Perhaps it was for the best that spectators weren't allowed into Barr Field as Rangers produced a rusty, disjointed performance to fall to a 3-0 defeat against a lively Wyke Wanderers.
With several first-team players unavailable, Sam Murphy, Mike McCartney and Jake Bollan all stepped up from the Reserves.
The first attack of the game went to Deighton, but Josh Buckley was unable to head the free-kick goalwards.
With six minutes played, Wyke took the lead when their player out-sprinted Josh Buckley and lifted the ball over the onrushing Jonty Smith.
Things went from bad to worse in the 12th minute when the referee deemed Buckley's challenge illegal and pointed to the spot. Despite going the right way, Smith was unable to stop the shot from going in.
An injury to McCartney halted proceedings for a few minutes, but as soon as play recommenced, Wyke attacked down the left-wing, but Smith was quickly off his line to deny the striker with Bollan covering.
Rangers were having trouble getting hold of the ball in midfield despite Dominic Walton's best efforts, and this hampered their attacking movement. However, in the 20th minute, Ali Thompson curled in a deep cross which picked out Jake Little. Beating his marker, Little's shot was deflected behind for a corner, which came to nothing.
With Wyke attacking down the right, it needed both Josh and Conor Buckley to prevent them from breaking into the area.
In a rare break for Deighton, a superb ball by Josh Barden released Thompson, and his cross flashed through the area without a blue shirt being able to get on the end of it.
Half-Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers 0 v 2 Wyke Wanderers
Rangers started on the attack, but Wyke defended well and marshalled the ball out for a corner.
The points were sealed in the 51st minute when Wyke scored their final goal of the game. Rangers failed to deal with a free-kick, and a shot from just inside the area was deflected past Smith despite multiple calls for offside.
Wyke were once again controlling the game, and Smith had to leap high to claim a dipping shot from outside the area.
Rangers reshuffled their pack in the 59th minute when McCartney, Murphy, Barden, Little and Walton left the pitch to be replaced by Harvey Ribbons, George Widdows, James Woodward, Ashley Tatler and Rob Holliday.
Tatler's cross was claimed by Wyke's keeper before a foul on Holliday gave Deighton a shooting chance right on the edge of the area. Despite hitting the ball well, the wall blocked Tatler's shot, and it bounced to safety.
The visitors were awarded another penalty in the 66th minute when Josh Buckley was adjudged to have fouled his opponent. Despite protestations from multiple Deighton players, the referee waved them away, but this time Smith reached the shot low down and pushed it wide.
Holliday's clever footwork won another free-kick for Rangers, but the cross was too close to the keeper, and he pushed it out for a corner. Following a flick-on at the near post, Neal connected well with a header at the back post, but it was straight at the goalkeeper.
Thompson and Widdows combined well on the left of midfield to pick out Tatler. Turning smartly, he couldn't generate the power needed, and his shot trickled to the keeper.
For the first time in the game, Deighton were on top, and a shot on the turn from Thompson flashed wide. Moments later, Rangers unsuccessfully appealed for a penalty after Tatler looked to be tripped trying to latch onto a free-kick.
Holliday's introduction had sparked creativity into Deighton's play, and it was his curling shot from outside the area that needed Wyke's keeper to turn it over the crossbar.
Rangers were turning the screw, but couldn't find a way through Wyke's defence. Josh Buckley's header from a corner went just wide of the post before Ribbon's low curling cross evaded both Tatler and Neal.
Full-Time: Kirk Deighton Rangers 0 v 3 Wyke Wanderers
Verdict: A rusty performance (which is understandable with current issues) combined with several important players missing certainly didn't help the team today. However, there were periods in the second half that pointed to Rangers of old. The performances will come as will the all important match fitness.
Team: Smith, Murphy (Ribbons, 59), Buckley.C, Buckley.J (c), Bollan (Woodward, 59), Walton (Widdows, 59), Barden (Holliday, 59), McCartney, Thompson, Little (Tatler, 59), Neal
Subs: all used.
Yellow cards: Rangers - Woodward & Buckley.J
Wyke Wanderers - 3 players.
Red cards: Rangers - none.
Wyke Wanderers - none.
Bennett & Fountain Electrical Wholesalers Man Of The Match: Rob Holliday.
Results: Saturday 10th April 2021
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Salts 2 v 0 East End Park
Shelley 3 v 1 Aberford Albion
All at KDRAFC would like to thank the NHS for their superb work and commitment during the past fifteen months.
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