Youth Alliance Cup 2nd Round
Team: Deane, Walker, Downes, Champion, Browne, Sendles-White, Sutherland, Simmonds, Gibbons, Henry-Francis, Hubble
Last week the U18’s came back from 0-2 down to draw 2-2- at Stevenage with goals from Emmanuel Monthe and Bradley Simmonds. Rangers now entertained Wycombe Wanderers in the knock-out stage of the Youth Alliance Cup.
The R’s got off to a lively start when the ball was laid off to Marcel Henry-Francis following a good interception. He then unleashed the ball low which forced the keeper down to make the save. Rangers continued to knock the ball around and play it from the back. Good work by Jordan Walker forced a corner. There was then a pause in proceedings as Frankie Sutherland waited patiently to take it because a goalpost needed to be adjusted. This was later followed by another delay as the referee knelt down to tie up his laces.
It was the visitors who took the lead after a good ball found their No.9 in too much space. He looked up and smashed the ball into the corner of the net. The R’s then responded with a succession of chances. A free kick from a wide left position was floated into the box where Jordan Gibbons rose to meet it with a glancing header. Then Henry-Francis accelerated towards the bye-line, won the ball back again which he squared across the box and a lurking Jordan Gibbons skied the ball over the bar. Henry-Francis was involved again when he instigated the R’s next attack. He headed the ball on to Sutherland, who cut in only to be fouled. Frankie Sutherland took the free kick which ended up clearing the crossbar.
Although Rangers were still the dominant force, they could of easily gone two down after a Wycombe player received the ball in acres of space. His powerful shot was met by a flying save from Gareth Deane who tipped the ball superbly over the bar. The visitors were still looking to increase their lead and after a corner was knocked in, the ball looked like it had crept into the corner of the net, but Gareth Deane emerged from the melee clutching the ball. Wycombe again went close soon after when the ball was fired only just wide.
The R’s then went close when Frankie Sutherland’s excellent corner was headed just wide by Jamie Sendles-White. Rangers were now firmly back in the driving seat again and Henry-Francis fed the ball to Sutherland who chipped the keeper, but the ball dropped just wide. Frankie Sutherland launched himself at a great ball knocked over from the left wing, but he didn’t get enough on it and it ended up going wide.
Jordan Gibbons took off from the half-way line and as he reached the box he was cynically taken down from behind. We looked at the referee expectantly, but he decided to award a corner much to the consternation of the Saturday Morning Crew ! As half-time approached, Frankie Sutherland’s cross into the box was met by Jordan Gibbons who rose well above his marker, but the ball flashed just wide. The referee blew his whistle and we trudged off to our next vantage point.
Into the 2nd half and Conor Hubble drove the ball low, the keeper went down to make the save which resulted in another corner. It was quickly taken and a lovely ball in found two or three Rangers players lurking with intent. Jamie Sendles-White’s met it with a powerful header that hit the back of the net for a well deserved equaliser. Jordan Gibbons sped down the right wing and his ball into the box was turned just past the post by a Wycombe defender and out for yet another corner. There was some lovely play by Marcel Henry-Francis when he controlled the ball on his chest before turning and setting up Frankie Sutherland who blasted over the bar.
Within moments, Sutherland attempted another chip, but the keeper stretched up his arms and grabbed hold of the ball. Frankie Sutherland almost got the goal he deserved when a ball over from the right into the 6 yard box only just evaded his outstretched boot. He finally got his goal after being pushed from behind in the box. After taking a deep breath, he took five steps back and belted the ball into the back of the net to put the R’s 2-1 up. Rangers went further ahead when Marcel Henry-Francis drove the ball nicely into the corner.
The fourth goal quickly followed after a ball in from the right was scrambled over the line after mass confusion in front of goal. The ball had come off the crossbar before rebounding off a post and Ben Browne was on hand to finish it off. The 2nd half demolition continued when a Bradley Simmonds shot entered the net courtesy of a defender’s back. Steve Gallen took off Frankie Sutherland and introduced Callum Webb. Earlier James Daly had replaced Jordan Gibbons.
Freddy Champion wriggled his way through and laid off a superb ball to Jordan Walker. His shot hit the crossbar with the keeper stranded. Emmanuel Monthe was the final substitution, coming on for Marcel Henry-Francis. Rangers almost scored a sixth goal when Conor Hubble pulled the trigger from 25 yards and his shot narrowly cleared the bar. At the other end, Gareth Deane brought off a great save to deny the visitors doubling their goal tally. Final score: 5-1.
The 6ft 7ins Italian keeper, Tommaso Trani was one of the subs and is pictured above. Hopefully the R’s will also progress in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night. The Saturday Morning Crew also included Alan Barnes, Rob Bennett, Roger Stokes, Sean plus Pat and Tom Harrison. We were also joined by Martin Percival and Peter Lungstrom from Sweden. Thanks to Roger for the lift to the Bush.
(The above pics were taken by Martin Percival and used with his permission)