In a match that contained controversy, superb play, a penalty and seven goals, it was Rangers who came out victorious, but Otley certainly played their part in a great advert for cup football and can, without doubt, feel aggrieved about being the losing side!
It was the visitor’s who made the early running, and before their opening goal arrived in the sixth minute they already had two half chances which, had better footing been shown, may have brought rewards sooner, as it was a pinpoint cross from the right wing wasn’t cut out and the unmarked Otley player had the simple task of guiding the ball past Jonty Smith from five yards out.
Rangers responded through Rob Holliday and his twisting run into the area was only halted when he was muscled off the ball. Holliday was involved again minutes later when Joe Turley combined with Joe Straker and the latter found the left winger. Looking to beat his marker, a well-timed sliding tackle pushed the ball to safety.
The game showed its first signs of becoming an end to end affair when no sooner had Otley worked the ball well down the left but unable to pick out an orange shirt in area, then the ball was down the other end and a ricochet off Danny Grannon robbed him of a shooting chance.
With thirteen minutes on the clock, Josh Barden looked odds on to score the equaliser when he curved his run perfectly to beat Otley’s offside trap, however as James Senior raced from his line, Barden lifted the ball over him, but also over the bar.
Deighton were growing in confidence and little passing movements around the area were starting to find their targets. A shot from the edge of the area by Dan Slater was blocked but pouncing on it Straker played the ball back to Slater who found Joe Wilks. A curling cross picked out Barden, but his header went wide of the far post.
The scores were level in the 19th minute when Grannon met Kieron O’Brien’s corner with a firm header, sticking his arm out, the defender on the line clearly handled it to prevent it from going in and Mr Spicer had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Following a lengthy talk with the culprit, a yellow card was shown which angered the Rangers bench, as they clearly felt that a red was in order. Stepping up, Holliday shot low to his left and drilled the ball home.
Rangers were queuing up for the next chance and Grannon, Turley and Barden nearly came close to scoring but it was a short back-pass by the Otley defender that nearly did the damage when Barden entered a footrace with Senior that the ex-Wetherby custodian did well to get to first and clear!
Otley reminded Deighton that they were still a threat when a little shimmy allowed their player to break into the area, clipping the ball over Smith, it bounced the wrong side of the net for Otley. Minutes later, an interesting handball by Dubery, which earnt him a yellow card (much to his relief) gave Otley a chance to shoot, which they did, but straight at Smith!
The home side were using both flanks well and it took two terrific tackles from Otley to stop Straker down the right and then Holliday down the left. The tackle on Holliday would have repercussions for the winger however, as a tweak to his knee meant that he couldn’t continue, and he was replaced by Charlie Yates with two minutes of the half remaining.
A long ball down the middle trying to free Yates was Rangers opening gambit of the second half, but a header by the covering defender back to Senior snuffed out the danger.
Yates was pressing hard to add to his season total and breaking free of the Otley defence, he tried to slip the ball past Senior, but the keeper spread himself and got something on the ball, taking the speed out of the shot and a defender managed to knock the ball clear as it rolled goalwards!
Rangers had gained a slight advantage and some nice play between Yates and O’Brien saw the ball passed to Straker. Hitting the ball from 30 yards out, the final effort wasn’t too far over!
The game went end to end again and it was Otley who troubled Smith twice in quick succession, but both times the shots were straight at the keeper and he collected with ease.
With Rangers winning a freekick after a foul on Turley, James Woodward replaced Straker on 63 minutes. Hitting his initial kick into the wall, O’Brien lobbed the rebound back into the area where Grannon tried to pick out Woodward, but Otley’s defence cleared.
Barden went through a range of emotions in the space of two minutes when Grannon muscled his way into the area and his pull back found Barden, whose deft shot just went wide leaving the striker with his head in his hands. Sixty seconds later and it was elation as his met Wilks’s cross and his backwards header looped over Senior and into the net for his fifth goal of the season in the 65th minute!
Rangers joy at gaining the lead lasted just a minute when a freekick from the left wing was turned home at the far post!
The goals were flying in now, and two minutes later Rangers regained the lead when Grannon side footed a shot past Senior from ten yards out following a cross by Yates.
Otley weren’t giving up and it needed Rangers’ defence to group together to stop another surging run off the wing from allowing a clear shot on goal.
You could sense another goal coming and both keepers needed to produce good saves low down to prevent scores from being added to. In all the excitement, O’Brien made way for Maxted as Rangers looked to bring on fresh legs in defence.
A lax piece of play in Rangers defence lead to Otley tying up the scores in the 75th minute when the striker nipped in and steered an under hit back-pass past Smith and into the goal.
The visitors thought that they had grabbed a fourth when a skirmish in the area saw Otley claim that the ball had crossed the line, but Mr Spicer disagreed. Breaking quickly, Barden found Yates whose shot cannoned off an Otley defender and looped to the other side of the six-yard box where an unmarked Grannon headed home in the 78th minute. Despite calls for offside, the goal stood!
Otley pilled on the pressure, but brave blocks from both Luke Dubery and Jack Abbott denied them a chance to level the scores.
With the ninety minutes played, the action wasn’t letting up as the referee played additional time. For Rangers Turley, Yates and Grannon had half chances whilst a free kick from Otley found a runner bearing down, but his shot was hurried and crashed into the allotments behind Smith’s goal.
Report by Pete Arnett
Team: Smith, Wilks, Abbott, Dubery, O’Brien, Slater, Holliday, Straker, Barden, Grannon, Turley
Subs: Yates (for Holliday 43), Woodward (for Straker 63) Maxted (for O’Brien 68)
Yellow Cards: Rangers (Dubery), Otley (1 player)
Red Cards: None
Referee: Mr Mick Spicer
KDRFC Man of the Match (Chosen by Daniel Marshall) was Josh Barden. He was here, there and everywhere and despite a few false starts, he kept plugging away and finished his header for his fifth goal of the season with aplomb! Always a thorn in Otley’s side all game!
Post-Match Reaction from Manager Dan Marshall:
“It was an end to end game right from the start and Ben (Lawrence) had said he fancied his match to have goals and be a 4-3 game and he was right! It was a really good game to watch and both sides went for it, played on the front foot and scored goals and fortunately we have come out narrow winners today. Otley certainly played their part in a highly contentious game and there were a couple of decisions that both teams didn’t agree with. All of the lads certainly played their part in what was a great game overall.”
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