Campion came to Barr Field boasting an undefeated record and left ninety minutes later with a mark in the loss column, after a brace by Charlie Yates and a goal by Ali Thompson saw Rangers come twice from behind to record a 3-2 win.
The result however was soured by a double dismissal in the closing ten minutes that will leave Rangers without their inspirational captain Joe Wilks.
Despite an early foray by Rangers that ended with the Campion keeper pushing a Charlie Yates shot over the approaching Harvey Ribbons before managing to grab hold of it, it was the visitors who settled the quickest and started passing the ball around nicely.
The leaders speed in attack won them a dangerous free kick just outside the area in a central position, and it was Jonty Smith who had to show safe hands to collect the shot low down.
Campion’s plan was to use both flanks, but the full back pair of Craig Hall on the right and Joe Turley on the left were up to the task. On the occasions when they came infield, Josh Buckley and Luke Dubery were putting in some quality tackles to deny them clear cut chances.
It took unto the 13th minute for Rangers to create another chance when Thompson, who had sprinted past his marker, fired in a shot that crashed into the bushes behind the goal.
Straight away Rangers tried again when Josh Barden and Joe Wilks combined to allow the later to shoot. Despite palming the ball back towards his own goal, the custodian was able to recover to catch the ball properly before it crossed the goal line.
A long ball down Rangers left was knocked out for a corner by Hall and the resultant kick found an unmarked player, who headed past Smith to open the scoring in the 16th minute.
Trying to respond to the setback, Rangers forced a flurry of corners and free-kicks that ended with Buckley heading the ball downwards, but the bounce took it over the crossbar.
A superb tackle by James Woodward, just inside Campion’s half, saw him pick out Barden who’s curling cross was headed just wide of the target by Thompson.
Just as with Campion’s goal, it was a corner that led to Rangers’ equaliser in the 26th minute. A good delivery by Barden picked out Wilks at the far post and his fierce volley was saved by the keeper, however the rebound fell to Thompson who made no mistake from close range.
With half chances falling to both teams, including fierce drives by Woodward and Ribbons, it was becoming a case of who would regain the advantage first. Unfortunately for us it was the visitors who struck again in the 38th minute when a long clearance caught Rangers cold and a drive from an angle beat Smith.
Rangers tried to fashion an instant response when Thompson controlled a high ball well, but his long shot was comfortably collected by the keeper.
Parity was restored in the 41st minute after Yates was clipped from behind just inside the area. Dusting himself off, he sent the keeper the wrong way and the ball nestled in the bottom corner
It was Smith who made the final save of the half, when he had to dive to his right and hold onto a low shot as Campion found space in Deighton’s backline.
Half Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers 2 v 2 Campion
Rangers started the second half on the attack and won a corner, which was easily defended. Releasing their left winger, it took Hall to deal with the danger as he slid in to disposes him as he looked to sprint clear.
Campion nearly hit the self-destruct button in the 47th minute when a misplaced pass was intercepted by Yates and he moved into the area. Despite hitting his shot well, the keeper managed to get the faintest of touches to push it just wide.
A spell of counter attacking by both sides saw Dubery and Woodward produce blocks to deny Campion whilst a dubious offside call robbed Thompson of the chance to break free.
Rangers survived an almighty scare when Campion’s left winger picked up a pass and produced a deft chip over a diving defender and Smith, which went inches wide.
A failure to clear from defence nearly cost Rangers dear again when a cross passed through the area untouched with two Campion unable to make contact.
Rangers found there feet again and a clever cut back by Wilks took out two defenders, but Ribbons was unable to get his shot on target and a covering player diverted it wide.
Another misplaced pass by the Campion defence allowed Yates to stride forward and the striker picked his spot perfectly as he fired past the keeper with aplomb in the 58th minute.
The goal had clearly rocked Campion, who appeared shell shocked as Rangers now controlled the game. With Ashley Tatler replacing Hall, a double press by both him and Yates saw another dodgy backpass just cleared by the keeper.
A superb run by Dubery, which saw him beat three players was ended when the keeper managed to get his legs in the way of the centre back’s shot. Despite the ball ricocheting back into the area, no Rangers player could take advantage.
Regaining their composure, Campion forced Smith into two sprints off his line to dive at the feet of red shirted onrushing players.
A good chance fell to Tatler, but his control left him at the vital moment and he directed his header over the bar.
Rangers were indebted to both Wilks and Smith as the defender pulled off a superb tackle in the area to rob the attacker, whilst moments later Smith stood strong to push a fierce shot wide.
A foul on Barden in the 80th minute led to a melee after a Campion player took exception to the length of time Barden was on the floor and threw the ball with force at the grounded player. An altercation between several players from both sides led to a visiting player falling to the floor and once order had been restored, referee Mr John Murray showed Campion’s number 12 and Wilks the red card.
With both teams struggling to keep hold of the ball, it needed another save low down by Smith to deny Campion, whilst Josh Bhandal, who replaced Yates in the 76th minute nearly released Tatler with a through ball that was just stopped at the final second.
Full Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers 3 v 2 Campion
Report by Pete Arnett
Team: Smith, Hall, Turley, Wilks ©, Dubery, Buckley.J, Barden, Woodward, Thompson, Yates, Ribbons. Subs: Tatler (Hall 59), Bhandal (Yates 76)
Goals: Thompson (26), Yates (41 p, 58)
Sin Bin: Rangers (none) Campion (none)
Yellow Cards: Rangers (none) Campion (none)
Red Cards: Rangers (Wilks) Campion (One player)
Referee: Mr John Murray
Kirk Deighton Rangers B&F Electrical Distributors Man Of The Match: James Woodward
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