With 1st team manager Gary Barnett on a scouting mission in Dubai and no game for the 2nds this week, Nicky Timms was left to oversee the home league clash against Newent. The result may leave a few questionning the pecking order amongst the coaching staff......
Rangers went into the game buoyed by last weeks draw at Broadwell and also after some better performances since the 5-0 county cup defeat in Cheltenham. Sam Tyack and Martin Tombs returned to the starting line up, with Callum Peters, Ollie Curril, Jack Robson and Robbie Hands maintaining the place after solid performances the week before. Paul Whitehouse is still a week away from a start yet did feature as a substitute. The bench also included Liam Cantwell and Dave Groom, something that hasn't happened since their days as U8's.
On a slippery, yet playable, surface both teams looked to pass the ball and Rangers found themselves overplaying in the wrong areas early on and were seemingly one mistake away from conceding before a breakaway saw a Lee Brooks shot handled in the 6 yard box and the referee had no chance but to give a penalty. With 6 minutes gone, Mark Boydell had the perfect chance to give Rangers a perfect start. Unfortunately he was foiled by the keeper and there will now be a penalty shootout at training to determine the next taker. The early betting is with a Hands' brothers final.
Although the penalty was missed, Moreton did start to play some better football and created more and more opportunities. The breakthrough eventually came when a Rangers corner was half cleared to the edge of the box and Martin Tombs was perfectly placed to volley into the top corner from 18 yards. The strike was reminiscent of a young Paul Scholes!!
A goal up at half time was just what the home side deserved and the home fans were hoping that the game would be killed off early in the second half. They had to wait until after the hour mark to get their wish as Newent pressed for an equaliser and had t not been for the back line and Ollie Curril between the sticks they could have had 2 or 3. Again, however, a more defiant Moreton were able to withstand the pressure and play intelligent football to force errors from the visitors. One of these led to a free kick just outiside the area. Robbie Hands and Sam Tyack stood over the ball, Hands was elected to take and rightly so as he smashed the ball low and hard into the far corner to give Rangers a 2 goal cushion and all but guarantee 3 points.
The 'worldy' trend continued 5 minutes later as Lee Brooks seemingly dislocated his pelvis a couple of times to twist and turn his way into a shooting position and from here unleashed a left foot pile driver to the delight of the home crowd.
With the game as a contest over, Moreton were able to pass the ball and cruise over the line as Liam Cantwell, Paul Whitehouse and Dave Groom were introduced to the game.
A victory for Nicky, a clean sheet and 3 goals. With the chairman watching on from the stands, Gary Barnett may find his scouting mission is extended to another saturday. Watch this space!!