Match Report: Wetherby Athletic 2 v 2 Kirk Deighton Rangers.

A late goal for Wetherby saw the final game of 2019 finish as a 2-2 draw, and for those watching, it didn't come as much of a surprise as Rangers struggled to find the fluidity that they produced in the first forty-five minutes.

With Joe Barden missing through suspension and both Charlie Yates and Josh Bhandal out through injury, Josh Barden found himself upfront to partner Ash Tatler and Jake Little. New signing Sam Richardson from Harrogate Town Under 21's took his place on the substitutes bench.

The game started with Rangers pressing and despite several free-kicks and corners coming the way of Deighton, Wetherby defended well through Ryan Heptinstall and Anthony Walsh and repelled the efforts.

A pass by Rob Holliday found Little, and despite cries for offside, the forward was allowed to continue. Jinking past two defenders he got his shot away, firing over the crossbar.

Athletic moved up the pitch, but the cross was too deep and bounced out of play. Another attack soon after saw Luke Dubery produce a sliding tackle to clear the danger,

A throw caused panic inside Wetherby's area, but Little's initial shot was blocked before Holliday blasted just wide under pressure.

The opening goal came following a Rangers attack that was stopped short of the Wetherby area. Moving the ball down the left flank, Joe Gotts lifted his shot over the onrushing Jonty Smith into the goal.

The hosts were enjoying a good spell, and a curling free-kick, following a foul in the centre of the pitch, was headed just wide.

Rangers regained their composure, and a long shot by Joe Wilks flashed just wide of the post. Minutes later James Woodward whipped in a low cross that keeper Darren Hooper parried. Trying to collect the loose ball, Little was well marshalled by Gregg Harrison and Heptinstall, and the chance was cleared.

The equaliser arrived on 30 minutes when a pass found Tatler, picking out Barden with a low ball, he improvised nicely flicking the ball under Hooper with his instep from close range.

Josh Barden watches as his flicked shot goes in.

Deighton continued to create chances and Tatler's cross was cleared as far as the industrious Woodward on the edge of the area, whose fierce shot was blocked on route to goal.

Rangers were thankful to John Large when he diverted a goal-bound shot over the crossbar. From the resultant corner kick, Joe Whiteley shot just wide.

It was advantage Rangers in the 39th minute as Craig Hall received a good pass from Holliday, and he steered his first time shot wide of Hooper and into the bottom corner of the net.

A quick free-kick by Wilks nearly caught Wetherby out, but Tatler was unable to get his shot away, and the orange shirts closed down his space.

Half-Time: Wetherby Athletic 1 v 2 Kirk Deighton Rangers

The second half started with Rangers huffing and puffing but producing little in way of clear chances.

A sliced clearance by Heptinstall, under pressure from Barden, caused consternation in the Wetherby area, but rising highest to claim the ball was Hooper.

Wetherby became more of an attacking force, and it took another well-timed intervention, this time by Wilks, to stop them advancing.

Rangers rattled the crossbar through Tatler from a tight angle, and the ball fell to Holliday, but his shot was saved by Hooper.

A howl of derision emitted from Wetherby as an offside decision stopped play after the striker ran onto a through pass.

The first substitution occurred in the 60th minute when Joe Turley replaced Little. Straight away, he was fouled as he passed to Tatler.

Rangers had a strong penalty shout dismissed following a late challenge that left Turley on the ground. Picking up the loose ball, Holliday shot wide from just inside the area.

Joe Turley slips the ball under Wetherby's Gregg Harrison.

Rangers tried to release Barden with a long ball, but Wetherby read the danger well and put the ball out for a corner. The stoppage allowed Richardson to make his debut replacing Mason Sheridan-Hawley, who had played a good game.

A mix up in the Rangers defence allowed Wetherby to have a free shot, but diving low Smith claimed the ball.

With Wetherby now on top, Rangers fashioned an attack that ended with Holliday passing behind Tatler, and the striker was unable to turn to collect the ball.

An injury to Holliday forced him to leave the pitch, and Rangers bought on Chris Plews in the 76th minute.

Rangers were awarded a free-kick following a foul on Barden. Despite the initial cross being cleared, it fell for Turley to strike, however, his shot went wide.

Plews was left shaking his head as he shot over following a squirmish between Tatler and Heptinstall that saw the ball roll into his path.

With the pressure intensifying from the home side, it seemed inevitable that the equaliser would arrive, and it duly did after Rangers had produced several last-ditch blocks to deny Wetherby. A lost tackle saw the hosts move the ball across the area and Walsh steered the ball past Smith and into the goal with six minutes remaining.

With darkness rapidly descending, neither team was able to fashion a final clear chance, so, in the end, both had to be content with a point each.

Full-Time: Wetherby Athletic 2 v 2 Kirk Deighton Rangers

Match Report by Pete Arnett

Team: Smith, Hall, Sheridan-Hawley, Wilks, Large, Dubery, Holliday.R, Woodward, Barden, Little, Tatler. Subs: Turley (Little 60), Richardson (Sheridan-Hawley 68), Plews (Holliday 76) Unused: Holliday.J

Goals: Barden (30), Hall (39)

Sin-Bin: Wetherby Athletic (no players), Rangers (no players)

Yellow Cards: Wetherby Athletic (One player), Rangers (Woodward)

Red Cards: Wetherby Athletic (no players), Rangers (no players)

Referee: Mr Alan Clough

The Kirk Deighton Rangers B&F Electrical Wholesalers Man of the Match Award: James Woodward.

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