NABC U13 LEAGUE CUP, ROUND THREE
RANGERS were at home in the third round of the Divisional Cup to fellow League Two opponents Beamish.
Again the Westfield Park pitch was in excellent condition given the recent weather and Rangers started the game kicking into the light breeze.
Beamish quickly set out their stall to play a high line, which should have been a dangerous tactic given the pace of Rangers’ strikers.
However, the first 20 minutes were a frustrating procession of offside decisions interspersed with occasional forays into the box by both sides but without any real close chances.
Rangers had probably come closest with a couple of attempts that were hit wide. The home team broke the deadlock with a move up the left-wing.
Andy Murray and Chris Gardner combined to move the ball into the middle.
Ryan Harrison didn’t quite connect but just got enough on it to beat the keeper (1-0).
Beamish almost struck back with a free-kick that was well held by Kieran Taylor and then Sam Eggleston blocked a great shot that looked goal-bound and the danger was cleared.
For the remainder of the half, Rangers looked comfortable and had the better chances but could not find the back of the net and inevitably, just before half-time, Beamish equalised following a mix-up in midfield that allowed a ball to go through the middle.
The defence, who had been excellent again, unfortunately didn’t get a good enough tackle in and the forward slotted the ball past Taylor (1-1).
Rangers were quickly out of the traps at the start of the second half. A move on the right started with Josh Briggs moved the ball to Ryan Harrison. His cross dropped to Ryan Pattinson, who took his time to pick his spot and fire the ball into the corner of the net (2-1).
On 50 minutes, a great combination of quick passing involving Luke Evans, the very lively Jordan Briggs and Jordan Turnbull set Chris Gardner free.
He was scythed down in the box for a penalty which he clinically despatched into the right corner (3-1).
Beamish struck back with a goal soon after as a loose ball was not cleared and their striker struck from a narrow angle (3-2).
At about this time, the Beamish coaching team started to lose the plot as a goal was disallowed for a foul on the keeper and they felt aggrieved about a couple of decisions – one of which ended in a Ryan Harrison goal as he had the presence of mind to play to the whistle as the Beamish team stopped to complain to the referee (4-2).
Jack Gibson lit up the remainder of the half with a superb back-heel down the line that would not have been out of place in the San Siro but, unfortunately, the game had petered out by that point as Beamish barracked the referee and complained about every decision.
In the end, Rangers ran out fairly comfortable winners and face a trip to League One Ponteland in the next round.
It was not a vintage performance but the team deserves credit for getting on with the game and not rising to the bait as the opposition descended into disarray.
Man-of-the-match went to Brad Asprey for a solid and energetic performance at right-back, where he coped well with a lively and skilful left-winger.
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 Hume.