Team: Cowler, Harriman, Sanderson, Doughty, Parmenter, O’Donnell, Bewick, Sutherland, Graham, Henry-Francis, Sharif.
A free kick in from the left was screwed just wide of the post then, a Marcel Henry-Francis shot was blocked after he set himself up to pull the trigger. Another ball came in from the left and Mo Sharif quickly got into position and his lovely side-flick was saved by the keeper. What was to be the pass of the half came when Tony Sanderson knocked over a long ball to ‘Bags’ Graham. Michael Doughty weaved his way through the centre, evading tackles as he advanced, but just screwed his shot wide. Rangers were dominant and it seemed only a matter of time before they took the lead. A lovely ball through the middle found Henry-Francis and his shot from just inside the box came off the keeper’s face as he went down to make the save.
A throw-in from Michael Harriman found Michael Doughty who then spun round and his shot went out for a corner. He took the corner which was then palmed over the bar for another corner. With about 38 minutes gone, the R’s finally took the lead when Graham did well to knock a ball over from the left and Sharif sprung up and hung in the air to nod the ball past a stationary keeper. 1-0 to the R’s and well deserved.
The pressure continued with Michael Doughty shooting just over the bar and then Sam Bewick burst through and the keeper seemingly made a finger tip save as the referee awarded a corner. Another effort from Doughty only just cleared the bar. Towards the end of the 1st half, a wonderful interception by Frankie Sutherland in a defensive position was then followed by a superb delivery. Half-time: 1-0.
After the interval, Rangers carried on much as they had left off, in command and going close with the ball clipping the post for a corner. Then as the cross came in, the ball was bundled over the line, but the flag was raised as it was deemed offside. Marcel Henry-Francis forced their keeper down to make a very good save after he blasted the ball on target. Rangers really were in total control and the visitors relied on the occasional punt upfield. Sam Bewick burst through three players, but his shot didn’t trouble the keeper as it travelled along the ground and into his gloves.
Tony Sanderson knocked a ball out to ‘Bags’ Graham situated down the left, who then cut in and his cross went through the defender’s legs and Michael Doughty was well placed to double the score from close range. 2-0 up and Marcel Henry-Francis was replaced by Jordan Gibbons. We were all taken by surprise when Davies pulled one back for the visitors with their first shot of the half on target. After being under the cosh for so long they now looked a completely different side, playing with confidence and purpose, but this didn’t trouble the R’s defence in the closing stages.
Gareth Deane was nursing an injury and was replaced in goal by Sam Cowler, a loanee from West Ham. Bruno Andrade was due to start training again at the beginning of the week. Congratulations to Michael Harriman for starting for the ROI U19’s in Croatia recently. They won the match 2-1. The weather conditions were pleasant, sunny with some white cloud and little wind. Good to see Gordon Macey and also in attendance were, Alan Barnes, Rob Bennett, Roger Stokes, Clive Kingham plus Pat and Tom Harrison.