Youth Alliance Cup
Team: Deane, Monthe, Downes, Champion, Browne, Sendles-White, Sutherland, Simmonds, Gibbons, Henry-Francis, Adekunle
Subs: Comley, Webb, Hubble, Daly + 1 other
The Dagenham entourage brought along their own bench, something perhaps the Saturday Morning Crew should consider ? The match kicked off over 10 minutes late, but Rangers got off to a lively start and had the ball in the opponents net within a minute. Unfortunately the referee disallowed it because of a foul on the keeper. Then the ball was knocked across the face of the goal, the keeper left it, but a defender chose to play safe and knocked it out for a corner. Frankie Sutherland stepped up and placed the ball in the 6-yard area, but the referee halted proceedings when he harshly awarded a foul.
Marcel Henry-Francis fired in a good shot on the run which whizzed just past the post. It was then the turn of Sendles-White to get in on the act and we were surprised to see him so far forward. After a nice touch, he cut in from the edge of the box and blasted the ball which forced the keeper down to make the save. The R’s next serious attempt on goal came after Frankie Sutherland turned and laid the ball back for Bradley Simmonds and his shot brought out a superb finger-tip save from the keeper.
The visitors were awarded a free kick in the Rangers half and the referee took what seemed to be an eternity with his lecture. When it was eventually taken, he then provoked howls of disgust from the Saturday Morning Crew when he decided that it should be re-taken ? It all resulted in Gareth Deane going down to make a smart save.
A free kick in the Rangers half was knocked out wide to Jordan Gibbons on the right flank. He cut in, pulled the trigger and the keeper tipped the ball past the post. ‘Corner’ we thought, goal kick indicated the ref. The linesman didn’t look too impressed either ! Frankie Sutherland sent over another good corner into the box and Bradley Simmonds was on hand to head against the woodwork, but there was a clash of heads and one of the Dagenham defenders came off worse and the game was briefly halted. Half-time: 0-0
Steve Gallen made a change when he introduced James Daly at the expense of Tobi Adekunle. The R’s were still having the best of it and Marcel Henry-Francis accelerated into the penalty area which prompted the keeper to advance and ended up fouling him. The ball went out and the referee decided to award a throw-in !!! Despite the referee’s mistake, justice was done as the throw-in resulted in the R’s taking a well deserved lead. As the ball came in, the keeper palmed the ball not out to safety, but it dropped conveniently to a well positioned Marcel Henry-Francis who booted it into the back of the net from close range.
The R’s second goal was one of those that you wished was recorded for posterity and for a wider audience. It started with a superb block by Frankie Sutherland in the Rangers box. The ball found its way to Marcel Henry-Francis who took it to the edge of the Dagenham penalty area where he nicely laid it off to an overlapping Bradley Simmonds. He took it in his stride, looked up and buried it in the back of the net. Absolutely wonderful ! Marcel Henry-Francis was replaced by Callum Webb. Gibbons then laid on a clever ball for Webb to chase down in the box who then fed Simmonds. His powerful shot was superbly saved by the keeper.
Although Rangers had dominated the game, the visitors pulled one back with around 7 minutes remaining when the ball was knocked across the box. The Rangers defence didn’t deal with it and a Dagenham player was on hand to drive the loose ball low into the back of the net. The final minutes were played out and it finished 2-1.
Lastly, I must mention Frankie Sutherland’s wonderful 50 yard driven pass from midfield out to the right flank in the second half. Playing behind us, the U16’s thumped Tottenham 4-0, so well done to them too. The Saturday Morning Crew also included Alan Barnes, Rob Bennett, Roger Stokes and Clive Kingham. It’s back to the league on Saturday when Colchester United visit Harlington.