The Eastbourne Rangers ESFL team booked their place into the quarter finals of the Premier Travel Cup with a comfortable 4-0 win against division one side, Wadhurst United.
With both sides severely depleted, credit must be given to the teams for putting on an entertaining game for the watching locals. Rangers were missing a host of squad members including Matt Haydock, Ben Courtnage, Lee Chapman, Brad Meredith and Kent Meier, therefore travelled with just one substitute in the form of Nuno Henriques.
This saw debuts for two Rangers players with seventeen year old Ollie Goodchild coming in at right back and the experienced Mark Haydock coming into the Rangers midfield. This also saw the versatile Tony Russell slot in to the number 10 role while Luke Davies, who played in goal for Rangers seven days previous, was given the more familiar number 9 shirt. The red and blacks welcomed back number one Andy Albon between the sticks which was the last of the personnel changes from the league game at Robertsbridge United.
Rangers won the toss and elected to kick up the famous Washwell Lane slope for the first half which saw the home team take the kick off. A static start from the visitors saw United carve through Rangers within just ten seconds, but the home number nine failed to test Albon from 16 yards out, he surely should have done better.
Rangers responded well and should have taken the lead on 6 minutes when the industrious Dylan Nanuck whipped in a ball from the right only for the towering Russell to head wide. Russell made amends just three minutes later after Jacob Adlam, who was deployed on the left wing, intercepted a Wadhurst pass before slotting Russell through who made no mistake from 18 yards.
United's best attacks actually came from Rangers corners with the downward slope adding more spring to the home sides step on the counter, but some last ditch Rangers defending kept the hosts at arms length. On 26 minutes Rangers doubled their lead. Nanuck found the impressive Davies who was tripped inside the penalty area, his quick feet too much for the home defender...penalty. Up stepped Russell, who was clearly confident after his opener, and he tucked the ball away to the keepers left despite the home number one getting a good hand on the ball.
A two nil lead at the break was probably par the the first half despite a disastrous opening 10 seconds for the red and blacks.
The second half saw United forced into a change due to injury and also saw Rangers have the advantage of the slope. However, it was the slope that held up a direct ball from the home defender which saw the home number 9 race away, Rangers caught on their heals. Clean through on goal, the Wadhurst man only had Albon to beat but Albon made a superb one on one stop to maintain Rangers crucial two goal advantage.
Just after the hour mark, Rangers added another goal which effectively killed off the game. Skipped Carl Kenward whipped in a pinpoint cross from the right hand side and Ben Barnett bundled the ball home to score his first ever Rangers goal, 3-0.
With 18 minutes left on the clock, Henriques replaced Russell with Adlam moving more central with Henriques positioned on the left wing. Ranger were playing attractive football from the back with Tony Derese and Rory Newby looking comfortable at centre half. It was Derese that scored the goal of the game with eleven minutes to go. Henriques took a quick corner and found Nanuck on the corner of the 18 yard box. Nanuck whipped a delicious ball into the box which found the head of Derese who guided the ball into the top corner of the Wadhurst net to seal a deserved Rangers victory.
The Old Dave's Burger Co. MOM was awarded to Luke Davies, superb hold up play and a tireless contribution to the team.
This victory sets up an intriguing quarter final with the in-form Battle Baptists. Baptists have lost just once this term and that was in a tight affair against Rangers in game week two of the season. This game will be scheduled in early 2017 and will take place at the sports park.
Pictured - Ben Barnett who scored his first goal for the club
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...