After a week off due to the weather, rangers got back into action this weekend with Langney Wanderers Reserves the visitors to the sports park in the Eastbourne FA Junior Cup. Rangers had two notable absentees unavailable for selection in the form of Connor Sullivan and new signing Sean Hardie while Glen Noble was only fit enough for a place amongst the substitutes leaving the rangers management team short of striking options. This meant Jules Waters rolled back the years to partner Ben Jesson up front in a new look partnership for this season while Chris Ward and Josh Kyte were given starters orders on the right and left wing respectively. Chapman brothers Dan and Lee were given the nod in central midfield while Rob Anderson and Ricky Curran were given the green light and right and left back. The management team opted to select skipper and vice skipper Dave Bennett-Tomlin and Dan Harmer at the heart of the rangers defence. This saw the unfortunate Mike Pickard drop to the bench with Mark Hymans and Tom Tribe also joining the half fit Noble.
At the request of Wanderers, rangers joined their opponents in a minutes silence for the late Ricky Deb; a minutes silence which was superbly respected by all.
From the kick off it was clear to see that Wanderers would play the pressing game when not in possession of the ball; and playing on a narrow pitch certainly helped them in their cause. Rangers struggled to get their passing game going with Wanderers game plan bearing fruit, however rangers main threat was to be that of Kyte on the left wing who had the beating of his man whenever he had time to run with the ball. On 19 minutes, Kyte outstripped his full back, delivering a fine cross in the process. Ward showed great desire to make it into the Wanderers box from the opposite flank but saw his header flash over the bar from nine yards out. Moments later Kyte found himself through all goal and despite squeezing his effort underneath the keeper, a covering defender cleared the ball as it approached the Wanderers net.
At the other end, Harmer and Bennett-Tomlin were accomplished in all they did at the back and despite having to deal with the out and out pace of the Wanderers number 10, the rangers duo, in general saw off the danger with some timely interceptions and dogged defending. The Chapman brothers, despite being outnumbered in centre midfield, were also winning their fair share of the ball with Lee looking particularly threatening with the ball at his feet which usually ended up with the rangers man being mauled to the floor.
The more the game went on, the more the challenges appeared to worsen with rangers on the receiving end more often than not. A Wanderers man found himself in the book for a poor challenge on half way and moments later Jesson also earned a yellow card for an innocuous challenge next to the corner flag, with the referee talked into booking the latter by the opposing players. With half hour on the clock, Ward had a golden opportunity to fire rangers into a deserved lead after the away side only half cleared the ball into the path of the rangers man 7 yards out. Unfortunately for rangers, Ward hurried his effort which dragged wide of the post.
Wanderers had a few breaks of their own but nothing that tested Bell in the rangers goal with the back four looking reasonably solid throughout. A few minutes before the interval, Jesson found himself through on goal with the Wanderers keeper making a fine double save to keep the game deadlocked at the break.
During half time, the management team reminded their players to keep their discipline and explained that they felt Wanderers could not keep their high tempo pressing game up for the duration of the game. With a few other minor things addressed, rangers were ready for the next forty five minutes.
Jesson was clearly marked down as the rangers danger man with the Wanderers players doing their best to limit his time on the ball. That being said, the movement of Jesson did cause problems for the Wanderers back line which often allowed Ward, and in particular Kyte the opportunity to exploit space on the wings. Jesson himself had the next chance of the game, jinking into the box, leaving his man in the mud in the process. However his left footed effort was flashed wildly over the bar.
Wanderers continued to look most threatening on the break with their number 10 a constant danger, however a combination of poor decision making from the Wanderers man and dogged rangers defending usually saw rangers come out on top. Midway through the second half, a Jesson corner was helped into the net by the hand of Lee Chapman. The referee awarded the goal but then consulted with his linesman. Despite the linesman informing the referee of the infringement, the man in the middle was going to let the goal stand until Chapman himself informed the man in black that he had handled the ball. After a five minute delay, the correction decision was reached, no goal.
Rangers began to show in patches the style of football they are becoming known for, but again the Wanderers pressing was usually good enough to thwart rangers building up any significant passing attacks. Rangers then made their first change of the game with Hymans replacing Waters. This saw the rangers substitute slot in at right back with Anderson moving into central midfield along side Dan Chapman with his brother Lee tasked to partner Jesson up front. This change almost paid dividends - for Wanderers! The Wanderers danger man peeled off in the direction of Hymans, who clearly hadn't got up to speed within a minute of being on the pitch. A slide through ball saw Hymans outpaced with the Wanderers number 10 bearing down on goal but thankfullyBell came quickly off his line to deal with the danger for his teammate. With two minutes left on the clock, Bell had to be at his best again when a Wanderers counter attack caught rangers on the back foot. That man again, the Wanderers number 10, was through again only for Bell to make an excellent save.
After forty five second half minutes, the full time whistle blew - the referee had clearly not added on the time needed to sort out Lee Chapman's disallowed goal....
Extra time- and rangers still felt they were in the driving seat. A few opposing players had already been treated for cramp and it was clear to see that most were running out of steam which wasn't surprising. No further changes for rangers were made.
The first half of extra time saw very few, if any chances for either side. The game continued to become more ill disciplined for the Wanderers players with emotions clearly running high. However, a two footed lunge by the Wanderers centre half made on Anderson was just pure ugly. This was a two footed challenge around the knees of the rangers man which unbelievably the referee gave a freekick for with everyone else left mystified as to why no further action was taken. But would Anderson have the last laugh.....
During the half time interval, rangers made their second change of the match. Noble had convinced those that mattered that he was fit enough to play a part which saw Dan Chapman make way for the rangers talisman. This saw Lee Chapman join Anderson in centre midfield with Noble linking with Jesson up front. This gave the Wanderers back line more to worry about with two seasoned strikers to deal with for the first time in the game.
The pinnacle moment of the game came five minutes into the second half of extra time. A rangers break saw Jesson break his shackles down the right and with the keeper to beat looked to have scored with a delightful dink which hit the foot of the post. With the Wanderers defence left flat footed, "engine room" Anderson got himself into the six yard box to tuck away the rebound to give rangers the lead. 1-0.
This, on balance of chances created, was no more than the red and blacks had deserved. With seven minutes left on the clock, Pickard came on for Ward who had put in a great shift down the rangers right. This saw Jesson move to the right wing while Pickard was tasked with sitting in front oft he back four to win everything in the air, with Noble now a lone front man. Wanderers now had nothing to lose which inevitably saw their keeper come up for a free kick into the rangers box which the triple champions managed to clear. With the game now stretched, rangers looked like they may have chances to increase their lead with the pace of Jesson, Noble and Kyte the now more familiar sight on the rangers break. Despite a few mild skirmishes on the edge of the rangers box, rangers held out for a good victory over their division one opponents.
With some solid displays throughout the team, MOM was a tough choice. Anderson and Kyte were superb as were the Chapman's in midfield. However, the skipper Dave Bennett-Tomlin edged out Dan Harmer for the award, both having superb games at the heart of the rangers defence.
This win has seen rangers secure a quarter final tie against neighbours Eastbourne Athletic who themselves had a bye into the quarter final stage. Rangers record against Athletic is somewhat poor, but rangers will be looking to put this record to bed as they focus on reaching a cup final for the second season running.
Next week rangers make the gruelling trek to The JC Tackleway, not a trip welcomed by many, if any.
Member since: 25th July 2013
Eastbourne Rangers were formed in May 2009 and after a seasons worth of consolidation, we haven't looked back since. Four league consecutive titles in five years (which have seen the club promoted SIX...