Just as Premier League Leaders Liverpool had proved earlier on in the day, sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves, dig deep and win ugly. However, the Merseyside giants didn’t have Joe Turley and thankfully we did, as another thunderous goal from the left-back proved to be the difference-maker and moved us into third place in the table!
The result was harsh on the visitors, who had to play almost the whole match with only ten men following an early dismissal, and showed that even with a numerical disadvantage, they are still a team to be reckoned with.
With thirty seconds on the clock, Charlie Yates linked onto a through ball and poked it past the advancing keeper, but his shot went narrowly wide.
Pushing back, Shelley moved down the right flank, but twice they found their route blocked by Turley and John Large.
Both teams settled into a routine of counter-attack, and a searching pass by James Woodward was intercepted just before it reached Ali Thompson. Straight away the visitors passed down the pitch and a shot from distance cleared Jonty Smith’s crossbar.
A jinking run from Rob Holliday saw him combine with Josh Barden, receiving the ball back, his curling shot from the edge of the area went past the far post by a matter of inches!
Shelley pressed down the right, and the speed of passing isolated their right winging against Turley, but matching his opponent, the left-back slid in and took the ball away from danger.
Thompson forced a save from distance as the keeper pushed his fierce strike away. Pouncing on the loose ball, Yates fed Thompson again, but this time, he shot wide.
A coming together between Yates and Shelley’s center-back led to Mr. Payne awarding a free-kick to Shelley, but as both players struggled to get up, the defender unnecessarily squared up to Yates and shoved his hands into the striker’s face, leaving the referee little choice but to dismiss him in the 12th minute.
A minute later, it got worse for the visitors as they were reduced to nine men after the referee sin-binned their striker for continuous protesting after he had been booked for simulation in the Rangers area.
Looking to make numbers count, Rangers started to rush play in their haste to get the opening goal. A lovely flicked pass by Turley into Holliday’s path saw him cross to Yates, but the defender muscled him off the ball at the vital moment.
Holliday and Josh Bhandal were in the thick of things, and it was Holliday’s header across goal that was just too high for Yates to convert. Moments later, Bhandal’s superb run saw him shoot just wide under pressure.
With Shelley back up to ten men, Rangers kept the pressure on and Large saw a header go wide from a corner.
Despite producing some slick play, neither side was testing the other's keeper and both custodians watched shots go either wide or over.
Rangers finished the half with Andy Maxted collecting Large’s flick over the defence and crossing for Thompson at the far post. On this occasion, the striker was unable to generate enough power on his shot and the keeper scooped up the ball.
Half-Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers 0 – 0 Shelley FC
It was another strong start by Rangers, storming down the pitch through Barden and Thompson. Receiving the ball, Barden hit a low shot that crashed into the side netting.
An in-swinging corner by Barden caught Shelley’s defence napping and Captain Luke Dubery attacked the ball, but his header went agonisingly wide!
A superb piece of bravery by the Shelley custodian denied James Woodward from connecting with Barden’s cross. Diving headfirst into a maelstrom of legs, the keeper took the ball well before several players slammed into him.
Shelley nearly took the lead in the 56th minute when a free-kick was curled into the area and a free header was only a foot wide of creeping into the net.
It looked like Thompson would be the man to break the deadlock when he twisted and turned his way past his marker before his thirty-yard shot just cleared the crossbar.
A strange couple of minutes saw Smith escape a vociferous cry as Shelley claimed he had handled the ball outside his area, but Mr. Payne, fortunately for us, disagreed and play continued. Shortly afterward, the referee further incensed the visitor’s when he brought back play into Shelley’s area having admitted he had made a mistake in calling Barden offside. However, despite hitting a good cross from the drop ball, Yates couldn’t find a blue shirt to convert.
The game started to bounce between the two areas again and Thompson and Yates saw shots saved, whilst Dubery had to slide across a Shelley striker to dispossess him in a dangerous position.
A double substitution saw Jack Holliday and Joe Wilks replace Woodward and Maxted as Rangers tried to break down the suborn unit that lay in front of them.
Smith was suddenly the busier of the keepers, and he needed to dive at the feet of the onrushing striker as it looked like space had opened up for him to shoot. Two minutes later and despite the help of Large, another dive at feet was required by the custodian who pushed the danger clear.
With Rangers becoming more frustrated at their inability to score, although Wilks came mightily close but couldn’t steer his shot goalwards from close range, up steeped Turley in the 78th minute with a trademark long-range shot that dipped over the keeper from thirty yards out.
Dan Flynn was introduced for Yates in the 81st minute as Dan Marshall looked to strengthen Deighton’s backline, as they had come under intense pressure following the goal. A deflected shot smashed into the foot of Smith’s goal and from the follow-up cross, the ball was placed over the bar from about five yards out with Smith scrambling to get across his goal.
A superb long-range pass from Bhandal picked out Barden and in turn, he released Thompson. Stepping inside his marker, he released a shot that was straight at the keeper
A quick counter after a Rangers move had stalled in midfield saw Smith having to dive to his right to push a snapshot out for a corner.
The game ended with Large having to read the play excellently and produce another sliding interception to halt Shelley as they attacked down the left flank. As the ball crashed into the undergrowth, Mr. Payne blew for full time and three points stayed at Barr Field.
Full-Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers 1 – 0 Shelley FC
Report by Pete Arnett
This match was kindly sponsored by:
Team: Smith, Maxted, Turley, Bhandal, Dubery ©, Large, Thompson, Woodward, Holliday.R, Yates, Barden. Subs: Wilks (Maxted, 65), Holliday.J (Woodward, 65) Flynn (Yates, 81) Buckley.J
Goals: Turley (78)
Sin-Bin: Rangers (none), Shelley FC (1 player)
Yellow Cards: Rangers (Yates), Shelley FC (2 players)
Red Cards: Rangers (none), Shelley FC (1 player)
Referee: Mr. Jason Payne
The Kirk Deighton Rangers Bennett & Fountain Man Of The Match Award: Josh Bhandal.