Team: Lennox, Gibbons, Monthe, Ehmer, Sendles-White, Magri, Sharif, Ephraim, Hitchcock, Kranjcar, Andrade
Subs Not Used: Lumley, Brown, Kpekawa
The first decent chance of the afternoon came within a couple of minutes following a corner awarded to the visitors. A good ball into the box was headed over the bar by their No.6, Jonny Leddy. However, Rangers were soon in the ascendancy. Bruno Andrade was receiving plenty of the ball on the right wing and his pace and sharpness enabled him to constantly beat his marker. He picked out Mo Sharif in the box and his spectacular volley was well saved by the Ipswich keeper.
A Tom Hitchcock effort hit the post and the ball then found Max Ehmer who shot wide. Niko Kranjccar looked very composed as he continued to feed the ball short and long around the pitch. His free kick resulted in Emmanuel Monthe’s putting the ball wide.
It was no surprise when the R’s took the lead within 20 minutes when the Rangers captain, Tom Hitchcock, scrambled the ball into the net following good work by Bruno Andrade. Jake Nicholson, on loan to the visitors from Crystal Palace, belted a dangerous 25-yarder at Aaron Lennox.
At the other end, Niko Kranjcar went close when he knocked a ball in from Bruno Andrade just wide of the far post. As half-time approached it was the visitors who finished strongly when Aaron Lennox was forced into making a very good save from the Ipswich No. 10, Alan Lee and they then had a goal ruled out for offside.
The game continued to be open and there were further chances for both sides. On the hour-mark, Niko Kranjcar was replaced by Mike Petrasso who soon became very effective down the left flank. After cutting inside he almost got his name on the score-sheet, but the ball was cleared off the line.
Although Rangers were having the best of it, the visitors were still creating good chances and on one occasion Aaron Lennox had to come charging out of his area to clear the danger. He then made an outstanding save when he dived to his left to deny their centre-forward.
Their No.7, Jack Doherty, was booked for a spectacular dive in the box and he looked somewhat red-faced after the referee had showed him a yellow card. Marc Bircham introduced Peter Skapetis after 71 minutes at the expense of Hogan Ephraim.
Four minutes later play was held up for some time to enable Jonny Leddy to be stretchered off with what looked like a serious shoulder injury.
With just a few minutes remaining, the result was put beyond doubt when Tom Hitchcock scored his second goal of the afternoon from close range. Mo Sharif then had a good chance, but his shot cleared the bar. The victory was well deserved and it was a good all-round team performance.
However, what was extremely disappointing was the Club’s lack of communication over the status of the game. I had managed to attend, I suppose, because I had arrived at Harlington early, but Alan Barnes and others were denied entry by the stewards although no mention of this policy had appeared on the official website !!! The Club really should address this matter as it’s not the first time it has happened.