Longhoughton Rangers 3 Newcastle East End Blues 1
Pinpoint Recruitment Junior League, U12 Division Two
After promotion to Division Two, Longhoughton Rangers’ first home game of the season was to host a talented and experienced Newcastle East End Blues side, who came down from Division One this season.
The game got under way at a fast pace, with Rangers immediately pressing for every ball, not allowing the Blues time to get any sort of passing game going.
Their reward came after eight minutes when Rangers won their first corner. Lewis Fairbairn stepped up to whip a ball into the box which the Blues could only scramble to the edge of the area, where Kristian Atkinson volleyed the bouncing ball into the bottom right corner (1-0).
Almost immediately from the kick-off, Rangers grabbed a second. Pressing the blues back towards their own goal resulted in a sloppy back pass, which was pounced on by Ewan Thorpe. As the keeper raced out to narrow the angle, Ewan held his composure to clip a delightful ball over the despairing dive of the keeper and into the opposite corner of the net (2-0).
Rangers then seemed to take their foot off the gas and ultimately paid the price, gifting the Newcastle side time on the ball to get their influential central midfield players involved. On 17 minutes, a missed tackle on the halfway line freed the pacey Newcastle forward for a run in on goal. Showing all his strength and skill, he shrugged off two challenges, rounded Stephenson in the Longhoughton goal and slotted the ball into the empty net (2-1).
That was a warning sign for Rangers as suddenly Newcastle started to look lively again.
A muddle in midfield allowed East End’s right-winger another run on goal. Just as he was about to pull the trigger on what looked a certain goal, Jack Luke appeared from nowhere with a block that took the ball wide of the post, keeping Longhoughton’s lead intact as a great first half of football drew to a close.
The half-time team talk lifted Rangers, getting them back to what they do best and bringing with it end-to-end action. Some fantastic defensive tackles from Atkinson, Threlfall and Luke twinned with some potent attacking play created a host of chances on the East End goal.
Rangers eventually got the reward their endeavour deserved. A corner from the right was floated to the near post by Ben Lawton where it was met by Joseph Cormack’s thumping header, taking a deflection off a defender as it whizzed into the net (3-1).
A great start to the new season for Rangers.