Team: Deane, Harriman, Sanderson, Doughty, Parmenter, O’Donnell, Bewick, Sutherland, Gibbons, Graham, Sharif.
“Don’t let him shoot” screamed the Stevenage keeper, but it was too late, Bagasun Graham’s shot from 20 yards skimmed along the ground and found the corner of the net. The visitors were having a fair amount of possession, but they didn’t really look that dangerous. Mo Sharif burst into the box, beat a couple of players, but the final defender stuck out his foot and just denied him pulling the trigger. At the other end, Stevenage should of done much better when a free header landed softly in Gareth Deane’s gloves. The champagne moment of the first half was witnessing Frankie Sutherland run at full speed from midfield to dispossess their wide player, wonderful, well done Frankie !
‘Bags’ Graham was nicely set up for a one-on-one attempt, but the keeper saved it and the follow-up was kicked off the line. Mo Sharif cut in from the right towards the bye-line, but although he was tackled, the ball came back to him and he still managed to shoot/cross. The ball then bounced off the corner of the near crossbar and out for a corner. Mo Sharif was involved again when he received a great through-ball, but unfortunately he didn’t connect fully and the ball went well wide of the post. Sam Bewick belted down the right flank and his lofted shot bounced off the crossbar and seconds later the referee blew his whistle. Half time: 1-0.
As we moved upfield to re-assemble for the second half, we began to feel the full force of the wind. Clive Kingham had to hang on to his hat from time to time as we became more vulnerable to the elements. Stevenage made a double substitution and Fitzpatrick replaced Doughty. The woodwork was again rattled when a superb free kick from Frankie Sutherland hit the crossbar and then cleared to safety. The R’s still needed that second goal and it came when Mo Sharif twisted and turned his way through and his shot went in courtesy of the underside of the bar. 2-0 and well deserved. Ben Brown replaced ‘Bags’ Graham and he was soon in action when Tony Sanderson crossed from the left and his header forced the keeper into a fine diving save.
One of the highlights of the second half was Frankie Sutherland’s 50 yard ball over to Mo Sharif on the right flank and a good cross in was headed into the net by Ben Brown. 3-0 up and with about 10 minutes to go, rampant Rangers had tasted blood and had a number of further chances to increase the lead. A Sam Bewick shot hit the post and Frankie Sutherland’s shot was punched out by the keeper from just under the bar and then put out for a corner. After receiving a long ball, Ben Brown cut in and with players waiting in the box, his shot ended up going out for a corner. Sam Bewick had another crack at goal, but a defender was well placed to boot the ball out for yet another corner. With about one minute remaining, Danny McDonnell came on for Jordan Gibbons.
Rangers coped very well with the very windy conditions and could of easily more than doubled their goal tally. The Saturday Morning Crew also included, Alan Barnes, Robbie Bennett, Roger Stokes, Clive Kingham, Sean plus Pat and Tom Harrison.
Much to the disappointment of Roger, Clive and I, the match against Barnet at the Hive the previous week had to be postponed. The pitches were frozen and the wind chill factor took the temperature down to well below zero. However, the game was soon re-arranged for the following Thursday, kick off 2.00pm. Roger reports that ‘Bags’ Graham was the scorer in a 1-2 defeat and the R’s starting line-up was as follows: Deane, Harriman, Sanderson, Doughty, Parmenter, O’Donnell, Bewick, Gibbons, Brown, Graham, Sharif.
There has been plenty of good news recently though with Michael Doughty signing his first professional contract and International call-ups for Gareth Deane, Stephen O’Donnell, Michael Harriman and Frankie Sutherland. Well done everyone.