Bottesford Town 2, Hall Road Rangers 2

Toolstation NCEL Premier Division

Wednesday September 20

Birkdale Park

By Neil Winsor

HALL Road Rangers gained a point, but may feel they dropped two as they returned to the north bank of the Humber with a share of the spoils at Bottesford Town last night.

In a largely scrappy affair, especially in the first half, it was left to Tom Bennett to notch his first goal for the club six minutes from time as it seemed as though they would return empty handed after squandering the lead.

They were returns to the team for Danny Chambers and Joe Cooper, as well as young keeper Joe Piercy who were all named on a strong substitutes bench alongside James Whittingham.

Gareth Owen filled in at right back as Louis Bruce was unavailable in a slightly altered back four, with Conner Harman playing just ahead of them in midfield.

The first 30 minutes in particular lacked any quality in offensive situations for both sides as they tried to force matters so composure in possession was a real issue.

Rangers did carve one excellent opportunity from a corner, the hosts failed to clear and as the ball landed at the feet of James Piercy, with his back to goal his imaginative back heel from close range was crowded out by the Bottesford defence.

The hosts then crafted two opportunities, the first been fired over after neat interplay on the edge of Rangers defensive penalty area, and then skipper Phil Dobson tipped an effort round the post.

Hall Road then began to settle down after 25 minutes and insert themselves on the match. It was then on 29 minutes when Hall Road took the lead.

Danny Norton fended off a challenge to jink his way into the penalty area, he was then brought down inside the box, and although the Bottesford defender appeared to get a touch on the ball he was adjudged to have brought the run of the Rangers winger to an unfair halt.

Chris Spinks stepped up to despatch his second spot-kick in a four days, and net his fifth goal of the campaign.

The remainder of the first half saw Hall Road dominate possession, and two minutes later after a brisk sweeping counter attack, Josh Batty narrowly smashed an effort over.

The visitors failed to find that all-important second goal, as four minutes after the restart, Fraser Hanson was denied in spectacular fashion from close range at the far post when in space.

It was then upto the hosts to miss a great chance as a ball in behind saw Sam Belcher keep a Bottesford attack alive by playing them onside, however a woeful finish when clean through kept Rangers in front.

Their luck soon ran out though as they conceded a disappointing equaliser.

With the ball pinging around the six yard box, an original effort failed to find the mark however Gareth Barlow swooped in at the far post with a diving header to level the score on 57 minutes.

The goal gave the hosts fresh impotus, and Hall Road again had Dobson to thank for poitioning himself well to stop a sharp header from eight yards after a right centre.

Bottesford then snatched the lead on 74 minutes.

In a similar goal to what cost Rangers at Maltby on Saturday, a corner was perfectly flighted into the near post and Charles Mann rose above everybody to nod into the corner.

Rangers boss Bill Gill then made two changes, he first replaced Fraser Hanson with Chambers, and then shortly after Joe Cooper replaced Chris Spinks with a little more then ten minutes to play.

A response was needed on the pitch from the players, and to the most extent they delivered.

Refusing to give up on the game they were duly rewarded when on 84 minutes, Tom Bennett capped a fine move, when he fired home at the near post on the right hand side to net for the first time in over a year, and his first goal since signing for Rangers in the summer of 2016.

An exciting finale was set up, but despite a few nervy moments for both teams, neither side could find a way through for a third time.

The result keeps Hall Road Rangers in fifteenth place, a point ahead of Bottesford having played a game less.