Rangers hunt down Raptors for deserved draw

NABC U13 DIVISION TWO - Kingston Park Raptors 2 Longhoughton Rangers 2

RANGERS were away at Kingston Park Raptors on Sunday and were expecting a tough game, which was what they got against a very capable Kingston Park outfit who were looking to make amends for a 6-2 defeat a couple of weeks earlier.

The game was played in early spring sunshine on a bumpy and heavy pitch.

Rangers were unusually quick off the mark and were one up after three minutes when Jordan Turnbull worked the ball up the left wing. He passed it to Ryan Harrison who did well to hold off the defender as he forced his way into the box. Josh Briggs was following up and collected the ball to jink past the keeper and slide the ball home with his left foot.

Shortly after Rangers doubled their lead when a Sam Eggleston corner was headed goalwards by Sam Eastham. Raptors cleared the ball to the edge of the box but it fell to Will Hall who rifled a great 20-yard shot into the roof of the net.

On 14 minutes Raptors were unlucky not to get one back when Kieran Taylor was unable to hold a free kick. The loose ball bobbled free and the forward completely miss kicked it to allow James Hume to clear off the line.

Ryan Harrison went close just before half-time when he seized on a through pass. His snap shot from the edge of the box went just wide of the right post with the keeper stranded.

Raptors were more combative in the second half and Rangers lost some of their earlier shape which allowed Raptors to fashion some chances.

With the game more evenly balanced chances were hard to come by. The pick of the early minutes of the second half fell to Jack Gibson who hit a long shot just over the bar.

Rangers were just about managing to keep their advantage with some desperate defending particularly from corners but on 13 minutes their resistance cracked to a quality goal as a ball was lobbed over Taylor from the edge of the box.

Four minutes later Raptors were level when the ball wasn’t cleared and it was driven back from close range. The remainder of the game could have gone either way. Rangers had reasonable chances with Harrison and Gardner almost hitting the target. Andy Murray delivered two great corners that caused problems in the Raptors area but no one was able to tuck it away.

In the final minutes, with Rangers looking the more likely to score, a break on the right set Raptors free outnumbering the Rangers defence. A great last ditch tackle in the six yard box from Joe Lewis halted the move and on clearing the resulting corner the referee brought the game to a close.

Initially it felt like Rangers had dropped two points but on reflection a draw was a fair result with both sides playing good football and showing great commitment despite the heavy conditions underfoot.

Man of the match went to Josh Briggs for a battling performance, driven by pasta for breakfast, and capped by a goal with his weaker foot.

Team: 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 Hume.