In a match that offered glimpses of excitement, it was a mixture of patience up front and solid defending that won the game for Rangers.
Kippax were looking to make it seven games unbeaten and it was evident to see why they are such a difficult team to beat of late. A very resilient backline made it hard for our front two of Danny Grannon and Joe Turley to create any clear-cut chances.
It was the visitors that started the better, and a searching ball down the left flank forced the pairing of Joe Wilks and Luke Dubery to combine to clear the danger.
Rangers first attack saw Josh Barden collect a hurried clearance from the Kippax keeper and free Rob Holliday down the right wing. Whipping in a cross, the ball took a deflection and spun out of play. From the corner, Grannon leapt well and looped his header goalwards, but a good dive to his right saw the custodian collect the ball.
Conor Buckley then tried his luck from distance, after he had done well to make some space, but his dipping shot cleared the crossbar by half a foot with the keeper at full stretch.
The match was being played mainly in the midfield third with both teams struggling to get a rhythm going. Both were showing commitment in the challenges, but neither were finding the space to be able to really drive forward.
A break down Rangers left was stopped by a sliding Dubery, before Joe Wilks dribbled past his man and shot over from a narrow angle with Barden howling in frustration as he arrived in the middle unmarked.
The opening goal came on 29 minutes and it was just what the game needed. Intercepting a move Dubery hit a long pass from defence which picked out Conor Buckley perfectly on the left flank. Beating his man, Buckley curled in a low cross which deceived the Kippax centre back and fell to Grannon who’s half volley slammed into the back of the net from around ten yards out.
Kippax tried to respond straight away with a dangerous ball down the middle but rising highest to head clear was Josh Buckley.
The goal had forced the game to be a more open affair and Rangers were hitting Kippax with high balls, but a mixture of good defending, offside decisions and dodgy shooting meant that Deighton couldn’t make any further headway.
Kippax’s keeper had to be alert twice in quick succession as Joe Straker’s perfect cross-field pass picked out Wilks who fizzed in a low cross, diving forward, the keeper managed to smoother the ball as Grannon looked to pounce. Minutes later, he spread himself well to get a touch to divert Turley’s shot wide.
The half ended with Kippax having a chance after Rangers couldn’t clear properly. Breaking down the left, the ball was pulled back to the edge of the area, but the resultant shot was straight into Jonty Smith’s arms.
Half Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers 1 v 0 Kippax FC
Rangers took the initiative from the restart and Wilks provided a cross that the keeper rose to collect well under pressure. Moments later, Wilks collected Grannon’s flick on, but this time his cross landed on the roof of the net.
Grannon was nearly on the scoresheet again when Dubery played the ball into the area. In a carbon copy of the first goal, the pass deceived the Kippax defender and Grannon got his shot away, but this time the keeper dived and collected well.
A corner nearly presented Rangers with a second goal when Grannon outjumped his marker, but got too much of a solid connection, and the ball spun over the crossbar.
There was a moment of panic in Rangers defence when, following a bout of pinball, a shot came through a crowd, fortunately for the home side, it was straight at Smith who was able to get his body behind it.
Rangers made a double substitution in the 58th minute as Will Bates and Jon Richards replaced Josh Buckley and Turley.
The visitors were putting Rangers under plenty of pressure and a missed challenge by Dubery allowed them to fashion a shooting chance that was blocked by Richards. A claim for handball was turned away by Referee Joe Moss and following a bout of dissent, Kippax’s number 11 found himself yellow carded.
A brief respite from defending saw Bates play the ball round his man before picking out Grannon. Reacting quickly, the tall striker forced the ball goalwards, only for the keeper to pull off another good diving save to parry the shot clear.
The match made another transition and both teams went on the offensive with Bates twisting and turning before his cross evaded everyone. Soon after a smart move by Kippax saw a shot from distance flash past Smith’s far post.
Bates was proving to be a handful for the Kippax backline and following a cross by Richards, he managed to steer the ball goalwards, only for a goal-line clearance to deny him.
A free-kick in a wide position gave Kippax a chance to put the ball into the area, but Grannon showed his former defensive qualities and headed clear to Adam Carter, who had replaced Holliday.
Rangers had a strong call for a penalty turned down after Straker had pushed the ball past his opponent only to be taken out, however Mr Moss had a good look at it before waving away the claims.
With 82 minutes on the clock, Carter made the game safe for Rangers when he kept his cool and steered the ball wide of both the grounded keeper and a defender into the net. The credit also has to go to Grannon who pounced on a terrible first touch by a defender to win the ball and set up the chance.
With seconds remaining, the visitors made another strong run down the middle that was stopped after an infringement by Dubery, which earned him a yellow card, however, the shot was easily collected low down by Smith to ensure a clean sheet for only the third time this season.
Full Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers 2 v 0 Kippax FC
Report by Pete Arnett
Team: Smith, Wilks, Buckley.C, Dubery, Buckley.J (Richards 58), Straker, Woodward, Barden, Grannon, Turley (Bates 58), Holliday (Carter 74) Unused Sub: McKay.
Goals: Grannon 29, Carter 82
Yellow Cards: Rangers – Dubery (foul)
Kippax – 1 player (dissent)
Red Cards: Rangers – None
Kippax – None
Referee: Mr Joe Moss
Kirk Deighton Rangers AFC Man of the Match (chosen by The Management): A superb display down the right both in defence and attack saw Joe Wilks awarded this one. His tackling was on point and several dangerous deliveries nearly saw Rangers score.