Concorde Club, Cranford
U18 Professional Development League 2
Team: Hudnott, Springer-Downes, Williams (J), Hamalainen, Garnett, Arthur, Komodikis, Donnellan, Alfa, Bowler, Shodipo.
Paul Furlong’s side had gone down 4-2 at Ipswich the previous Saturday and as for the latest opponents, Swansea had run out 7-2 winners in November.
The match kicked off shortly after 11.30am as the Saturday Morning Crew faced a strong, biting wind.
Within eight minutes, the R’s took the lead following Leo Donnellan’s in-swinging corner. The Swans keeper parried the ball but Olamide Shodipo was on hand to force the ball over the line.
Rangers were looking very sharp and doubled their lead after 24 minutes. Niko Hamalainen’s superb through-ball found Josh Bowler who slotted past the Swansea custodian from close range.
Around the half-hour mark, Addison Garnett was replaced by Charlie Fox, which was soon followed by a Swansea goal. The Swans player approached the Rangers goal via the bye-line before side-footing home.
Following an outstanding move just before half-time, Shodipo provided for Bowler to finish smartly side-on from six-yards. At the other end, Conor Hudnott denied the visitors a second goal bravely with his head after a one-on-one situation. Half-time: 3-1.
Within a minute or so, the visitors scored a second as the unmarked Swans player conveniently picked his spot.
Paul Furlong introduced Kedman at the expense of Shodipo. Later, a Swansea player mishit his clearance and with the keeper stranded, the ball looked initially like it was going to bobble in.
Josh Bowler received a great ball through the middle and, taking aim, his shot forced the Swans keeper into a flying save. The next change saw Michael Klass coming on for Niko Hamalainen on 72 minutes.
The visitors went close during the five added minute period following a free kick, which Conor Hudnott managed to tip over the bar.
A very welcome three points of course, but what was also very satisfying was the nature of the performance. Rangers played the ball from the back, no long ball, with some superb inter-play and terrific work rate.