Rangers faced division one opponents Sandhurst this week in the Wisden Sports Challenge cup at the sports park. Rangers were expecting a very tough game against a team one league higher and made two changes to the starting XI that faced Herstmonceux seven days previous. Luke Barber came in at left back for Aaron Saunders while Jamie Baker-Beall made his first start in a rangers shirt replacing the injured Dan Wilkes. Ben Jesson returned from holiday and joined. Harry Rimmer on the rangers bench.
Rangers started sharply and looked to take the game to their opponents by controlling the ball and the game early on. Rangers moved the ball well in possession and worked hard to win the ball back when it was necessary. Rangers took the lead on 15 minutes when Sean Hardie controlled the ball on the edge of the Sandhurst box and fired in a rasping volley past the keeper who very nearly kept the ball out. 1-0 rangers.
Sandhurst made their first substitution shortly after with their centre half picking up an injury but this did not distract the red and blacks who doubled their lead on 21 minutes when Jamie Strong (pictured) made his way into the area and fired into the corner to notch up his first goal of the afternoon. Sandhurst looked to react and almost pulled a goal back on the half hour but rangers scrambled the ball away after a corner had posed some problems.
Seven minutes before half time, Baker-Beall stormed into the away sides area and was cruelly chopped to the floor. The referee immediately pointed to the spot and Strong coolly converted to give rangers a three goal lead. The tie was all but over two minutes before half time when Dan Chapman found the run of Matt Wheeler in the penalty area, with Wheeler making no mistake with the finish. 4-0 and half time.
A superb first half rom the red and blacks but they were reminded to keep their discipline and focus as the only way the game could now be lost would be if rangers threw the game away.
Sandhurst approached the second half with some purpose for the first seven minutes, but a sweeping rangers move knocked the stuffing out of the team from Kent. Intricate, quick, pass and move football in the rangers midfield eventually saw the ball find Wheeler on the rangers right wing. The rangers man made his way to the touch line and delivered a pinpoint cross which found the head of opposite winger Sean Hardie who powered home his header past the helpless keeper. 5-0 - a breathtaking goal. This saw Baker-Beall make way for Jesson who then proceeded to run the Sandhurst back line ragged - just what they needed. :-)
The game then went through a period of consolidation until Steve Green burst into life on 71 minutes. The rangers full back picked the ball up on halfway and powered through several Sandhurst challenges. After beating the away sides back line it looked as though a cross would follow but Green fired home across the keeper from a tight angle to secure his first goal of the season. 6-0.
This saw another two goals come rangers way in the next six minutes, the first being what is quick becoming a "classic" rangers goal. The move started with the rangers back four just inside their own half. Several passes followed which saw the midfield involved, and after a great run from Jesson, he was found inside the Sandhurst box. A neat, one touch lay off found the run of Wheeler who's pace took him through one on one with the keeper with the rangers man finishing clinically for the second time of the afternoon. 7-0 rangers.
On 77 minutes, Jesson got in on the act. Another excellent run from Jesson saw Barber fire the ball into Jesson just inside the 18 yard box. With just one touch, Jesson turned and eluded the attention of the Sandhurst defender which sent the rangers man through on goal - and he made no mistake with the finish. 8-0.
Three minutes from time, Strong completed his hatrick which capped off a great day for rangers with Sandhurst condemned to a long trip home licking their wounds.
This was a great rangers performance which saw them simply blow their opponents away in the first half with clinical finishing and superb football. Martin Bell in the rangers goal was superb - despite not having much to do in the way of shot stopping, he swept up superbly for the whiole ninety minutes - something which has been improved on since last season. The whole team was superb also, but Tony Derese was given MOM after another busy performance in the rangers midfield - won everything in the air and on the ground and helped midfield partner Dan Chapman keep things ticking over in the middle of the park.
A result like this may make other teams sit up and take notice, if they're not already. Ranges will now have to be aware that all future opponents will be looking to make themselves harder to beat which will be a great challenge to the clubs footballing ethos as well as a challenge to each individual player.
Next week rangers look to progress further in the next round of the Sussex FA Junior Cup when they welcome Mid Sussex division one outfit Framfield and Blackboys United I to the sports park. 1.30pm kick off, see you all there.
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...