Hall Road Rangers 1, Penistone Church 4

Haworth Park

Saturday February 3

Toolstation NCEL Premier Division

By Ollie Harsley

Photograph supplied by Lee Myers

PHOTO: Chris Spinks netted a consolation for Hall Road in their home defeat to Penistone.

It was a bad day at the office for Hall Road Rangers on Saturday as they lost 4-1 at home to Penistone Church. The main reason why Hall Road lost this game was because of their poor defending which allowed Penistone to punish them with full effect and leave Haworth Park with all three points.

Hall Road boss Bill Gill was frustrated that his side yet again couldn’t find the final clinical touch in front of goal against Penistone. “Their manager summed things up at the end when he said we were very dangerous for the first hour or so today but we lacked a natural goal threat once again. Lots of possession, lots of chances created and arguably the better team for 60 minutes but I’ve said in previous weeks it means nothing when you don’t put the ball in the net”, Gill said.

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The first half was a very even contest as both sides aimed to create meaningful chances but the final bit of quality was lacking. The playing surface didn’t allow for fancy passes but there were a handful of opportunities which failed to properly test either goalkeeper. The best chance for Hall Road fell to Chris Spinks when he saw his goal bound effort cleared away just as it was about to trickle over the line. Spinks also had a header that just went over the bar whilst Penistone saw one of their shots go just wide of the goal and had a header go over the bar. The opening goal of the game arrived just before half time from a corner as Tom Brennan tucked home to give Penistone the lead after some very generous defending by Rangers gave him plenty of open space.

Despite the 1-0 score at half time, Hall Road stayed in the game for the first 20 minutes of the second half. Penistone created the better chances during this time as Andy Ring blazed over the bar and Nathan Keightley saw his chance go high and wide of the Hall Road goal. The visitors doubled their lead on the hour mark in bizarre circumstances as Fraser Hansen headed into his own net after James Hitchcock had produced a fine save to keep Penistone out. After this, Penistone took full control of the game and looked to add to their two goal lead. They ultimately sealed the victory in the 88th minute when Andy Ring finished well to score. Another example of Hall Road’s poor defending came in the 90th minute when substitute Freddie Russell was allowed to send his free header into the back of the net after being picked out well from a free kick into the penalty box. Hall Road did subsequently get a consolation goal through a well taken finish by Chris Spinks and James Hitchcock produced another fine save to stop Penistone getting a fifth goal.

Bill Gill praised the opposition and felt they showed the experience and confidence that his own players need to find. “We are a very young team and it is our first season at this level. Hard lessons are being learned by individuals but credit to Penistone as they stuck to their game plan and didn’t stop. They got their rewards and that’s an example of experience and confidence when things are going your way”, Gill said.

It wasn’t the result that anybody associated with Hall Road wanted as it showed how fragile defensively they were. It also cancelled out the victory at Harrogate Railway the previous week and leaves Rangers now looking down the league table rather than being able to look up it. A lot of work will be done on the training ground in the next week to address this issue and Hall Road can now look forward to successive trips to Liversedge in the next week as they face them in the 3rd Round of the NCEL League Cup and in the NCEL Premier Division.

Gill also hinted that he will make changes for the cup game at Liversedge next Tuesday evening. “There will be changes ahead of the League Cup game in midweek as we have a very busy schedule and need to rest players and try out new things”, Gill concluded.