After last week’s 10-0 friendly win, rangers were keen to get back into competitive action and welcomed Ticehurst to the sports park 3g. Rangers elected to rotate the squad – a luxury which had escaped them all season and this saw a formidable bench featuring Mark Warren, Tony Derese and Carl Kenward. Martin Bell’s defensive unit was made up off Greg Manton and Lee Chapman at the heart of the rangers defence while Steve Green returned to the starting XI after a long injury lay off with Brad Meredith also starting his first game since the beginning of December. Skipper Ben Jesson was paired with Sean Hardie in the rangers engine room while the ever present Matt Wheeler started on the right wing with the ever improving Dylan Nanuck giving the nod on the left. The in-form Dan Wilkes was partnered by Connor Sullivan up front.
Rangers started brightly and saw many crosses go whistling across the Ticehurst box without reward in the opening exchanges. There was an air of inevitability about when rangers would take the lead and they did so on 19 minutes when Greg Manton stabbed home from close range after Ticehurst failed to clear a corner – this Manton’s first goal for the club.
Ticehurst were showing a degree of resilience throughout their play but Bell in the rangers goal was a spectator for most of the half. Rangers doubled their lead on 34 minutes after Wilkes somehow managed to head in from a Sean Hardie corner which gave rangers a two goal cushion at the interval. At half time the talk was about how important the next goal would be with regards to the shaping of the rest of the game.
The next all important goal went to rangers though and this all but killed of any hopes the away side had. Meredith picked up the ball on the left hand side and went on a surging run though the Ticehurst midfield. Meredith found Wilkes, who took on the Ticehurst defence, before returning the ball to Meredith who poked home from close range (his first goal for the club) to give rangers a three goal cushion.
The Ticehurst heads had visibly dropped and their misery was compounded 7 minutes later when Wilkes added his second of the game. Manton picked up the ball in his own half and made a piercing run through the Ticehurst midfield. His pass found Wilkes who took on two defenders in the box and coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net for 4-0. This saw a triple substitution for rangers with Warren, Kenward and Derese replacing Sullivan, Meredith and Hardie.
On 66 minutes, Wilkes completed his hatrick with a well worked team goal. Green and Wheeler played a one-two down the rangers right which saw the former burst into the box. Green cut the ball back to Wilkes who had the simplest of tap-ins to complete his second hatrick in as many league games. 5-0 rangers.
Rangers sixth game from the penalty spot after Wheeler was cruelly taken out inside the box. For some reason, up stepped Green who fired the ball to the keepers right, but due to player encroachment Green was asked to take the spot kick again. This team he elected to go to the keepers left which saw him claim his first goal of the season.
There was still time for rangers to add a seventh goal. Warren played in Wheeler down the right and he squared the ball to Wilkes who tucked away his fourth goal of the afternoon for 7-0. And there was still time for more drama when Warren was bundled over in the area. Warren was charged with taking the spot kick but he put the ball wide of the post in what turned out to be the last kick of the game.
All in all, a solid performance from rangers who have now scored 21 goals in their last four league games, conceding just two. There were many excellent performances throughout the entire squad but the Seaside Café MOM was awarded to Dan Wilkes. Next up for rangers is a mouth-watering top of the table clash against league leaders Sidley United. Rangers will be looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat in the reveres fixture at the start of the season, this time on home soil – the sports park 3G.
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...