“We needed this win after the Newsome match.” This was Manager Dan Marshall’s assessment after he had watched his Rangers side grind out a 2-0 win over Pool AFC. “It wasn’t pretty at times, but we battled hard and that was very pleasing to see.”
Rangers welcomed back Jonty Smith in goal and also fielded Charlie Yates for his first full start since returning to the club. Former Yorkshire Amateurs striker Carl Heard took his place on the bench having recently joined.
Underneath a heavy grey sky, the football matched the weather as both teams spent the early stages testing out one another’s defence with balls that were easily cleared. A flicked pass over the head of Yates saw the striker jostle with his marker, but the defender just squeezed ahead of him to head back to his keeper.
Rob Holliday was sent chasing down a pass on the left flank, but as the ball bounced off the greasy surface, it picked up a burst of speed that left the winger trailing in its wake.
A nice bit of movement from the visitors saw them break down the left wing, but a superb block by Dave McKay, who had kept level with his man, meant that the danger was removed before Smith was troubled.
Pool were having the better of the play and a corner was headed out of the area by Dan Slater. Falling invitingly to a Pool player, his volley was uncontrolled and the resultant shot crashed into the allotments behind Smith’s goal.
Forcing their way up the pitch, Rangers were awarded a free-kick, but despite a good delivery by Joe Wilks, no blue shirt could get on the end of it to convert.
The yellow shirts of Pool mounted another series of attacks that culminated in a header straight at Smith, which he caught without problem.
The first goal arrived on 26 minutes and in slightly controversial fashion, but the lead up play was superb. A good run by Joe Straker picked out Wilks, who in turn found Yates and the former Leeds City striker calmly slotted home against a backdrop of offside calls from opposition players and fans alike. It was one of those decisions that have been known to go either way, but Mr Blackham adjudged Yates to be onside and the goal stood. However, the Pool custodian took his protests too far, and earned himself a yellow card!
Pool tried to respond, but the goal had woken Rangers up and a sliding tackle by Jon Richards stopped their winger from progressing.
An injury to Josh Barden forced an early substitution, and it was Heard who took to the pitch to make his debut.
There was a heart stopping moment in the 32nd minute when a long goal kick was misjudged and fell right into the path of the Pool striker, attempting to catch Smith off his line when perhaps taking the ball into the area would have been a better option, he curled his shot wide of the post!
Heard was beginning to put himself about and he nearly benefited when a mix-up between keeper and defender almost allowed him to get to the ball, but the keeper was able to recover and clear the danger.
Rangers started the second half in far more positive fashion when Slater burst into the area however, he was unable to pick out a colleague and Pool cleared. Minutes later, Richards hooked a shot across the face of goal that Yates was unable to reach.
If there had been any doubt about the first goal, then there was certainly none about the second in the 53rd minute. Collecting the ball in midfield, Wilks went on a run down the right flank before picking out Heard at the near post and the striker side footed home from five yards.
Rangers were having the majority of the play in midfield, and Straker was playing some excellent football. Holliday was also showing some neat touches and nearly set Yates on his way, only for a great covering tackle by the Pool defender at the crucial moment to stop him. From the resultant corner, half chances fell to both Roman Neal and Yates, who finally shot over.
Having failed to endear himself to the visiting players with some of his decisions, Mr Blackham raised a smattering of sarcastic applause when he ruled that Yates had moved too quickly before chipping the keeper into the net, an action that earned the striker a lecture before the game restarted.
The possession pendulum swung in the visitor’s favour again and Rangers found themselves under the cosh. Richards and McKay were being kept busy dealing with a barrage of passes, whilst Abbott and Wilks defended the flanks well.
A free-kick for Pool nearly saw Rangers lead troubled, but as the ball dropped for the player to strike, Smith bravely dived at his feet and smothered the shot. Soon after, Pool did manage to get the ball past Smith, but tracking back, McKay cleared a couple of feet off the line!
Another curling free-kick by Wilks, after substitute Joe Turley had been felled, saw the ball bounce around the Pool area before being cleared.
Smith was having a busy time and Pool were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the area when the referee adjudged him to have handled outside his area after his momentum had carried both him and the ball out of the box. Despite protesting that he had released the ball, Mr Blackham evened up proceedings when he flashed the yellow card at the shot stopper. Fortunately, for Rangers, the free-kick was straight at the glovesman.
A good run by Straker was ended when he lost his balance on the slippery pitch, and minutes later the same fate also befell Jack Cheetham, who had replaced Yates, as he moved to receive a pass from Slater.
With the rallying cry of keep the clean sheet ringing across the pitch, Abbott produced a good interception as he stretched to knock a high pass away from Pool’s frontmen.
The final action of the match saw Cheetham engage in a race with the Pool keeper to a Straker pass, which the custodian just won by a foot and cleared before the referee brought the match to a close.
Report by Pete Arnett
Team: Smith, Wilks, Richards, McKay, Abbott, Straker, Neal, Holliday, Slater, Barden, Yates.
Subs: Heard (for Barden 28 mins), Turley (for Holliday 63 mins), Cheetham (for Yates 81st min)
Referee: Brandon Blackham
Yellow Cards: Jonty Smith
Red Cards: None
KDRFC Man of the Match (as chosen by the Management) was Joe Straker - Always effective in midfield by breaking up Pool’s attacks, he also showed his attacking prowess and range of passing.
Post Match Reaction - Manager Dan Marshall
“We had to work extremely hard to get the points and that was one of the aspects that really pleased me, especially in the first twenty minutes where we didn’t see much of the ball. We kept our shape and discipline and waited for our chance to play. Second half we played a lot better and I thought we controlled it well, especially after we had scored through Carl. Everybody put in a shift today and I was very pleased about that.
It was vital that we got the three points today, we needed this win after the Newsome match. We should have got something from that match, so I am glad that we got a good result today.”
Charlie Yates Goal v Pool AFC
Carl Heard Goal v Pool AFC
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