Following a narrow penalty shoot-out defeat in the last game, Rangers Reserves were determined to recapture the form that had seen them win four of their opening five league matches. However, a disastrous first-half derailed that hope!
Rothwell took the lead within 120 seconds when a flowing move picked out their attacker who spun a defender and chipped the ball over Lewis Mallinson.
Rangers tried to respond, but Andy Maxted was called offside as he moved too quickly to try and receive Sam Straker’s ball over the Rothwell backline.
The match had reached six minutes and most of the play belonged to the visitors, so it was little surprise when an unmarked red and black shirt was able to stick out his leg and steer the ball past Mallinson from a corner.
Despite being outplayed, Rangers did look dangerous when they came forward and a lot of the threat came from John-Paul Williams. Driving down the left-wing, Williams found Daley Johnson, via Will Hodson, but his shot was blocked with Hodson just unable to get to the loose ball.
The play was switching ends quickly and Williams's cross was eventually cleared by Rothwell, whilst Jonny Atkinson had to be alert to the danger that a long ball possessed.
Mallinson showed his agility when he rescued Rangers after a run down the right had picked out a man on the far post. Hitting his shot first time, Mallinson parried the shot before diving onto the ball in front of a Rothwell player.
Deighton’s custodian was in the thick of it and twice he denied Rothwell with diving saves, including a full length one to his right to palm a stinging shot clear.
A broken-down Rangers move provided the platform for Rothwell’s third goal when they picked up a misplaced pass and found their number eight with a long ball. Switching onto his stronger foot, he lifted his shot over Mallinson from distance in the 22nd minute.
Another run down the left by Williams saw Maxted collect the ball on the edge of the area. Beating two men, he had to lunge to get his shot away, but the attempt went wide.
One area that Rangers were having success in was midfield, however, the distribution was lacking and several well-intended passes ended out of play.
Rangers were rescued by an offside decision as Rothwell headed home from a freekick. Despite protests, the referee stood firm and the half ended with just the three goals registered.
Half-Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers Reserves 0 v 3 Rothwell FC Reserves
An absolute verbal rocket from Manager Kris Macdonald greeted the Rangers players and it hit home as the blue and white shirts surged forward from the whistle and it took a last-ditch tackle to prevent Straker from bursting through the middle.
Williams was continuing to provide quality crosses when he picked out Michael McCartney, but his looping header was collected by the keeper.
Rangers were showing a renewed attacking spirit and Straker was in the thick of it, his run was suddenly stopped, but the referee played on and Maxted shot wide. Minutes later, Williams picked put Hodson in the middle, but he steered his shot over from close range.
Whereas they had the run of the pitch in the first half, Rothwell were being restricted to long shots and Mallinson easily collected several attempts.
You sensed that a goal was coming when Sid Abbott freed Williams and he found Hodson. His shot struck a covering defender however and bounced out for a corner.
Sixty seconds later in the 53rd minute, Rangers were celebrating when Brad Spencer rolled the ball to Atkinson, whose shot pinballed between defender and goalkeeper before falling to Hodson who swept home from four yards out
An altercation saw Rangers reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Maxted. Rothwell also received a caution for one of their players.
Despite playing with a numerical disadvantage, Rangers continued to attack and they won a series of free-kicks for niggly fouls around the area. With Spencer set to take one in the 60th minute, Hodson made way for Jonathan Wilson.
A minute later and Rangers were picking the ball out of Rothwell's net again, but it was a bizarre goal as Spencer’s free-kick crashed into the crossbar, bounced onto the back of the keeper, who had signaled that the shot was going over, and nestled into the net. Spencer looked shocked, having turned away after shooting and couldn’t work out why his teammates were streaming towards him celebrating!
Gaining some control in midfield, Rothwell started to come forward again, Rich Jenner was in the right place to stop a quick counter from reaching the front men.
Rangers were being forced backward and switched tactics to using counter-attacks, but it was working as Wilson picked freed Abbott. Just as it looked like he might be able to shoot however, Rothwell closed the door.
A superb intervention by McCartney prevented Rothwell from scoring when he read the flight of the ball perfectly to stretch and rob his opponent.
Si Wright replaced Spencer with just under twenty minutes left, but it was Abbott who released Straker down the left. Putting his cross in, Williams met the ball with a fierce shot that went just wide of the back post.
A questionable offside decision stopped Straker as he rounded the keeper after Abbott had set him on the run.
Rothwell sealed the win in the 80th minute when the ball was worked into the middle and a shot from inside the area was lashed home.
Things were not going Straker’s way as his shot, after ghosting past a defender, slammed into the post and bounced clear.
The final goal of the game came in the 87th minute when McCartney was found by Williams and his first-time shot beat the keeper.
Full-Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers Reserves 3 v 4 Rothwell FC Reserves
Report by Pete Arnett
Team: Mallinson, Atkinson, Spencer, McCartney, Jenner, johnson, Abbott, Straker, Hodson, Maxted, Williams. Subs: Wilson (Hodson 60), Wright (Spencer 71)
Goals: Hodson (53), Spencer (61), McCartney (87)
Sin-Bin: Kirk Deighton Rangers (none), Rothwell FC (none)
Yellow Cards: Kirk Deighton Rangers (none), Rothwell FC (1 player)
Red Cards: Kirk Deighton Rangers (Andy Maxted), Rothwell FC (none)
Referee: Mr Colin Maltby
Kirk Deighton Rangers Reserves Bar Three Man of the Match: Lewis Mallinson.