The adjective ‘frustrating’ was the one most used by the Rangers fraternity to describe the game against Boroughbridge AFC at Barr Field. Despite scoring two superb goals to put themselves in the driving seat, Rangers Achilles heel surfaced again and Boroughbridge responded to take the points and keep tabs with Hall Green United at the top of the table.
With the sun beating down, Rangers produced the brighter play early on and an in-swinging corner was punched away by keeper James Webster, before Adam Carter returned a venomous shot which struck a plethora of bodies before being cleared down the pitch.
Boroughbridge tested Deighton’s defence with a free-kick that was headed clear before Rob Holliday, Josh Barden and Carter all tried to produce a bit of magic to get through the visitor’s backline.
A good attack down the right flank saw Jon Richards having to be alert as he tracked down and disposed Boroughbridge’s winger with a well-timed tackle.
With both teams trying to give little away, the game spent periods stuck in midfield, with occasional bouts of route one football breaking out. It was from one of these long balls that Joe Wilks put in a cross that was cleared as far as Carter, who was lurking just outside the area. Hitting another powerful shot, cries of handball echoed from Rangers as the strike did appear to hit a raised Boroughbridge hand, but Mr. Payne waved away the protests.
Jonty Smith came to Deighton’s rescue when a comedy of errors led to Boroughbridge breaking free. Shooting quickly, the ball was palmed away by an acrobatic Smith, diving to his left.
The first goal arrived in the 23rd minute and it was failure to mark the player which cost Rangers dear, as a straight forward header from a corner nestled in the back of the net.
Rangers fashioned some half chances in response to going behind, and Danny Grannon headed straight at Webster from Carter’s hooked cross, whilst Wilks’s freekick failed to beat the wall after Barden had been sent sprawling on the edge of the area.
The visitors flexed their attacking muscles, but despite seeing plenty of the ball they struggled to conjure up a decent shooting opportunity and tackles & blocks from McKay, Richards, Wilks and Conor Buckley kept them at bay.
The 33rd minute brought the equaliser and what a goal it was! Picking up on a half clearance, Joe Straker connected perfectly with a thunderous strike from at least 30 yards out, that flew past Webster.
Things got even better two minutes later when Grannon held off his man, brought down Smith’s goal kick and hit a dipping half volley from 40 yards that arced over the custodian and into the net. In all fairness, probably our goal of the season!
Rangers had another shout for handball waved away by the referee when Holliday's shot appeared to smash into another raised Boroughbridge hand, but like before, play continued.
It was all square in the 43rd minute, and from Rangers point of view, it was a soft goal to concede as a pass from the right wing found an unmarked player, and he steered his shot past Smith into the net.
Half-Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers 2-2 Boroughbridge AFC
Playing down the slope, the visitor’s fashioned the first attack when a cross from the right needed a strong header clear to remove the danger.
The game was stopped as Richards, who had come off worse between a Boroughbridge player and Smith all going for the ball, needed treatment, but after several minutes, he was back on his feet and the game restarted.
Playing over Boroughbridge’s defence, Carter latched onto a long ball, but despite getting a touch, his shot lacked the power to trouble Webster, who was also in action minutes later as another long pass from Wilks nearly released Holliday, but the custodian beat him to the ball.
It was Smith’s turn to keep the scores equal as Boroughbridge’s striker broke Deighton’s offside trap, standing tall, the keeper managed to get his torso in the way and the ball glanced off him.
Rangers were the first of the two teams to change things around when Joe Turley and Charlie Yates replaced Woodward and Holiday on 65 minutes.
Former Wetherby Athletic midfielder Dom Creamer came inches away from giving Boroughbridge the lead in the 68th minute when his left footed curling shot was only inches over Smith’s crossbar.
Boroughbridge were having the better of the play and were forcing Deighton into defending for their lives. Richards and McKay both had to produce brave headers to clear dangerous crosses, whilst Smith was also called into action when he had to dive to his right to palm a fierce shot away.
Rangers feared the worse when a penalty was awarded in the 75th minute after a Boroughbridge player went over the top of Wilks, who won the header. However, in what some may have seen as justice for the decision, the striker placed his spot kick against the foot of the post and the ball bounced clear.
Releasing the pressure off themselves a little, Rangers produced two decent chances when Grannon rose highest, but headed at Webster and then Yates latched onto Turley’s flick, but caught in two minds, the striker produced neither a shot or cross and the resulting ball fizzed across the six yard box with no one close to turning it home.
With a goal looking inevitable, it was just a case of who would get it? That answer arrived in the 86th minute when some good play down the right saw a cross not fully dealt with and a fierce half volley, from a narrow angle, sped across Smith and into the far corner of the net.
With Rangers now pushing players up chasing the equaliser, a ball down the middle bounced clear of McKay and another former Wetherby player, Phil Milson, lifted his chip over the onrushing Smith to increase Boroughbridge’s lead in the closing seconds of the game.
Match report by Pete Arnett
Team: Smith, Wilks, Buckley.C, Straker.J, Richards, McKay, Woodward (Turley 65), Barden, Grannon, Carter (Bates 80), Holliday (Yates 65). Unused subs: Slater, O’Brien.
Goals: Straker (33), Grannon (35)
Yellow Cards: Rangers - None. Boroughbridge - 1 Player (foul)
Red Cards: Rangers - None. Boroughbridge - None.
Referee: Mr. Jason Payne
Kirk Deighton Rangers Man of the Match (chosen by Pete & Kieran Arnett): A brave display in the center of defence saw Jon Richards given this one. On more than one occasion, Jon threw himself in front of the ball to stop Boroughbridge from having a clear sight on goal. He received a nasty knock for his troubles in the second half, but this didn’t stop him from getting back up and completing the game.
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