After last weeks nail-biting league victory the rangers ESFL team now faced three consecutive cup games. First up was a home Eastbourne FA Junior Cup tie against rivals Herstmonceux; but having been allocated a poor pitch at the sorts park, Herstmonceux kindly agreed to host the game on the bigger, better maintained, Lime Cross surface which would surely suit rangers a bit better. Rangers had already beaten Herstmonceux 5-0 in a league game at the end of September, but a similar result was not expected this time round.
Rangers were missing two players that started against Crowhurst seven days previous, Ben Jesson and Luke Barber. But rangers welcomed back Steve Reeves to the squad and also acquired the services of Aaron Saunders from the rangers MSFL team. Rangers we're also missing manager Marc McKay so he enlisted the help of brothers Dan and Lee Chapman to take the lead on matchday with the assistance of coach Dale Hendy.
Rangers got off to a quite appalling start finding themselves two goals down in the opening ten minutes. The first, Bennett-Tomlin was adjudged to have brought down a ceux winger in the area which the Herstmonceux top scorer duly converted. Moments later, a slip from Filsell allowed another ceux player through on goal who gleefully doubled the hosts lead, 0-2 and rangers hadn't even started yet.
With two goals in the bank, Herstmonceux decided to protect what they had which offered rangers more of the ball. The pace on both Herstmonceux wings were causing the red and blacks problems but ten minutes before half time it was a rangers winger that got rangers back into the game. Wilkes found Wheeler with a neat through ball with the rangers man making no mistake with a sliding finish to give rangers some hope, 1-2. With the linesman's flag raised, no doubt indicating Wheeler was offside, the referee correctly overruled the decision and allowed the goal to stand. The linesman was then was then asked to relinquish the flag which saw the Herstmonceux chairman forced into action as the referees assistant.
Half time and rangers were relieved to come in only a goal down after a quite horrific start. After some words from the management team rangers knew they still had plenty to do. Reeves replaced Dan Chapman while Baker-Beall replaced goal scorer Wheeler. With the competition rules stating rolling subs were permitted, this was to be a feature of the second half for one team more than the other,,,,,
Rangers started off the better of the two teams in the second half and looked more in control of the game at this point. In the opening exchanges of the half, Baker-Beall was brought down in the ceux area, and with the referee pointing to the spot, rangers were given a massive chance to draw the scores level. Up stepped last weeks penalty hero and top scorer Jamie Strong but the rangers man put the ball dreadfully wide of the post. Rangers were still a goal behind. Wilkes then had a glorious opportunity to equalise when faced with what appeared to be an open goal but his shot found the woodwork - it really didn't look like it would be rangers day.
This saw Lee Chapman enter the field in place of Saunders which saw Derese move from central midfield to left back. Wheeler also replaced Hardie on the hour- rangers needed to make an impact, and soon. Rangers continued to probe but the ceux defence stood firm and with the help of some questionable finishing, they almost saw the game through. Herstmonceux were now regularly making substitutes, no doubt to eat up time, and time was indeed running out for the red and blacks. In the fourth minute of added on time, the ball fell to Wheeler who had a site of the ceux goal. His left foot shot eluded everybody and trickled into the corner which sparked avid celebrations from the former ceux man, celebrations which saw him remove his shirt and get a yellow card for his troubles. 2-2 and extra time.....
Honours even over 90 minutes with rangers showing they can bounce back from being behind. With the red and blacks growing stronger as the game went on, and with ceux have the stuffing knocked out of them by conceding the latest of goals, rangers sensed the game was theirs for the taking.
A goalless first half of extra time frustrated both teams especially rangers who applied plenty of pressure on the ceux goal. On 110 minutes rangers took the lead for the first time in the contest. A deep freekick from Dan Chapman found the towering Derese in the box who powered home a header for his second goal in as many games. But more importantly, rangers now led 3-2 with just ten minutes left on the clock.
This inevitably saw the hosts change to a back three who had to push for an equaliser. This left them susceptible at the back with the amount of pace rangers have in their armoury. With two minutes of extra time left rangers killed the game off. A through ball from Green found the feet of a ceux defender who fed the ball back towards his own keeper. Wheeler chased the ball down and intercepted, rounding the keeper to slot the ball into the net for his hatrick. 4-2 rangers....! Game over.
Rangers saw the remaining few minutes out and secured a tie with last years runners up, Little Chelsea who rangers convincingly defeated in the final of this competition last season. Rangers man of the match was hatrick hero Wheeler who without a doubt enjoyed returning to his old club in a rangers shirt. He of course returned last year too as a Windsor FC player.
Next week sees rangers face Sandhurst of division one in the league cup which will no doubt be a very tough game. Giving them a two goal start is simply not an option.
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...