Whilst the outcome of this game was never really in doubt, Rangers will be pleased with the way that they pushed and harried their opponents, who play three divisions above, for large periods.
Bringing a squad consisting of a 16 year old and seven players under the age of 21, it was always going to be about the experience of playing such a high caliber North Eastern Counties Premier side, but it was Rangers who nearly snatched the lead when Rob Holliday played a high pass into the path of youngster Harvey Ribbons. Holding off his marker, the winger powered his shot just wide of the far post, but not by much!
The hosts soon settled into grove of pass and move, and several moves saw them pin Rangers back, but countering this, the blue shirts packed the defence and Amateur struggled to breach.
A strong run down the left-hand side saw the winger cut behind Craig Hall and release a fierce drive that Jonty Smith was equal to as he plucked it out of the air. Moments later, the same player drove into Rangers area again, but this time determined defending by Dave McKay saw the shot deflected wide for a corner, which was easily cleared.
Yorkshire Amateur were controlling the midfield, but when given the opportunity, Josh Barden and Holliday were producing some good passes to try and release Ribbons, Joe Wilks and Jake Little.
A defence splitting pass opened up Rangers through the middle and freed Amateur’s striker, but his shot was well saved by a diving Smith, who managed to nudge the ball wide.
Rangers were under heavy pressure and it needed a save at the striker’s feet by Smith to deny the hosts the opening goal. Minutes later, a well-timed sliding tackle by Luke Dubery poked the ball clear just as the trigger was being pulled.
A burst down the right wing by Little saw the ball pulled back to Holliday whose shot was charged down for a corner. The set piece saw Dubery out jump his opponent at the back post, but head wide.
Yorkshire Amateur’s pressure finally paid off in the 22nd minute when a shot from the right-hand side of the area was lifted over Smith and into the net.
Three minutes later and one became two when a pinpoint cross from the left picked out a player eight yards out, and his header looped over Smith before bouncing into the goal.
The goal brought a raft of substitutions from Rangers, but they continued to make the hosts work hard around the final third and despite some intricate play, the white shirts were often thwarted by some strong tackles and good goalkeeping.
The 36th minute saw the only controversial moment of the contest when, despite celebrating a third goal and returning to the center circle, the Premier side were visibly and audibly annoyed to see Rangers attacking from a goal kick, as the referee had ruled out the strike for a foul in the buildup.
As an outlet, Ribbons was proving to be very useful for Rangers, and with half-time approaching he shrugged off his marker to face the keeper, unfortunately his shot flew wide of the target, although there was a strong suspicion that the keeper had managed to get something on the shot but Rangers’ calls for a corner were ignored by the referee.
Half-Time: Yorkshire Amateur AFC 2 v 0 Kirk Deighton Rangers
The second half started with the linesman’s flag bringing an attacking move by Yorkshire Amateur to a premature end. However, straight back on the offensive, the hosts forced a corner which was headed clear out of a packed area.
Rangers were finding some joy down the left flank and a good run by Ribbons forced a corner which Barden delivered deep. Ghosting past his marker, Josh Buckley flashed his header just wide of the post.
The game was realistically over as a contest in the 55th minute when a pass down the middle of the park was received just outside the area. Turning neatly, the Yorkshire Amateur player held off a challenge before stroking the ball past Smith and into the corner of the net.
The hosts had a chance to make it four from a free-kick when Mike Tasker was harshly adjudged to have fouled his man. However, Smith produced an excellent diving save to catch the ball as it arrowed towards the goal.
Surging down the left wing, Ribbons beat his man and sent a curling cross into the path of the lively Sam Monaghan, but the covering defender managed to intercept and forced the ball back to the keeper who cleared down the pitch.
Despite being three down, Rangers were still impressive in defence and their positional play was clearly frustrating the hosts, however some quick and accurate passing brought a fourth in the 65th minute when the attacker was left with a simple tap in.
Michael McCartney’s pass released Ribbons who outpaced his marker. Whipping in a low cross, Monaghan was close to converting, but a good block by the goalkeeper saw the ball stopped with feet to spare.
Rangers were hitting some great passes and another chance materialised when Holliday’s teasing run and cross just eluded Little’s outstretched foot and flew through the area untouched.
Amateur’s one touch passing around the Rangers area was impressive to watch and twice they fashioned shooting opportunities, but the first crashed into the trees behind the goal, whilst Smith was forced to produce another good save to stop the second.
The final goal arrived in the 79th minute and, as with the others, it was a case of good movement and quick passing that lead to the opportunity, which was converted from close range.
Rangers were showing some nice touches to try and stretch Yorkshire Amateur’s backline and both Little and Liam Dean were driving forward whenever they were given the chance. What the away side lacked was that killer instant in front of goal and despite some good crosses, none of them could be turned into goals.
Overall, a great test for Rangers and one that they can feel pretty pleased with. The main exercise was to get minutes under belts and play a team that oozes quality and should do very well in their respective division this season. We wish Yorkshire Amateur AFC all the best this campaign.
Full-Time: Yorkshire Amateur AFC 5 v 0 Kirk Deighton Rangers
Report by Pete Arnett
Squad (all players used): Smith, Hall, Buckley.C, McKay, Dubery, Woodward, Wilks, Barden, Little, Holliday, Ribbons, Monaghan, Dean, McCartney, Flynn, Tasker, Buckley.J
Dan Marshall: “For quite a while, the game was very tight. We knew that we wouldn’t have a lot of the ball and would have to tuck in and then counter when we could. When you play a team that is three divisions above you and in all reality looking to be knocking on the door to get out of their league, it’s about minutes, experience and getting millage in the legs. We certainly won’t have a tougher opponent than today, and that experience will put us in a great position for the season.”
Ben Lawrence “It was a good workout, we never expected to come here and turn them over, but it was a great exercise for us to get movement in the legs and air in the lungs. They will be disappointed that they only managed to beat us five nil and I can see them pushing to get promoted this season. It’s been much better than a training session and it was good to see the lads smiling and enjoying playing again.”