Team: Goodchild, Coyne, Harris, Ford, Brown, O’Brien, Maguire, Vanterpool, German, Rose, Folkes.
Subs Used: Arthur for Vanterpool and Gardner for Folkes
Subs Not Used: Crowther, Jordan and Balanta
Rangers dominated most of this game and created enough chances to win by two or three goals but had to settle for a point as some wayward finishing ultimately proved costly. Indeed, the visitors may well have stolen all three points late on but for the intervention of a last-ditch tackle and our crossbar.
After a well observed minute’s silence for Ray Jones, it was Luton who started the game brightly and their left winger created a couple of early chances and an early corner had to be cleared. But within 10 minutes they had taken the lead after another run and cross from the left found its way to the right side and a simple cut-back allowed a free shot from 10 yards. 1-0 to Luton. The goal was the catalyst for Rangers to get going and Romone Rose started the revival with a couple of decent efforts from long range. Vanterpool released Folkes down the left, who beat his man and his dangerous cross just evaded the supporting cast in the middle.
Rangers new 4-3-3 formation was clearly in evidence now with new captain Danny Maguire influencing the play from the middle of the park, always available to accept a pass from the defence and also able to set up our attacking play as well. James Folkes was getting the better of his full-back and Romone Rose was full of pace and power and never afraid to shoot, as ever, his work-rate was first class. Further chances in the 1st half saw Maguire cutting in from the left but failing to trouble their keeper unduly with a weak shot, Rose creating his own chance by closing down and robbing a defender before firing a 20 yard effort just wide, another effort from Rose after more good work down the left from Folkes, a left foot strike from Antonio German (who swapped positions with Folkes shortly before half-time) and a further effort from Rose after a good build up involving Vanterpool.
It was all Rangers now and Folkes volleyed over when well placed after a Maguire free-kick had only been half cleared. Another free-kick, more central this time, saw Maguire shoot for goal but it wasn’t struck well and the keeper saved easily. Then a sublime chipped pass from Folkes set up Rose but he fluffed his side-foot volley and the chance was gone. Half-Time: 0-1
The 2nd half started with a good break down the right by Folkes but his cross was over-hit. Luton almost doubled their lead soon after as Matt O’Brien made a superb interception but then his back-pass nearly resulted in an own goal. Chris Arthur was now on for Vanterpool and it was a little strange to see him playing more in-field, rather than purely as a left winger. With his skill on the ball and range of passing, he certainly looks capable of filling this new role though. I think he will start more games when he has fully shaken off an ankle injury he is still carrying. More Rangers pressure resulted in a corner and Maguire’s delivery from the left was headed over by Folkes, who should have at least hit the target. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before a Maguire corner from the right was powerfully headed home by German. 1-1
With 35 minutes remaining and the breeze picking up to assist Rangers, it seemed only a matter of time before they would take the lead. Rose hit a controlled volley just over and then had the keeper scrambling to tip over a superb 25 yard effort. Folkes and Lee Brown combined well down the left and Brown’s excellent chip to the far post was somehow headed down and over the crossbar by O’Brien. In a rare attack, Luton should have scored but Josh Ford was on hand to clear the danger after the forward had rounded Goodchild. As Rangers poured forward again, there were two good chances within seconds as German’s shot was blocked and Gardner’s follow-up forced a great save. Then Rose was unlucky as he put the last defender under pressure, won the ball off him and was then tugged back slightly as his toe-poked effort trickled just wide. Was it a penalty or did the referee play the advantage ? Answers on a postcard to Alan Barnes
Arthur then had a stinging drive blocked as he cut in from the right (!) and the ricochet almost fell to Gardner. From another corner, Ed Harris (new player for this Season), headed over and then Arthur was involved once more, breaking down the right again but the defence cleared the danger. Just before the 90 minutes were up, the visitors almost stole the points when they broke up-field and won a free kick about 25 yards out. The direct shot was well struck and crashed onto the bar, possibly after a slight touch from Goodchild ? It was a lucky escape for the R’s. Final Score: 1-1. An entertaining game down at Harlington with Rangers adapting well to their new 4-3-3 formation. They just need to be a bit more clinical in front of goal and they will win a lot of games this Season. In attendance today were Alan Barnes, Robbie, Pat and Tom Harrison, Roger and Steve.