NEYD FA CUP U16, QUARTER-FINAL
Wansbeck JFC Blues...1
AFTER not having played a game in almost two months it was straight in at the deep end for Longhoughton Rangers when they faced Wansbeck JFC Blues in the NEYD FA Cup quarter-finals.
Both teams fielded depleted sides due to injuries and some very important fixtures being played in Sunderland. Playing in a division above the Rangers, Wansbeck made the brighter start with their passing game and physical style.
Following an early scare, with the post denying Wansbeck the opening goal, the Rangers midfield of Thompson, Williams, Martin and Gillon, and defence of Jemmett, Campbell, Love and Batey stepped up to the challenge, dealing calmly with everything thrown at them with keeper Smeaton, in his first full game of the season following injury, proving a resilient last line of defence.
On 20 minutes, Rangers manager Dave Young brought on his one and only substitute McDonnell to give Williams a well-earned breather. With the relentless pace of the game, Williams replaced Thompson on 30 minutes.
Growing in confidence, Rangers began to push back Wansbeck with strikers Hedley and Morrison stretching the opposition defence.
This pressure was rewarded on 37 minutes when the Wansbeck keeper could only parry Morrison’s shot to Hedley who comfortably converted for 1-0. Following the re-start, Wansbeck went all-out for the equaliser, testing Rangers keeper Smeaton with a close-range shot which he comfortably punched over the bar.
After half-time, Thompson re-entered the fray in defence for the injured Jemmett with a resurgent Wansbeck pushing forward.
Picking up where they left off in the first half, Rangers centre-backs Love and Batey marshalled the defence and two minutes after the re-start some slick passing and movement resulted in Gillon firing through the Wansbeck defence and past their stranded keeper for 2-0.
Two minutes later, with home supporters just catching their breath, another slick move started by McDonnell fell to Morrison who wrong-footed the Wansbeck defence for 3-0.
With tiredness beginning to show, chances fell to both sides with Rangers hitting the post and Wansbeck being denied by the punched clearances of Smeaton. Eventually, with five minutes left, Wansbeck managed a late consolation to make the final score 3-1.
All in all, an excellent team performance by the Rangers, which sees them comfortably through to the next round of the cup.
Rangers: Andrew Smeaton, Dale Jemmett, Ryan Love, Callum Batey, Jimmy Campbell, Jordan Thompson, Ash Williams, Kieran Martin, Edwin Gillon, Callum Hedley, Jake Morrison and Andrew MacDonnell. Manager’s men-of-the-match: Callum Batey and Andrew McDonnell.