Hall Road Rangers 1, Bottesford Town 2
Tuesday April 17
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
By Neil Winsor
Photograph supplied by Lee Myers
PHOTO: Sam O’Malley had a goal ruled out for offside as his frustrations in front of goal continued
FIRST half Hall Road Rangers came up against an inspired Jordan Douglas who returned to Haworth Park to haunt his old club, whilst Bottesford frustrated Rangers with a resolute second half display to leave East Yorkshire with three points
Douglas denied both Chris Spinks and Fraser Hansen in the first half, and whilst the visitor’s three pronged attack always looked threatening, it was ‘The Poachers’ second half rearguard performance that drew particular plaudits as they frustrated Rangers and nullified their attacking play.
With April littered with a glut of fixtures for Rangers, it was down to a fine Spring performance in the 3-0 weekend win over Rainworth, that saw Hall Road manager Bill Gill make only one change to the starting eleven from that fixture.
The industrious Jack Binns, unavailable on Saturday, returned to a Rangers midfield which saw young Reggi Waud rested to the bench.
The hosts were also boosted by the returns of Benn Lewis, Conner Harman, Danny Norton and Dane Mortimer, however the quartet only made the bench.
Jack Griffin once again skippered the side, as Norton continued to work his way back to full fitness following a dead leg.
With the visitors backed by some vociferous support, Hall Road settled well in the early moments forcing an early corner and then a throw in deep in Bottesford territory, both of which were dealt with by former ‘Ranger’ Douglas.
Bottesford always looked dangerous with their three pronged attack, led by the prolific Declan Bacon, it was Bacon’s team-mate Craig Bridge, who wriggled clear of his marker though early, to then turn and fire at Hitchcock who gathered the ball at the second attempt.
As the pendulum swung Hall Road threatened again, as the visitors should have maybe been awarded a free kick in midfield, the ball later broke to the left and a fizzing cross to the back-post was not converted at the far post by Sam O’Malley.
Jack Griffin then blazed over the bar on twelve minutes as a promising opening from Rangers saw them fail to break the deadlock.
It was two minutes later the visitors punished Hall Road by taking the lead.
A quick throw-in on the left hand side caught Rangers napping and they failed to recover as Jack Cross fired home a powerful effort past Hitchcock who was left no chance with the finish.
Bottesford broke the play up well immediately after the goal, as Jack Bowskin had to twice receive treatment before he was eventually replaced by Finley O’Sullivan.
The only real chance of note in the next fifteen minutes was superbly defended, as Fraser Hansen was denied by brave defending which blocked his close range effort.
Steve McCarron fired over for the visitors on 31 minutes from the edge of the penalty area before O’Malley (right) then had a goal chalked off for offside a minute later, after a tidy close range finish.
With the half approaching its end, Hall Road forced Douglas’ first excellent save as he dived to his right to parry away Spinks stinging effort and Hansen could only smash over the rebound from the left hand angle.
Cross threatened for the visitors on 41 minutes but his powerful effort on this occasion slipped the wrong side of the far post, before O’Malley had a goal chalked off for offside, to further frustrate the striker.
Douglas then denied Hansen with a low save again to his right in the final minutes of the half, before Josh Batty restored parity in added time.
A Chris Spinks free kick from the left was sent back across goal to Batty who incisively nipped in at the back post, to knock home from close range.
The second half began like the first, Hall Road started with some good early pressure, as Batty was fouled midway inside the Bottesford half, however the resulting free-kick was well gathered again by Douglas.
The visitors took the sting out of the game for the remainder and they regained the lead ten minutes into the second half, to deflate their hosts.
A weak Hitchcock clearance saw Bottesford work the ball to the right flank from halfway, and then a pin-point cross was glanced home perfectly into the far corner.
Hall Road made changes, the introduction of Dane Mortimer and Conner Harman came in quick succession of each other before Danny Norton was also brought on for much needed game time.
Although Rangers huffed and puffed, in truth they lacked the cutting edge required to break down Bottesford for the second time, and the closest they came was in added time, as the visitors expertly marshalled Hall Road’s main attacking threats throughout the entire second half.
A dangerous long throw, arrowed to the near post from Gareth Owen was headed clear, as Bottesford saw the game out and inflict just Rangers second defeat in five matches.