Hall Road Rangers 1, Liversedge 2
Tuesday November 14
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
By Neil Winsor
THERE was sadly a familiar theme to Hall Road Rangers home defeat to Liversedge last night, as a glut of missed chances were punished at Haworth Park, leaving Rangers empty handed.
The sizzling form of Josh Batty continued, with his third goal in consecutive matches in the opening minute, however Joe Walton levelled to send the teams into the break level, and despite creating numerous chances, Rangers profligacy in front of goal proved costly when Regan Fish smashed home the eventual winner with 14 minutes remaining.
The starting eleven was unchanged for Rangers from their Vase reversal at the weekend, however Jack Griffin was named amongst the substitutes as he looked to make his second debut of the season for the club following his return from Bridlington Town, whilst Sam O’Malley returned to the bench.
Rangers night started off in the best fashion when they led with not a minute passed.
Batty raced in from the right angle to meet a cross from the left knocking home from inside the penalty area, his seventh strike of the season.
Rangers rhythm was disrupted somewhat soon after as Jack Binns had to be replaced after suffering a nasty gash above his eye and he was replaced by debutant Griffin.
They saw out the first 30 minutes of the first half well, with James Hitchcock and the defensive rearguard largely been tested with crosses into the box which they dealt with well.
They were breached though on 36 minutes.
Some excellent work by Andrew Wood led to his strike partner Joe Walton bull-dozing his way through on the right angle and his low shot had the pace to slip underneath Hitchcock and into the net.
Hall Road began the second half well and for the first fifteen minutes or so looked like they would snatch back the lead.
Although Hitchcock had to be alert to save with his legs after a move straight from the restart Hall Road’s failure to take their chances would prove costly.
From a beautifully flighted Tom Bennett centre, Batty looped his header perfectly over the stranded Harry Stead only to see the ball clip the top of the cross bar on its way out.
Rangers were denied again on 50 minutes, Stead managed to save from Josh Batty when clean through, and the keeper steadied himself once more to deny Chris Spinks’ rebound.
Rangers good attacking play didnt stop there though, as Fraser Hansen was the next culprit, shooting straight at Stead following another decent cross, this time by Batty.
The visitors still looked dangerous on occasion, the size and power of the front two Walton and Wood were prominent, and with wingers Brad Riley and Regan Fish coming more into the game the game was finely poised going into the last 30 minutes.
It was here though were the visitors upped their intensity and they won a penalty with 19 minutes to go.
Louis Bruce got himself in a tangle with Walton from a long ball, and the Sedge striker was hauled down inside the box with the referee awarding a penalty and booking Bruce.
Brad Riley stepped up and although his penalty was low and in the right corner, James Hitchcock got down well and saved superbly to keep the scores level.
The visitors used that disappointment to spur themselves on, and Riley was again unlucky to see his powerful effort crash off the underside of the cross bar after cutting in from the left flank.
With the visitors enjoying a dominant spell, they made their chances count, something regrettably Hall Road had failed to do, and they duly grabbed the lead eleven minutes from time.
A fizzing ball from the left fell to Fish who’s first effort was parried by Hitchcock, however the Rangers stopper could do nothing with the rebound as the Rangers defence failed to react as Fish smashed home the rebound.
Hall Road assistant boss Andrew Watts was frustrated as prior to the goal Rangers had tried to introduce Gareth Owen to the game, to be denied by the linesman.
When Owen did come on, he did so for Fraser Hansen, and their final change was made a minute later with Sam O’Malley replacing Conner Harman as Rangers boss Bill Gill threw everything forward in a bid to salvage something from a game, that for large periods looked like they would gain at least a point.
Liversedge to their credit though saw the game out well, and aside from Louis Bruce heading over from Chris Spinks cross with three minutes remaining, Harry Stead was untroubled for the rest of the evening.
The final talking point though came in the dying seconds when a tired, and frustrated challenge from Josh Batty saw him dismissed as he halted a Liversedge counter attack just inside the Rangers half.
Rangers stay tenth but will be looking to arrest their recent run of two straight defeats for the visit of Athersley Recreation to Haworth Park on Saturday afternoon
From the dug-out – by Bill Gill
“Last night was about the chances we did not take, and not taking anything away from Liversedge, they had a game plan and it paid off.
At one nil, we had three clear chances and didn’t take them – at this level you can’t have that many opportunities, and expect to win games.
We regrouped during the break, and in the second half started very brightly, but again we have had four very good chances to win the game and not taken any of them.
It was one of them games whereby if we was still playing now we wouldn’t have scored again.
Last night was an opportunity to get closer to the teams above us and sadly we have not taken advantage of that but other results did our go way in that respect, so now we have to go again Saturday and keep pushing for a top six spot where we want to be.