Sometimes you just have to throw your hands in the air, admit you were outplayed and move on to the next game!
Following a good run of results, hopes were high that Rangers Reserves could start September off with a win against unbeaten East End Park Reserves, but by the end of the match, a 6-1 defeat saw the leaders continue their stay at the summit and Rangers suffering their first loss of the campaign.
As we all know, the footballing Gods have a wicked sense of humour, and for the opening quarter of an hour, it was Rangers who looked the most likely to score. Early running down the left by Jack Holliday saw him unable to find a way through, with the East End defence sticking to him stubbornly.
A mis-kick in Deighton’s area saw keeper Craig Robson needing to jump above a challenging East End player to collect the ball just feet from his line.
Following a sliding intervention by Rich Jenner to deny East End a clear shot, Rangers fashioned two half chances although neither Holliday or Chris Plews could capitalise, although the latter’s shot did need two attempts to gather it.
With 11 minutes played, the frame of the goal came to the visitor’s rescue when a flicked header by Plews smacked into the upright and bounced back into play.
A long throw by Craig Hall caused disruption in the area, and it took a decent save to prevent Sid Abbott from scoring. The loose ball dropped to Plews, but he couldn’t connect cleanly and could only watch as the chance span away.
A rapid counter down the left flank by the leaders ended with a shot from just inside the area, however, sticking out a foot, Robson deflected the ball for a corner.
Coming more into the game as an attacking unit, the visitor’s took the lead in the 21st minute when a low shot from distance beat Robson to his left.
With Rangers unable to regain the fluid play that had served them well during the opening stages, control of the game passed to the opposition, although their custodian was left scampering to reclaim Holliday’s long range strike, after good combination play by Sam Straker and Will Hodson had set him up, and minutes later the crossbar denied Plews when his dipping shot cannoned back with the keeper beaten.
A delicious free-kick over the wall and into the top corner doubled the visitor’s advantage in the 28th minutes and, in all honesty, it was a superbly taken set-piece.
Rangers were reeling with passes going astray and attacks being stopped all too easily. Taking advantage of this and trying to add a third, it took some good interventions by the rearguard of Simon Wright, Jonny Atkinson, Jenner and Hall to contain an energetic East End Park.
Tenacious play by Hodson saw him charge down the keeper’s clearance. Picking out Plews, his first time shot whistled just past the post.
The half ended with Robson in action as his full length dive to his right saw him push a header over the bar for a corner which East End couldn’t convert.
Half-Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers Reserves 0 v 2 East End Park Reserves
It took just two minutes of the second half for East End Park to effectively kill the game off as a contest when a corner was only cleared as far as the edge of the area, and a returning shot flew past Robson and into the net.
With the same passing frailties haunting Rangers again, the visitors were penning the blue shirts back into their final third. However, despite some intricate play and movement, East End Park were finding it difficult to breach and several attacks were repelled without too much difficulty.
Rangers were left breathing a sigh of relief in the 50th minute when a clever piece of play saw East End break free, chipping the ball over the advancing Robson, the shot bounced once before passing the near post and out of play.
Changing things around, Wright made way for debutant Mason Sheridan-Hawley and Plews was replaced by George Therwell in the 54th minute.
Following a brief disruption to the game, Rangers threw on their final sub when Brad Spencer, returning from injury, replaced Hodson in the 60th minute.
The subs paid dividends in the 64th minute when Spencer laid the ball back for Sheridan-Hawley, who curled in an inch perfect cross from the left to pick out an unmarked Holliday who headed home from several feet out.
The visitors surged back and Robson was called upon to push a shot onto the bar before the rebound was put wide under pressure by Rangers defence.
The goal seemed to wake Rangers up, and a lovely run by the industrious Mike McCartney picked out Straker, but despite lining up his shot, the ball slammed into a covering defender and was cleared.
The first booking of the match went to Rangers as Abbott clipped his man just outside the area, and the resultant shot slammed into the crossbar before being cleared.
A foul on Holliday allowed Rangers to ultimately win a succession of corners that saw Spencer nearly score with a curling effort at the near post. Not able to clear the danger completely, Therwell then picked out Spencer again, but his cross went through the six yard box untouched.
It was Spencer’s crossing that caused panic in the East End box when a defender deflected the ball towards his own goal, however a good reflex save by the keeper pushed the danger over the crossbar.
With the game looking like a 3-1 defeat, all of a sudden the visitors went goal crazy, and their fourth arrived in the 81st minute when the striker burst into the area, held off a challenge and rounded Robson.
Four minutes later and it was 5-1 when Robson, who had initially produced a superb save to push a shot wide, was unable to replicate his feat and a long shot from a well worked corner beat him.
With sixty seconds left, Rangers switched off again and allowed a attacking player to ride two challenges before rounding Robson and walking the ball into the open goal.
Full-Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers Reserves 1 v 6 East End Park Reserves
Team: Robson, Wright, Hall, McCartney, Jenner, Atkinson, Abbott, Straker, Hodson, Plews, Holliday. Subs: Therwell (Plews, 54), Sheridan-Hawley (Wright, 54), Spencer (Hodson, 60) Not Used: Williams.
Goals: Holliday (64th)
Sin-Bins: Kirk Deighton Rangers (None), East End Park (None)
Yellow Cards: Kirk Deighton Rangers (Abbott), East End Park (None)
Red Cards: Kirk Deighton Rangers (None), East End Park (None)
Referee: Mr Kris Macdonald
Kirk Deighton Rangers Bar Three Man Of The Match: Craig Robson.