The rangers ESFL team will have to wait another week to secure the league title after a bitterly disappointing defeat to JC Tackelway in poor conditions at Barley Lane. Rangers were without two of their regular back four in Aaron Filsell and Luke Barber which saw Aaron Saunders kindly fill in at left back for the game.
Rangers were quick out of the blocks and pummelled the Tackleway defence for the opening ten minutes with chances going begging, the most notable of which saw Ben Jesson cut inside from the left hand side and fire over the bar from six yards out.
In Tackleways first attack, they earned a corner, and from this set play their top scorer had a free header inside the rangers box with the ball evading the rangers man on the line to give Tackleway the lead against the run of play. Ten minutes later rangers were really up against it when the Tackleway number 10 scored his second of the game with a neat finish from the angle after a powerful run. Rangers were then forced to make their first substitution as Dan Wilkes received the imprint of a Tackelway boot high up on his calf which saw Matt Wheeler come on in his place.
Rangers hit back before half time when Saunders found Jamie Strong thirty yards from goal with the rangers man firing expertly into the comer along the floor. Moments before the interval, a potential turning point went the way of the home side. Wheeler raced through on to a ball into the penalty area and tapped the ball around the onrushing keeper. The keeper clattered into Wheeler denying a clear goal scoring opportunity only for the referee to dismiss Wheelers claims of a penalty, to the complete frustration of the red and blacks who were now well on top in the game.
At half time rangers knew they were still with a chance of getting what they needed and had already had the better of possession and territory in the opening 45 minutes.
The second half saw rangers completely dominate the home side who's resolute defending should be commended, however the tight, narrow pitch made it easy for them to set up with two banks of four for the entire half, with their only outlet a long ball to their number 10. Tackelway continued to be over physical and this saw Tony Derese replaced by Lee Chapman, Derese another victim of a foot print high up on his leg - again with no protection from the referee.
For the whole forty-five minutes rangers carved out openings with Strong and Jesson having chances to get rangers that all importance second goal. Tackelway rode their luck at the back in the last 15 minutes, especially when their keeper made a top class "Seaman-Style" safe from a Strong header at the death, clawing the ball away from the goal line from behind him. A sharp chance also fell to Jesson after some ping pong in the Tackelway box, only for the ball to fire at his standing foot with the ball going narrowly wide. Several shots were blocked by the home defenders throughout the half, again made easier by the conditions and the narrow, poor pitch.
Rangers huffed and puffed but could not find another goal. In fairness to Tackelway, they played to the conditions better than rangers while a combination of gifting Tackelway a two goal lead and that of poor rangers finishing compounded the red and blacks to their second league defeat in three games.
This leaves rangers now needing a win at Wittersham next week to secure the league title while a draw will set Tackleway a challenge of winning all of their remaining games as well as making up a goal difference of +35 in their final six fixtures, five of these games come against teams in the top six.
Rangers immediate attention turns to the league cup final where second placed Old Hastonians stand between rangers and their fifth trophy in five years. This is a 7.30pm kick off at The Polegrove (Bexhill Unifed) and the club have a hired a coach which will leave Eastbourne at 5.30pm on Monday 30th March for all players, supporters and sponsors.
Contact the club for details.
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...