Rangers ESFL team travelled to Pebsham Sibex and welcomed back four of the five players that were unavailable in the loss to Crowhurst two weeks previous. Skipper Dave Bennett-Tomlin, Matt Wheeler, Dan Wilkes and Ben Jesson all returned to the starting XI with only Luke Barber unavailable due to illness. Rangers went into the game knowing that a victory would see them gain promotion and this would also put them on the cusp of securing the division two title.Rangers were pleased to see a nice, wide pitch on arrival which would no doubt suit their style of play, this despite the pitch being extremely bobbly.
From the kick off it was clear to see how the home side would play. Two banks of five when rangers were in possession while a long ball over the top of the rangers back four was there best outlet when they had regained possession. Rangers eventually broke the deadlock on 16 minutes when Connor Sullivan received the ball from a square pass just inside the Pebsham box, with Sullivan dropping his shoulder and then dispatching an excellent finish via the post and into the back of the net. Rangers soon doubled their lead when Ben Jesson had applied a simple finish inside the box while top scorer Jamie Strong scored his 29th league goal of the season moments later.
On the half hour, Sullivan double his tally for the afternoon with another controlled finish from distance, while just before the interval, Matt Wheeler lobbed the keeper with a clever finish after Bennett-Tomlin found the rangers winger in space.
Pebsham's main threat continued to be the long ball, but excellent sweeping from keeper Martin Bell and tidy defending from the back four of Steve Green, Aaron Filsell, Dan Chapman and Bennett-Tomlin kept Pebsham at bay. At half time, despite only half the job being complete, rangers knew that only a major miracle from Pebsham would prevent rangers from being promoted. This was an excellent first half with the neat rangers flow having returned after a few weeks of being absent.
The second half saw the home side go into damage limitation mode meaning they were keen to avoid a repeat of the reverse fixture which saw rangers cruise to an 11-0 victory. Rangers found it initially hard to add to their tally, but once substitute Sean Hardie headed home from a Strong corner, the Pebsham resilience looked to waiver. The biggest cheer (that of relief) of the game came when Bennett-Tomlin poked home a loose ball from a rangers corner, queue wild celebrations for the big mans first goal in three years, and this put rangers 7-0 to the good. Strong then rounded off proceedings with league goal number 30, converting a spot kick that he had earned himself after a rash challenge from a Pebsham defender when Strong was bearing down on goal. Final score 8-0 and this did not flatter rangers.
Next week rangers travel to The JC Tackleway knowing full well that a draw will see them crowned champions. And with the league cup final two days later, it could well be a bumper weekend for those in red and black.
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...