Team: Goodchild, Ford, Goode, Howell, Brown, Rose, O’Brien, Coyne, Arthur, Folkes, Maguire
Unused Subs: Smith, O’Connell
Goalscorers: Brown 59, Arthur 61, Rose 68, Brown 85, Rose 87
A glance at the final score may make you believe that this was a rather one sided affair but a look at the times of the first goal tells a different story though. Rangers started with what is becoming a fairly settled line up although an injury to St.Aimie required a change to the side which had started in most games since the Christmas break. James Folkes started up front with Danny Maguire and the R’s set about the early part of the game in their usual brisk fashion. Maguire was pulling the strings and getting the ball out to Romone Rose and Chris Arthur at every opportunity. The pace and power of these two has been a feature of Rangers play of late.
It wasn’t all Rangers pressure though and Luton came back into the game and almost took the lead but for a good save from Goodchild. Then after about 20 minutes, Rangers carved out two excellent chances as Arthur started to make an impact down the left side. The second of two crosses in quick succession fell to James Folkes but he couldn’t direct his header on target. Then a forceful run and low shot from Arthur was well tipped around the post. Sadly the referee and linesman between them. failed to spot the save and awarded a goal kick despite their keeper acknowledging our shouts of, “good save” as he retrieved the ball from near the corner flag. During the rest of the half, the visitors tested Goodchild on one or two more occasions but at the other end, Folkes and Rose failed to keep their shots on target. Then just before half time, Folkes pulled back a great cross from the right but Arthur couldn’t quite connect properly and his right foot volley was easily dealt with by the keeper. Half Time: 0-0
The 2nd half started in a similar fashion with neither side dominating and there were chances at both ends. A slide -rule pass from Matt O’Brien inside the full back set Brown free as Arthur occupied a couple of Luton defenders. Brown got to the by-line but his cut back just failed to pick out a Rangers player. At the other end, the visitors threatened briefly and the ball was bobbing around the box before the danger was cleared. Then just around the hour mark, Rangers bagged two goals in two minutes and the game was effectively won. Firstly, Brown and Arthur combined well down the left hand side with Brown bursting forward and cutting inside into the space created by Arthur as he attracted attention out wide. Brown tried his luck from about 20 yards with his weaker right foot and his well struck effort clipped a defender and flew into the top corner. Then Maguire dropped deep to pick up possession and he picked out Arthur, who beat his man for pace before driving a powerful shot, low across the keeper and into the far corner. A great finish !
Romone Rose was involved soon after, driving in a superb cross which just evaded the Rangers forwards. Luton countered with a chance of their own but Goodchild saved at his near post and from this point on it was nearly all Rangers. A pacy delivery from a Maguire free kick was met by a glancing header from Rose and the ball flew into the top corner. For the next 15 minutes, Rangers poured forward creating chances at will. Brown shot wide after a short free kick from Maguire fooled the Luton defenders. Folkes once again worked hard all game. He was fed by Rose and drove a fierce shot just wide. Maguire’s sublime pass picked out Arthur again and he shot over as space opened up with Brown’s dummy run. Exhilarating stuff !
Inside the last 10 minutes, Joe Gallen made a change and a trialist replaced Folkes up front. However, this didn’t stop the attacking flow and the new man was quickly involved a couple of times before starting another great move which led to the fourth goal. Some slick passing in midfield sent Rose clear down the right wing and his superb low cross was thumped in by Brown at the far post from inside the 6 yard box – he couldn’t miss, such was the quality of the ball in. Then within 2 minutes, Rose had added his second and Rangers fifth, prodding in a low, pacy Maguire free kick at the near post. As the game entered the final couple of minutes, Rangers surged forward looking for more goals. Overall, the R’s had to battle for this victory but the hard work paid off eventually and the goals followed. Once on top, some of Rangers play was irresistible and a joy to watch.
I must give a mention to Josh Ford, Aaron Goode and Andrew Howell at the back plus Billy Coyne and Matt O’Brien in central midfield which provided a solid base for the more attack minded players to push on and cause problems further forward. Watching from the corner flag at the end the R’s were attacking, often means that a lot of their good work gets overlooked. Good to see the regulars in attendance again, Jbee, Julia, Alan Barnes, Rob Bennett, Roger Stokes, Steve, Pat, Tom, Clive senior, Big Paul plus Joe English and Bill Cox.