Hall Road Rangers vs Bottesford Town

Saturday January 6

Haworth Park

NCEL Premier Division

By Ollie Harsley

The second half of the NCEL Premier Division season begins this Saturday for Hall Road Rangers and Bill Gill is looking forward to the challenge as his side welcome Bottesford Town to Haworth Park. “Hoping the weather stays good to us, this game can’t come soon enough as it feels like we have had too much time off”, Gill said.

Rangers are looking to return to form after a 2-0 defeat against Barton Town in their last game before Christmas. Conversely, Bottesford come into this game on the back of 4 successive wins in the league and sit in 8th place in the NCEL Premier Division table.

Bottesford’s away form so far this season has been relatively inconsistent as they have won 5, lost 6 and drawn 1 of their 12 games. However, The Poachers have won both of their last 2 away games in the league including a 2-1 win at Parkgate in their last game before the Christmas break. Declan Bacon scored both of Bottesford’s goals as they came from behind to take all 3 points and he is their top goal scorer with 16 goals in the NCEL Premier Division. The previous fixture between these two sides earlier in the season ended in a 2-2 draw, Chris Spinks and Tom Bennett scored for Hall Road whilst Gareth Barlow and Charles Mann grabbed the Bottesford goals. Barlow featured against Rangers for Barton Town so he won’t have any influence on this upcoming game.

Bill Gill is very aware of the difficulties that Bottesford will provide for his side in this game. “We have played Bottesford enough times in the last two seasons to know they work hard and have a good shape to their team. They will have a game plan and John Corbett will get his lads to stick to it which is why he gains a lot of respect”, Gill said.

Gill is pleased with the work his players have put in over Christmas in preparation for the second half of the season and is raring to go. “We welcome back a handful of players and are just 1 player away from being full strength. We have worked well over Christmas and have discussed our aims and objectives between now and May and everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet”, Gill said.

Gill is also hoping to use this Saturday’s game against Bottesford as a springboard for building up the all important momentum that his side will need if they are to achieve the goals they have set. “We had a reasonable first half to the season and were on the receiving end of red cards that we had no control over which cost us valuable points. However, we are using Saturday as a new starting block and if we can break into the top 10 that would be a great achievement in our first season in this division”, Gill concluded.

There is a serious need for Hall Road Rangers to sort their home form out as they have lost their last 3 league games at Haworth Park. They have to bounce back quickly to avoid slipping into unnecessary mediocrity as the second half of the season progresses. This Saturday’s game against Bottesford will be followed up by another home game against Parkgate next Tuesday night so it allows Rangers the chance to arguably be able to get at least 4 points in these next two games if not all 6 points.