EBB Stadium: Tuesday 24th July 2012
Rangers fielded a side that was a mixture of last year’s successful U18 side and experienced 1st team players. They lined up in a fluid formation of; Lennox in goal, defenders Simmonds, Brown, Parmenter, Sharif; midfield of Andrade, Sutherland, Smith and Campbell; with Hitchcock just behind Hulse as a central forward.
The game started in brilliant sunshine on a lush even pitch. The first chance fell to the home side with the Roberts effort going wide of Lennox’s right-hand post. Rangers were making progress down the flanks, but Sutherland’s and Andrade’s crosses were too close to Young in the Shots goal. On 12 minutes, Shots worked a good move which ended with Vincenti’s effort grazing the outside of the post. Rangers responded with a good passing move between Brown, Hitchcock and Andrade which led to a corner that was only half-cleared to Sharif whose shot had Young at full stretch.
Just on the quarter-hour, another Shots attack found Rankine in space on the edge of the area, but Lennox was equal to his effort. The home fans claimed a penalty when Madjo fell in the area having got to the loose ball, the referee waiving aside all appeals. Five minutes later, Hulse, Campbell and Smith worked a quick passing move into the area, but Young came out to smother the ball at Campbell’s feet. Soon afterwards a long ball over the top of the Rangers defence found Rankine who flicked the ball over the on-rushing Lennox, but having gone wide, was unable to capitalise on the chance.
25 mins: Aldershot Town 1 – QPR 0. A passing move out of the home defence saw the ball arrive at the feet of Roberts, the Shots right-winger, who cut inside and fired a left-foot shot into the net past Lennox’s dive. With 10 minutes of the half left, Sutherland had a long range effort which deflected off Hulse, wrong footing the Shots keeper, but unfortunately the ball went just wide. Payne then found himself in space 25 yards from goal, but his effort cleared Lennox’s bar. Another chance fell to the home side when Rangers thought Rankine was offside, but was not given by the officials and his shot on the turn was well saved by Lennox at the expense of a corner.
Aldershot were gaining more possession in midfield thus putting the Rangers defence under pressure. However, with good defending and goal-keeping they were able to ensure the home side didn’t add to their score. Rangers were awarded a penalty on 44 minutes when Young was adjudged to have felled Campbell in the area as he chased a wide ball. Campbell took the spot kick himself, but put the ball wide and hitting the stanchion supporting the net to the keeper’s left.
At the break, Aldershot made five changes, whilst Rangers retained their starting X1. The second-half started at a slower pace than the first with neither side in the ascendancy. Shots substitute Mekki who had replaced goal scorer Roberts, nearly emulated his predecessor when he cut in from the right and had a fierce left-foot shot, but his effort went just over the bar. A Shots free kick found centre-half Lancashire, in the box and Lennox made a fine save pushing the close range header over the bar. Lennox was in action again soon after when Hylton’s downward header was held by the Rangers keeper.
On the hour, Rangers replaced Campbell and Hulse with Hewitt and a trialist; and 5 minutes later Francis replaced Smith, with Downs replacing right-back Simmonds. What was now a young Rangers side, were coming under pressure from an Aldershot side full of recognised 1st team squad players. A Shots move through midfield ended with a powerful effort from Rodman which Lennox did well to keep out. Rangers made another change on 70 minutes with Cararea replacing Hitchcock.
With 10 minutes remaining, Rangers made two further changes with Sutherland and Andrade being replaced by two of the club’s young players. Lennox was by far the busiest keeper, and was nearly undone when a clearance cannoned off Hylton, but the ball ballooned over the bar. On 84 minutes. Rangers had their first real effort on goal for a while when the No.14’s effort was held by Shots substitute keeper Clement. In the last minute, another Rangers attack was cleared at the expense of a corner. The game ended in a narrow defeat against a well organised home side, and Lennox’s performance in goal was the key factor for the home side not adding to their tally
Team: Aaron Lennox, Bradley Simmonds, Mo Sharif, Frankie Sutherland (captain), Taylor Parmenter, Ben Brown, Tommy Smith, Tom Hitchcock, Rob Hulse, DJ Campbell, Bruno Andrade.
Subs: Troy Hewitt (for Hulse, 60 mins), Tommaso Trani, No.14 (for Campbell, 60 mins), Jake Downs (for Simmonds, 65 mins), Adam Francis (for Smith, 65 mins), No.17 (for Andrade, 80 mins), No.18 (for Sutherland, 80 minutes), Dill Cararera (for Hitchcock, 70 mins).
(The above pics were taken by Ian Morsman and used with permission)