton’s area. However, the shot didn’t match the run and it crashed into the hedge behind Andy Maxted’s goal.
Rangers were being forced back, but Craig Hall and Dan Flynn were marshalling Steeton’s wingers well and several times, they had to turn back and start again.
Deighton were showing real tenacity in the tackle and it needed strong challenges from Luke Dubery, Jack Abbott and Joe Wilks to stop the visitors from progressing.
Steeton won a dangerous free-kick right on the corner of Rangers area after Wilks’s tackle was deemed illegal by the referee. Striking the ball well, the shot crashed into the two-man wall and Deighton quickly cleared the loose ball.
Winning their own free kick thirty yards from goal, Dubery beat a hesitant Tidswell to the ball, but his looping header lacked the pace to reach the goal, and a clearance by Leach ended the threat.
Rangers pushed well down the left through Ribbons again, but his cross was well claimed by Tidswell, despite the pressure of Yates.
Half chances fell to Steeton, but the combination of Hall, Maxted and John Large made sure that there were no clear-cut chances for the grey shirts to convert. Conversely down in Steeton’s half, Rangers were being denied time and space to shoot, although a lofted attempt by Wilks after he noticed Tidswell off his line was just too high and went over.
It was all level on 36 minutes and it was a lovely run by Kayle Price off the right wing that saw him drill a low shot from just inside the area, that despite getting a hand to, Maxted couldn’t keep out.
It was the post that came to Steeton’s rescue in the 41st minute when Joe Turley released Yates. Striding into the area, he powered the ball goalwards only to see it smash into the stanchion and bounce clear!
The second period started with Ribbons unable to direct his header from Yates’s swinging cross goalwards.
Steeton came forward and penned Deighton back as they knocked it across the pitch in an effort to probe Rangers’ back-line. Twice they swung in decent crosses that needed Hall and Large to show dominance in the air to head clear.
A quick burst from Steeton’s Davis was only ended when a sliding tackle knocked the ball behind, and then Mike Tasker leapt highest to clear the resultant corner.
Flynn’s pinpoint ball down the left flank released Ribbons, and it took a superb last-ditch tackle to knock the ball for a corner. From the set-piece, Barden found Yates and his shot from an acute angle flashed just wide.
A couple of mis-kicks on the edge of Deighton’s area allowed Price a sniff of goal, but Tasker’s long legs came to the rescue as he forced the striker to pull his shot wide.
Tasker was proving to be a stumbling block for Steeton as he effortlessly robbed the right winger as he looked to burst into the area. Releasing the ball down the wing, a sliding tackle took the ball from Jake Little.
A good chance fell Rangers way in the 68th minute when Yates collected Barden’s corner and twisted and turned before firing a shot that Tidswell could only parry. Tasker reacted quickest to the rebound, but in doing so moved offside and the linesman raised his flag.
Having their best attacking spell of the match, Yates rolled his pass into Little’s path, who beat Tidswell, but couldn’t get a clean shot off. The ball eventually fell to Woodward who powered his effort straight into Tidswell’s arms, who had recovered well.
Getting hold of the game again, Steeton moved the ball through the thirds and had a golden opportunity to take the lead when a half-cleared ball fell invitingly into the striker’s path, but he blasted over when a more composed finish could have caused serious trouble.
All of a sudden it was Maxted who was being kept busy, and several times he had to be alert to smash the ball clear. It also took a save low down to his right with his leg to divert a shot away from goal.
With the game entering the final ten minutes, the possession pendulum swung again and Woodward beat his marker and flashed a cross through Steeton’s six-yard box that no-one could convert. Minutes later, Little shimmed past his marker, but again no blue shirted player had gambled and Steeton cleared for a corner.
A great workout for the team against another top-quality opposition. The Management have worked hard on making the defence tough to crack and it showed today as they were tenacious and strong in the tackle. Up-front the movement and work rate were first rate, especially against a team who liked to pass the ball around and did so very well.
We would like to thank Steeton AFC for coming to Barr Field and hope that they have a great season.
Report By Pete Arnett
Squad (all players used): Maxted, Hall, Flynn, Dubery, Abbott, Large, Wilks, Straker.S, Barden, Yates, Ribbons, tasker, Turley, Little, Woodward.
Goals: Rangers – Ribbons (5 mins) Steeton – Price (36 mins)
Yellow Cards: None for either team
Red Cards: None for either team