In a match that was surely very entertaining for the neutral, it was a matter of “how” for Rangers as chance after chance went begging, and in the end took a Joe Turley equaliser close to the final whistle to make sure that Deighton registered their first point of the season.
With Lewis Mallinson, Dan Flynn, Ashley Tatler and James Woodward all given starting places, it took less than sixty seconds for Otley to move down the pitch and slam the ball past a diving Mallinson into the back of the net.
Rangers responded with Charlie Yates, Harvey Ribbons and Woodward all combining well, but despite dinking the ball over the onrushing custodian, Yates’s shot bounced into the side netting.
Tatler was the next one to try his luck when Joe Wilks picked him out from a corner, despite reaching the ball however, his downwards header crashed into the body of a defender.
Otley played down the right wing and won a dangerous free-kick near the corner flag, but the curling delivery was headed out by Dave McKay. From the resultant corner, the referee waved away cries of handball as Luke Dubery cleared.
Yates and Tatler combined well after Josh Barden had freed Yates. Rolling the ball to Tatler, his clever shot across the keeper was just a foot wide from finding its target.
Rangers were piling on the pressure and Yates released McKay on the right wing, powering his cross to the back post, Tatler had to take his shot under pressure and could only fire over.
It was end to end stuff and a lightening break by the visitors ended with them firing across Rangers goal, but fortunately, no orange shirt had kept up with play. Straight away Ribbons forced a corner off his marker, but his header from the set-piece was collected by the keeper.
A brave low diving header by John Large stopped Otley from getting into the area, after a well-timed tackle by Wilks had slowed the visitor’s down.
Mallinson had to make a triple save as Otley threatened to double their lead, twice he had to get down quick at his near post to block, whilst in-between he produced a well-timed punch to take the ball clear of an Otley head.
Rangers were awarded a penalty after Yates had been fouled. Dusting himself down, his powerful shot arrowed towards the right-hand side, but a good dive by the keeper saw him push the ball onto the post and watch as a defender cleared the ball into touch.
It was becoming a case of when would Rangers score, but shots from Tatler and Wilks were stopped by the keeper or his defence as Otley held firm!
A free-kick to Rangers nearly brought the equaliser when Barden’s low shot beat the wall, but hit the upright before being pushed to safety by the keeper!
Finally, the equaliser arrived in the 44th minute and it was Tatler who scored as he broke the offside trap, controlled Barden’s ball and rolled it past the keeper.
Otley nearly regained the lead straight away when a run saw the Otley winger cut in and beat two Rangers defenders, but his shot was wayward and crashed into the bushes behind the goal.
Half Time: Rangers 1 v 1 Otley Town
Rangers kicked off the second half and it was Yates who had the first attempt when Dan Flynn and Barden combined from a throw in, but Yates’s poked attempt was collected by the keeper.
A block by his own player saw Otley denied a second goal when a powerful shot was stopped on-route to with Mallinson unsighted.
Rangers took the lead in the 52nd minute when Wilks’s free-kick was chested down by Dubery and Yates slammed home, although the keeper can feel aggrieved as he did get plenty on the ball, but the pace took it into the net via the crossbar.
The euphoria lasted two minutes, as an inability to clear their ranks cost Rangers dear as an Otley player latched onto a loose ball and fired past Mallinson from the edge of the area.
Barden came close to restoring Rangers lead when his shot was cleared a couple of feet from the line. With the ball spinning to Ribbons, it looked to take a deflection off an Otley player before going out of play. With a few protests about his decision to award a goal-kick ringing in his ears, Mr Stoddart sent James Woodward to the sin-bin as punishment.
Despite being down to ten men, it was Rangers who threatened through two long shots by Yates and Wilks, however the keeper was equal to both attempts.
Otley were having a bit of success through the middle, and it took a good tackle from Danny Grannon (who had replaced Large) and a clearance from Barden to halt them.
With Rangers under a bit of pressure, it took another good punch by Mallinson to clear and then the post came to the rescue, as a fierce shot crashed onto it and bounced clear.
Rob Holliday replaced Woodward in the 71st minute and his direct running started to cause problems for the Otley backline, but it was Yates who came closest with another stinging shot that went over.
With Rangers on top, we fell to a sucker punch in the 76th minute as Otley staged a smash and grab with a fast counter that saw the original move blocked, but the ball fell nicely to the next Orange shirted player who precisely placed the ball past Mallinson.
Throwing caution to the wind, Manager Dan Marshall replaced Flynn with Joe Turley as Rangers went all out attack and it was the super sub who got us on level terms in the 83rd minute when he controlled a long diagonal pass from Yates, beat his man and coolly steered his shot under the keeper and into the net.
With the match coming to a close, tempers threatened to boil over when several Otley players were incensed by a tackle by Dubery on their left winger. Despite a lengthy conversation with the Rangers player, Mr Stoddart decided that a yellow card was punishment enough and the game continued until halted for full time.
Full Time: Rangers 3 v 3 Otley Town
Match Report by Pete Arnett
Team: Mallinson, McKay, Flynn, Large, Dubery, Barden, Wilks, Ribbons, Woodward, Tatler, Yates. Subs Grannon (Large 54), Holliday (Woodward 71), Turley (Flynn 77), Bhandal
Goals: Tatler (44), Yates (52), Turley (83)
Sin-Bin: Rangers (Woodward) Otley Town (None)
Yellow Cards: Rangers (Woodward, Dubery) Otley Town (one player)
Red Cards: Rangers (None) Otley Town (None)
Referee: Mr Mike Stoddart
Kirk Deighton Rangers B&F Electrical Distributors Man Of The Match: Josh Barden