Staveley MW 0, Hall Road Rangers 2,
Saturday March 24
Toolstation NCEL Premier Division
By Ollie Harsley
Photograph supplied by Lee Myers
PHOTO: Hall Road celebrate as Josh Batty doubles their advantage in injury time at Staveley MW yesterday, and from gaffer to goalscorer as Bill Gill chats to Fraser Hansen at full-time.
Hall Road Rangers picked up a valuable three points in what was a very accomplished 2-0 win at Staveley Miners Welfare yesterday afternoon.
Rangers were up for the fight from the first whistle and every player made sure that they won every ball and stayed resolute at the back.
Hall Road boss Bill Gill was full of praise for his opponent’s ground and overall facilities which he felt helped his side. “I thought Staveley’s facilities were superb. The place had a really good feel as soon as you arrived, the main point being the playing surface.
I could tell as the players were arriving by their smiles on their faces this pitch was going to suit our style”, Gill said.
There wasn’t too much goalmouth action in the first half as both sides failed to carve out any particularly threatening attempts on goal. It was a very even contest in the middle of the park with both teams effectively cancelling each other out so it was no surprise that it ended goalless at half time.
However, Hall Road did have two fairly good opportunities towards the end of the half that could have given them the lead.
Fraser Hansen saw his shot well saved by Matty Leese in the Staveley goal whilst Chris Spinks also had a chance but his shot ended up going over the bar.
Things picked up in the second half and Rangers began to get a foothold in the game.
They took the lead in the 57th minute when Fraser Hansen showed immense bravery to nudge Rangers in front after Danny Norton’s centre. Hansen consequently took a nasty looking knock to the ankle from the onrushing keeper as a consequence but he was able to carry on.
After the goal Staveley then began to push for an equaliser but they were reduced to taking shots from outside the box that ended up going over the bar. The hosts did see a header go wide from a corner and another header that went over the bar from a free kick but that was the closest they got to posing a real threat to James Hitchcock in the Hall Road goal. Rangers sealed the win and doubled their lead in the 90th minute when Josh Batty finished well to grab a goal after being slipped through by debutant Charlie Birley who had come off the bench just moments earlier.
Gill was very happy with how his players performed and got what was a crucial win at such a critical point of the season. “I felt we started and finished the game with great attitude. Everyone stuck to the game plan and once again we defended superbly as a team and were clinical with Josh Batty and Fraser Hansen doing the business. As the game went on we looked more dangerous by every attack but we also had a few scary moments but the lads saw that out and managed to get the second goal fully deserved”, Gill said.
In the grand scheme of things Hall Road ultimately deserved the victory because of how they defended throughout the game. They remained compact and restricted the space that Staveley had in attack and also took the chances that came to them when they attacked themselves. A lot of confidence and belief will be built from this victory and a lot of positives can be taken from this into the game against Maltby Main at Haworth Park next Tuesday night. It will be a real opportunity for Rangers to try and string back to back wins together which would be a fantastic achievement at this important stage of the season.
Gill also paid tribute to all those behind the scenes of the club and dedicated the win to them. “The chairman and vice chairman, the committee and the press lads have all been very supportive in these recent difficult few months. It was great to see them all out in numbers providing support once again. My assistant Andy Watts and young Harry Stanforth who’s taken over a coaching role with the reserves work extremely hard off the pitch throughout the week attending meetings with me and all training sessions and I’m happy for them as it all paid off for all their efforts”, Gill said.
With still a couple of games in hand on those sides above them in the NCEL Premier Division table, Rangers can simply focus on themselves and ensure they alone are responsible in securing their safety. It will be a frenetic next couple of months with plenty of games to contest so it will be all to play for and Hall Road will do everything they can to ensure they spend a second consecutive season at this level of football.
Gill summed up by praising his players for the collective attitude and spirit they have shown in the last few months. “Finally my last words go to the ones that make it happen the boys from 1-16 including the 3 young lads we have brought through our system. The lot of them have all stuck together and worked really hard with lots of challenges and they proved their worth against Staveley and got their rewards including those that are on holiday or with the reserves. My happiness from this result is seeing all these people involved happy and now we move onto Tuesday night at home against Maltby Main”, Gill concluded.