Longhoughton Rangers U14...4 Blyth FC U14...4
Pin Point Recruitment U14, Division Two
RANGERS returned to league action with a home tie to Blyth Rangers following a brief foray in the cup away to Blyth FC that ended in a 5-1 defeat in a game with few highlights for the Longhoughton side other than a well-taken early Chris Gardner goal.
Sunday was an altogether different performance in difficult, blustery conditions that both teams coped well with to produce an exciting game of football.
Rangers got off to a flier with Jack Gibson stabbing home from six yards within the first five minutes after good work on the left from Chris Gardner and Ryan Pattinson.
Rangers worked hard to build on the early lead and Jordan Moore and Dan Brooks went close with long shots before Ryan Pattinson unleashed a 35-yard thunderbolt that just flew over the bar.
At the other end, Andy Francis made three successive fantastic one-on-one saves, showing great keeping skills and strong hands to narrow the angles and palm the shots away.
On 20 minutes, a typical Josh Briggs driving run into the box saw him brought down for a penalty. Ryan Pattinson stepped up to fire the ball low into the corner to increase the lead (2-0).
Blyth, who had looked threatening on the break, hit back just before half-time with a period of sustained pressure that eventually broke the defensive resistance of Kye Simpson, Brad Asprey, James Hume and Dan Brooks.
Simpson, in particular, was having a good game against Blyth’s star forward whom he had managed to keep fairly quiet for 30 minutes.
Blyth would have fancied their chances at half-time with the wind at their back for the second half but it was Rangers who scored first having been under some pressure in their own box.
The ball was quickly cleared by James Hume and then Luke Evans fed the ball to the wide left where Jordan Moore cut into the box and from a fairly acute angle forced the shot across the keeper into the corner of the goal (3-1).
Blyth hit back with a sharp break on the right and a good centre that was finished from close range (3-2).
Dan Brooks went on a run that almost ended in a contender for goal of the season with a mazy dribble on the left that had a number of players in his wake.
His shot across goal grazed the outside of the post as it drifted agonisingly wide.
Rangers increased the lead again with a great move involving Joe Beeby, Jordan Moore and Dan Brooks who fed the ball to Sam Eggleston on the left half of the pitch.
He hit a looping 25-yard shot into the far top corner of the net to end his recent goal drought (4-2).
With 10 minutes remaining, Blyth made the wind count with a long goal clearance through the middle finding their centre-forward who got free to score past the advancing Francis (4-3).
Blyth equalised from a corner almost on full-time and then had a free-kick on the edge of the box with seconds remaining but the wall bravely did its job and the danger was cleared for the game to end in a 4-4 draw that was a fair outcome to a well-contested game.
Man-of-the-match went to Andy Francis for a great display in goal.
Other mentions should also go to Sam Eggleston who was industrious and inventive in midfield, Jack Gibson who was effective on the wing and at full-back and Dan Brooks who had a solid game at left-back.
Longhoughton: A Francis, B Asprey, J Briggs, J Hume, D Brooks, J Moore, R Pattinson, C Gardner, S Eggleston, J Gibson, C Simpson, L Evans, J Beeby.