Team: Lumley, McDonnell, Walker, Champion, Brown, Sendles-White, Comley, Hubble, Gibbons, Monthe, Webb.
There were a number of players missing from the starting line-up for various reasons. Emmanuel Monthe had already played in a number of positions throughout the season and this time he started upfront. Despite his imposing stature, Monthe is deceptively quick and has an array of skills in his armoury.
The first chance fell to Jordan Gibbons following a good corner. As the ball came in, he dipped his head, but didn’t get enough power on the ball and we watched it skim wide of the post.¬† After a good run down the left flank, Monthe was in receipt of the ball and with time and space, he clipped the ball left-footed and it bobbled past the post. There seemed to be an invisible channel running somewhere along the six-yard box and up to the far post as the R’s next effort again evaded the goal in much the same area. Jordan Gibbons turned on the edge of the box and in a central position, drove the ball low and past the post.
It was pretty much one-way traffic, but Joe Lumley had to stay alert and as it turned out on this occasion, be also brave, when he went down to gather the ball in a dangerous situation. It was a pleasure to see the R’s players crisply stroking the ball around, with plenty of good movement and in the process, dominating the possession. The goal was no surprise when it finally came after 27 minutes with a lovely finish by Emmanuel Monthe, lashing the ball into the net from around the edge of the box.
A good free kick into the penalty area found a diving Jamie Sendles-White in plenty of space, but he didn’t fully connect and again the ball went just past the post.¬† Then Monthe took control of the ball nicely on his chest and belted the ball goalwards which ended up going for a corner. It became noticeably colder after the bright sunshine made way for a dark overcast sky. Rangers were still playing some lovely one-touch inter-play which continued to pressurise the visitors. Half-time: 1-0.
Into the 2nd half and Manny Monthe fired a low shot from outside the box which took a deflection, but the keeper was untroubled and made a comfortable save. Conor Hubble belted a terrific 25-yarder which forced the keeper to tip the ball over the bar. Steve Gallen made his first change bringing on David Fitzpatrick for Conor Hubble. The R’s doubled their lead with an outstanding goal from Jordan Gibbons. He took control of the ball on his chest, a deft touch took him past his marker and as he homed in, he took his goal with a lovely finish into the corner of the net.
Rangers went 3-0 up with another terrific goal when Brandon Comley absolutely blasted the ball into the corner from 20 yards. David Fitzpatrick was the next to get his name on the score sheet when after killing the ball, he turned, and placed the ball wide of the keeper. The fifth and final goal came out of nothing following a corner. The keeper hadn’t realised that the ball was going out, but decided to help it on its way. Jordan Gibbons stepped up and his ball into the box was met at the far post for Ben Brown to head home.
Jordan Gibbons made way for James Daly and Manny Monthe was replaced by a player we didn’t know. Mention must be made of the exchange in front of us between the linesman and their keeper in the closing stages: Keeper screaming at linesman: ‚ÄúHe was 40 yards off !!!‚Äù Linesman to keeper with a smile on his face: ‚ÄúYou’re looking in the wrong direction.‚Äù Well done to Steve Gallen and all the players.
Finally, a mention of the other members of the Harlington Crew who included; Alan Barnes, Robbie Bennett, Roger Stokes, Sean, Gordon Macey plus a gentleman from Harlesden who I hadn’t met before. It turned out that Alan had helped him out at Cardiff after he had missed his train back to London.
Note: It was later confirmed by the club that the unknown substitute was 17-year-old Petros Skapetis. He was signed from South Melbourne F.C. and given an 18 month contract. Good luck to him.