Mon, Apr 22, 2024 11:48 AM

Rangers battle to find winner


Peter Jones

A match they were heavily favoured to win turned into a real arm-wrestle for Rangers AFC at A&P Park on Saturday.

Eventually they managed a 2-1 victory over a gutsy Richmond side, although it took until the last 10 minutes for the home side to get their nose in front.

They were rocked by an early goal, Richmond finding the back of Rangers’ net in the fourth minute. An attack on the right exposed the home side’s defence, James Ward sliding the ball across the face of goal, leaving Luc Sherwood scrambling as it rolled into the far corner.

From there on chances were few and far between for the visitors, while Rangers eventually took control of the midfield through Bjorn Waechter, Sam Hickmott, Tore Waechter and Jono Masters. Plenty of chances were created, some missing the target, others denied by a brave Richmond defence led by central defender Zac Muir and keeper Daniel Dowding.

Frustration at dominating possession and field position was evident in the Rangers’ ranks, especially when they went to the halftime break still trailing by the early goal.

However, 10 minutes into the second spell they had their equaliser, pacy front-runner Keagan Mortimer picking his spot and lashing the ball into the top right-hand corner of the net from the edge of the box.

Midfielder Bjorn Waechter cuts in towards goal.

From there the game settled into a familiar pattern, Rangers building nicely from the back but being unable to create space for clear-cut chances in the crowded penalty area.

A succession of corners eventuated, Rangers eventually being rewarded in the 80th minute, if somewhat fortuitously. Hickmott’s goal bound header struck the Richmond keeper, the ball rebounding onto a Richmond defender and back into the net.

However, the slice of luck was no more than Rangers’ deserved, given their dominance, and they comfortably held on until the final whistle to claim maximum points from a match that threatened to be a banana-skin under their Nelson division one hopes.

There was no shortage of endeavour from the home side, replacements Jack Morris and Kane Elvy adding energy and pace when entering the fray in the second half. Jordy Columbus was composed at the back, while the Waechter brothers and Hickmott battled for every scrap of possession in the centre of the park.

Rangers’ next two games are away, to Golden Bay and then Motueka.

Meanwhile, Central Buccaneers scored their second consecutive win in the Marlborough division one men’s competition on Saturday, beating Trojans 2-1.

Central’s Thom Hall scored the only first half goal, then Tom Morley added a second soon after the break to give Buccaneers a buffer. Steve McGinnitty’s goal in the 69th minute gave Trojans hope but Central hung on to establish a lead at the top of the table.

In the other clash, Rangers Reserves ran away from Central Wolves, prevailing 8-0 with Kane Elvy scoring a hat-trick.

In division two, goals were plentiful. Picton Crow Tavern downed Central Privateers 6-3, BV Masters beat Trojans Strikers 6-1, Rangers Masters overcame Trojans Spartans 7-2 while Rangers City, with Craig Forman netting a hat-trick, got the better of Trojans Red 7-0.

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