An alternative match report written by Chris Ward. Top work, and thank-you.....
Looking to build on their two game winning streak, Eastbourne Rangers welcomed league leaders Little Chelsea to the particularly well-groomed Eastbourne Sports Park Stadium. The last meeting between the two sides saw a tense match up in the quarter finals of last seasons Eastbourne Vice Presidents Cup which ended with Little Chelsea leaving 2-0 victors.
Rangers were without the towering leadership and inspiration of the ever-joyful club captain Dave Bennett-Tomlin, who was doing his best to maintain a lucrative partnership with club sponsors Eastbourne Physiotherapy and Sports clinic. Shockingly, Mark Hymans joined his captain on the list of injured with goal scoring saviour Jamie Strong missing in action. Agile keeper Martin Bell returned for Rangers between the sticks with Ricky Curran at right back. With the opposition’s height upfront in mind, the management opted for the twin towers of Mike Pickard and Dan Chapman (the good Chapman) at centre back. The only change in the back four that finished last weeks annihilating display away at Catsfield was the addition of Robert Anderson at left back, who was back after a two-week holiday to his homelands of Turkey. After their dominating display against Catsfield, the management reunited the victorious centre midfield partnership of Lee (the other Chapman) Chapman and the ever leaping and prancing silver fox Dan Harmer, lending his 40+ years of experience to the team. After studying their opponents league form and their tendency to concede goals, the management went for an attacking selection of forwards with Josh Kyte on the left and Connor Sullivan on the right of midfield. Leading the attack up top were last seasons success story of two-footed maestro Ben Jesson and single-footed maestro Glen Noble. This left the management with a strong bench of linesman: Julian Waters, Christian Ward and Tom Tribe.
Rangers, who were without bellowing coach and occasional shirt stretching sub Marc McKay, saw manager Nick Stevenson ask his team for a quick, pressing game and to rise to the challenge of facing such quality opposition. From kick off the game was quick and frantic which saw Little Chelsea piece together some quick passes and test the organisation of the Rangers back four. After five minutes following a cleared Little Chelsea corner, the ball was played towards the Rangers far post; silence fell upon the Sports Park Stadium with only the creaking of Dan Harmers joints to be heard. Despite adopting an excellent position to cover the far post, the Rangers captain fell victim to an awkward bounce of the ball between his feet and struggled to clear the ball from the line. Taking into consideration the referees obstructed view of the action, he selflessly blasted a toe poked ball in the net to avoid any confusion. Top sportsmanship. Rangers 0 - 1 Little Chelsea.
The game continued at the same pace for the next ten minutes with Rangers struggling to get the ball down and play their neat passing game due to the tenacity of the visiting side. After more quick movement from Little Chelsea and a moment’s lapse in concentration from the Rangers defence, the away sides’ number 10 and target man executed a brilliant cushioned flick with his back to goal on the edge of the Rangers six-yard box. His deft touch played in his on coming teammate who finished neatly from close range leaving Bell with little chance of reaching the ball. 2-0 to the visitors.
After 20mins of play Rangers realised that if they were to get something from the game, they had to take action. After rallying calls to one another throughout the team and the other Chapman calling for the ball to be played to feet, Rangers upped their game and took control of play. Credit has to be given to the team for the character shown against such quality opposition and at 2-0 down. All of the Rangers team stepped up a gear with more desire and composure with Bell leading by example with a string of good saves. The Rangers back four seemed more composed too with the good Chapman and Mike Prickhard showing quick feet under pressure and spreading the ball well to Ricky Currant and the Turk Rob Anderkstan, who was back to his quick and industrious self at left back. Neat and efficient play from the Rangers centre midfield pair bossed the game providing passes for both wingers to attack their opposing full backs. Neat attacking play down the Rangers left side involving with their international left back and the other Chapman saw left winger Jase Kyte through on goal only to be felled by his old foe, the Magham Down Mole, leaving his left leg swinging for the ball inside the Little Chelsea penalty area.
Rangers continued to dominate and on 35mins, some quick footwork from Ben Jessops saw him cut inside the penalty area leaving the flat-footed Little Chelsea right back only able to lunge out his left boot and trip the young striker, sending him tumbling professionally to the ground. With no doubt, the referee pointed straight to the spot. After wining it himself, Jenson stepped up and converted the penalty, rifling the ball into the top of the net. Rangers 1- 2 Little Chelsea, with the visiting players stating to each other that they deserved to concede the goal. Rangers continued to look threatening up until half time.
Shortly after the start of the second half and against the run of play, a crossed ball from the Little Chelsea right side saw its way through a penalty box full of bodies only for a man in Green to finally poke the ball in. A soft goal for Rangers to concede, from a ball that should have been dealt with. Rangers 1 – 3 Little Chelsea.
Again Rangers showed their character and picked themselves up. An attack down the left with Jon Kite, who was still bouncing from his pre match meal of crisps and sweets, saw the winger attempt to outwit both teams with another trademarked shot disguised as a cross. With the keeper beaten, the ball sailed inches over the bar. Ben Jewson continued to beat the Little Chelsea centre backs in the air, knocking the ball on to the sprightly, in form Noble. After 60mins, a good spell of play from Rangers ended with Ben Jennings playing in his fellow striker Noble with a perfectly weighted through ball. Using his pace, Noble surprised us all by choosing his favoured left foot to finish with deadly accuracy, low between the keepers legs from the edge of the 18yard box. Rangers 2 – 3 Little Chelsea.
After 67mins Little Chelsea were awarded an extremely soft penalty after some apparent shirt pulling on the outer edges of the Rangers penalty area. The away team capitalised from the spot with Rangers keeper Bell close to reaching the well-placed effort. Rangers 2 – 4 Little Chelsea.
With the game more stretched, both teams looked likely to score at any point with Little Chelsea now back to their best. The manager introduced two substitutes in quick succession with Ward replacing Connor O’Sullivan on the right and Gepetto Waters replacing Dan Harper in centre mid, handing the captains arm band to battle hardened other Chapman.
Little Chelsea scored again. Rangers 2 – 5 Little Chelsea.
With their third and final sub Rangers introduced Tom Tribe at right back, on for June Kyte. With Ricky Curry now at left back, this saw Ranger’s multi-national utility man McAnderson move up to left wing, the flying Scotsman collecting a yellow card on his travels. With tired legs showing and the game now more open to counter attacks, Rangers saw more quick passing on the break with Noble dropping deeper to string together passes from old man Walters, Ward and the other Chapman. The German born Anderstein found himself played through on goal on the left twice only to prove he’s on another level to us all by turning backwards to find Ben Jenkins. With Rangers threatening for the final few minutes of the game, a corner from Ben & Jerry’s found the other Chapman at the far end of the Little Chelsea box which he headed back into the danger zone, which could have seen a spectacular bicycle kick from old man other Glen. The Rangers winger managed to connect and loop the ball to towards the post with a final flapped save from the Little Chelsea keeper and a goalmouth scramble involving Anderstani, which proved to be the final kick of the game.
Losing 5 – 2 implies that Rangers were well beaten but in truth this was a much closer contest than the score line suggests with a Little Chelsea representative commenting that Rangers were the best side they've played this season. Rangers looked a real threat going forward and showed strong character to bounce back when going a goal behind. Special mentions to Robert Anderson who in this game alone (after his air kicks and air headers) managed to double his all time career stats for successfully connected headers and to Dan Harmer and Glen Noble who were both contenders for man of the match. Despite the crowd’s calls for the accolade to go to one of the game changing substitutes, MOTM was awarded to the good Chapman for his solid, consistent and composed game at centre back.
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...