Langney Wanderers Reserves 1-1 Eastbourne Rangers
12th August 2013
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Eastbourne Rangers made the short trip to Shinewater Lane to face Langney Wanderers Reserves in their fourth preseason friendly of the season. With no fewer than 7 rangers players missing, rangers new this would be a tough test particularly as the rangers management team were well aware that Wanderers may strengthen their reserves with their elite county league division 3 players. Rangers were not to be disappointed.....

The rangers players were instructed to keep the ball, keep it moving and dominate possession of the ball. Closing down the opposition as a unit was to be key on a very good playing surface.
 
During the first 10 minutes, both teams played a little cat and mouse by taking time to assess each other, retaining the ball where possible. Rangers looked more confident in possession and on the whole looked more threatening and more likely to unlock the door. With Dan Chapman and his brother Lee playing some tidy stuff in the middle of the park and the rangers back four comfortably playing out most of the time from the back with some quick balls coming from keeper Martin Bell, rangers slowly began to dictate the game. Mike Pickard and Tom Tribe looked solid at centre half while Mark Hymans and Ricky Curran were rarely troubled down the flanks with the former often offering something going forward too. Luke Davies was always on hand to offer a link between the rangers midfield and his strike partner Ben Jesson while Conor Middleton and Stuart Potter offered work rate and enterprise down the rangers wings.
 
It was talisman Jesson who broke the deadlock midway through first half proceedings with a quite sumptuous effort. A quick rangers break saw the ball find its way to Jesson 25 yards out. With Potter in acres of space on the right, it seemed only a matter of time before he would be put through by last seasons top scorer. However, a drop of the shoulder from Jesson saw him create space for himself 20 yards out with the little maestro unleashing pinpoint effort into the Wanderers top right corner. Magical stuff. 1-0 rangers.
 
Wanderers looked to respond promptly and although they showed good possession amongst their back four, often their out ball was a searching ball towards their pacey number 9 who was cleverly marshalled by Tribe and Pickard. Rangers could have doubled their lead 10 minutes before the break when a 20 yard Potter effort rattled the Wanderers bar with the keeper stranded. Moments later, skipper Lee Chapman was brought down just outside the area, with some calling for a penalty. Best go with the referee on this one! :-)
 
Half time arrived with rangers clearly the happier with both score line and performance. Ryan Webb replaced Curran at right back while Connor Sullivan, after coming through a fitness test, replaced Luke Davies while the rangers management team heaped praise on the the triple champions first half efforts , but still asked for more in terms of being switched on when pressing as a unit. Wanderers mate a notable substitution of their own with the introduction of the powerful Shane Saunders.
 
Rangers continued to look tidy in possession in the main despite some improved closing down from the home side in the second half. With the added pace and endeavour of Sullivan up top, the Wanderers centre backs now had a completely different problem to face. Wanderers found themselves level 22 minutes into the second half after a quick throw from inside the Wanderers half caught rangers napping which allowed another searching Wanderers ball which this time pierced through Pickard and Tribe. This saw the Wanderers half time substitute power through and beat a helpless Bell in the rangers goal. 1-1 and game on. 
 
Tiredness and injury saw Davies replace Lee Chapman while moments later Curran replaced Hymans at full back. Middleton moved to centre midfield which  saw Jesson move to left wing to allow Davies to partner Sullivan up front. Wanderers main threat continued to be their pacey number 9 with balls over the top now beginning to test the tiring rangers back four. Some superb covering tackles from Tribe and Hymans did just enough to see him off at key stages of the half. Jesson was whiskers away from doubling his tally when a Dan Chapman cross field pass saw confusion in the Wanderers 18 yard box with the keeper just doing enough to deter Jesson from heading the ball goal bound. At the other end, Saunders was a major threat from corners coming into the rangers box which saw him come close with two headers both of which whistled past Bell's goal.
 
Sullivan looked a threat for rangers up front and was fouled numerous times winning free kicks for rangers in dangerous places which were generally wasted which was disappointing. With 10 minutes to go, Sullivan was put through on goal with a slide pass between both centre backs. Sullivan raced away and having composed himself should have done better when his effort cannoned off the corner of the crossbar.
 
Despite the whole team putting a shift in, rangers continued to play the game in the right way. Passes were now more frequently going astray which was inevitable with the possession they were having combined with general tiredness. With 2 minutes to go Sullivan had another chance to secure the win, again racing thorough. This time a combination of a recovering defender and keeper did just enough to prevent the youngster from opening his match day account.
 
The full time whistle soon followed with rangers happy with both performance and result. Many teams will go to Shinewater Lane this year and buckle under the pressure. Rangers kept their nerve, discipline and did themselves proud, each and every one of them. Rangers maybe should have won the game with the home keeper being the busier of the two men between the sticks. That being said the result is merely secondary as rangers gelled more as a unit and banked some more all important match fitness. 
 
Next week sees rangers travel to ESFL premier side Hooe Sports which is bound to be another stern test for different reasons.
 
See you all there.
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Eastbourne Rangers FC

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...

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