FA Cup Third Round Replay
Team: Cerny, Ramage, Stewart, Gorkss, Borrowdale, Buzsaky, Leigertwood, Faurlin (Taarabt), Routledge, Simpson (German), Agyemang.
Subs Not Used: McWeeney, Hall, Connolly, Ephraim, Balanta.
It was very quiet in ‘The Coningham’ before the game and strange to see so few fans about. We got off to a fairly lively start and when we did pressurise their defence, they almost conceded an own goal on one occasion. After giving away a very embarrassing first goal their second one was almost a carbon copy of the first. A Sheffield United player unmarked in acres of space and Borrowdale nowhere near him !!! I didn’t boo but some of our play last night was humiliating (careful choice of word there).
I’ve said it before, but playing Buzsaky on the left wing is a complete waste of time and why was Faurlin taken off when he was our best player at the time ? Why does Ramage still think he’s playing at centre back ? I can’t believe the amount of space some of our defenders give the opposition ! Gorkss was our best defender and he also has to cover for others at times. “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing” is sadly now becoming a regular chant from some areas of the ground. When we were chasing the game, I didn’t understand why it had to be our pacey leading goalscorer that was sacrificed ? That said, well done to Antonio German. He looked excellent when he came on, good touch, took players on and went very close near the end.
And so Rangers exit the FA Cup at the first hurdle for the ninth time in a row. It was a rather lacklustre performance in front of just 5,780 (of which I reckon maybe 700 or so were Sheffield United fans). I must complement Ramage here though – he fell to the ground holding his head like he’s just missed the penalty that cost his team the Cup Final itself !
For the first 18 minutes, we were on top and could have scored but Simpson headed wide and Agyemang had a shot blocked by Morgan. As has been the story in recent weeks though, we didn’t make them pay. They broke down the left, before switching the play out to the right, where Williamson was left alone by Borrowdale and he drilled it into the net past a poorly positioned Cerny. Midway through the half, Buzsaky broke into the box but could only fire his shot wide. With the half-time whistle approaching, Ched Evans latched onto a through ball and with all the time in the world, he smashed it onto the upper side of the bar and out of play. There would’ve been many a complaint from the players and fans alike if that had gone in. Evans was about 10 yards beyond the Rangers defenders when he got the ball and was surely offside when the ball was played ! In added time, Gorkss had a header cleared off the line by Geary, although it never really looked like going in. The half-time whistle was again greeted with some booing.
Rangers again started the half slightly on top, but yet again they failed to capitalise on this. But after 67 minutes, Blackwell made the match changing substitution when goal scorer Williamson, who seemed to be struggling a bit with a knock he picked up in the first half, came off and was replaced by Ward. Within moments, he scored an almost identical goal to the one the man he had replaced had scored. Cerny’s poor kick was sliced out to the right-wing, where Ramage lost out in the air, and with Borrowdale caught out, Wiliamson conveniently smashed it in. Cue Hart’s first substitution and a moment’s cheer at the sight of Taarabt before mass booing when the board went up with Faurlin’s number. Further chants of “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing” and the team looked flabbergasted ! Just 10 seconds later, Sheffield United went down in front of their fans in the School End and scored again, this time through Cresswell. More booing followed by the clatter of a thousand seats as fans poured out of the ground.
But many of them would’ve have missed what happened just 30 seconds or so later. Taarabt’s shot (the only thing I can remember him doing in 25 minutes of playing) apparently hit Geary’s arm and referee Woolmer awarded a penalty. After the inevitable protest, Buzsaky stepped up to calmly slot the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. However, the goal was greeted by nothing more than gentle applause as the disinterested fans that were left, made their feelings clear. With a couple of minutes still to go, Stewart headed the ball in from a couple of yards which was lucky not to be given as a foul on the keeper (United had a similar chance ruled out in the first half). He fetched the ball out of the net and ran back, this time to some cheers and chants of “C’mon You R’s”. A couple of minutes later, German spun and shot from 20 yards, only to see it whistle past the far post. And in the dying moments, he had another chance to level it but a good save from close range prevented him getting a deserved goal. Although overall Rangers did not deserve anything out of this game, it was good to see them show a little fight (but only when 3-0 down) and good to see German play well. This time the final whistle was not greeted with many boos, but general discontent at the performance. And so we were out of the FA Cup at the first time of asking yet again.
Cerny: 4 – Badly positioned for two of the goals and the other one came from one of his umpteen bad kicks, it was not like it was that windy ! I do hope we have another permanent keeper soon.
Ramage: 5 – Not for lack of trying, but he’s just not good enough at right back. He seemed to be the only natural leader on the pitch though.
Gorkss: 7 – Pretty much held the back-line up by himself in recent weeks. Oh where would we be without him ?
Stewart: 6 – Did okay, not spectacular but no glaring errors.
Borrowdale: 3 – His worst game for the club that I can remember. He had an absolute stinker and had a part to play in all 3 goals. It must be said though that he is still not helped by the lack of a defending left-winger.
Routledge: 7 – Looked pretty dangerous again. He was one of the few who showed a bit of desire and continued with his good performances of late.
Leigertwood: 5 – Uninspiring and didn’t play great today. He failed to pick the team up.
Faurlin: 7 – Why he was taken off I will never know ? He was probably our best player on the night. It was a strange decision from Hart, although it meant Buzsaky switched to playing in the middle. I was going to say it was rightly booed, but then I’m not sure if it’s right to boo your own team and your new Manager ?
Buzsaky: 5 – As usual, he looked lost on the left wing, but played a bit better following the introduction of Taarabt who then played out on the left. He failed to help Borrowdale in defence which caused him to be very exposed.
Simpson: 5 – Did nothing for me. He never looked a danger and doesn’t work with Agyemang who shows a better work rate.
Agyemang: 6 – Not his best game of late, but he still ran around making a nuisance of himself against Morgan.
Taarabt: 4 – Did anyone see him do very much ? I thought I might have seen him pass to Buzz once, but that was it. Oh, he won the penalty and then probably sulked because he wasn’t allowed to take it !
German: He looked very promising when he came on, highlight of the match. Unlucky not to level it in the 95th minute and put Simpson to shame.
Hart: Some shocking decisions regarding the substitutions. Disappointingly not attack minded enough or wasn’t prepared to take risks considering it was a Cup game. If he isn’t sacked I feel that he may walk before the end of the season.
Referee: (Woolmer) 5 – Easily conned and gave lots of free kicks that never were and from my first impression of the penalty, I didn’t think that it was handball, although there were lots of bodies around and it was difficult to see. He failed to punish time wasting by the visitors, especially from their keeper (who was booked for it when we played them in the League game for exactly the same thing).