NABC U13 – Longhoughton Rangers...4 Heaton Hawks...2
RANGERS had a league home fixture against Heaton Hawks on Sunday and on a glorious spring day another entertaining game of football was played out.
Heaton are a team who play good quality football and always give the Rangers team a hard-fought contest.
They also boast a super centre-forward in Reuben Cole. He has pace, power, strength to spare and would not be out of place in an U15 team.
He is well-known to the Rangers team and they had been primed about how to deal with the threat.
However as Rangers are perennial slow starters young Cole had helped himself to two well-taken individual goals within the first 15 minutes both coming from a diagonal ball to the left that he did well to finish.
The second goal sparked Rangers into life and the midfield started to cut off the supply to Cole. They also started to fashion some time and space in which to pass the ball and spread the play.
A throw-in from the right was controlled by Will Hall who crossed into the danger area. It was headed clear to the edge of the box but Jordan Turnbull kept it alive with a great leap and head to Chris Gardner. He let it bounce before striking a superb volley on the turn into the roof of the net (1-2).
On 31 minutes, Rangers created another great goal. They were under pressure halfway inside their half when Joe Lewis claimed the ball and fed Josh Briggs. He hit a fantastic 25-yard pass that split the defence and dropped for Ryan Harrison to control with one touch and slam into the net with the next (2-2).
Hawks continued to pose problems for the remainder of the half and, with seconds remaining, found themselves in the Rangers box. Kieran Taylor caught the ball and fed an intelligent, quick pass to Brad Asprey at right-back.
He moved it to Harrison on the wing who sprinted to the edge of the box and slid a pass to Chris Gardner to side-foot home from five yards to complete a fantastic, flowing move (3-2).
The early exchanges of the second half went to Hawks but by now the central pairing of Sam Eastham and James Humes had worked out how to deal with Cole and working in tandem with Jordan Briggs and Joe Lewis managed to significantly limit the threat.
On 16 minutes, Rangers had two good chances that were well-saved by the impressive Callum Simpson in the Hawks net. The pick of which saw Rangers shift the ball from left to right across the box then back to the left via Andy Murray. His pass set up a fierce drive from Harrison that was brilliantly turned round the near-post.
The pressure eventually told with a move on the right-wing that was picked up by Luke Evans. He slipped a pass to Ryan Pattinson on the edge of the box. He looked as though he was shaping to cross before thumping the ball into the roof of the net (4-2).
Overall, another super game of football played in good competitive spirit by two well-matched teams. Man-of-the-match went to Ryan Harrison for a typical display of strong running and tenacity topped off by one goal and one assist.
A mention must also go to the central defensive pairing of James Humes and Sam Eastham for keeping the Hawks centre-forward in check for most of the game.
Rangers: K Taylor, R Pattinson, Jordan Briggs, Josh Briggs, J Lewis, S Eastham, S Eggleston, J Turnbull, C Gardner, R Harrison, B Asprey, W Hall, L Evans, J Gibson, A Murray, J Humes. Man-of-the-match: Ryan Harrison