By Ollie Harsley
HALL Road boss Bill Gill has been reflecting on the first half of the season for his squad and is relatively pleased with the progress his side have made.
“At the turn of the year we wanted to be sitting around 10-12th place and we aren’t too far away from that.
We have a superb group of players, a hard working committee and loyal fans which is very positive looking to the second half of the season”, Gill said.
Gill’s reflection comes after another frustrating afternoon for Hall Road Rangers at Haworth Park yesterday as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Barton Town.
It could have been a different story though had Rangers took their chances in the first half, they ultimately lived to regret those spurned opportunities as they suffered yet another setback on home soil.
If any side was to score a goal in the first half it would have certainly been Hall Road as they carved out 5 or 6 reasonable goal scoring opportunities.
It was a combination of poor finishing from Rangers and the superb work of Sam Riches in the Barton goal that stifled any possibility of those chances being converted into goals.
Danny Norton had two shots blocked by the Barton defence and also saw another shot deflected over the bar.
Conner Harman and Tom Bennett both had instances where they failed to connect with the ball and if they had then Rangers would have scored a couple of goals.
The best chance came just before half time, as Chris Spinks saw his shot go just wide of the mark which ended a half where Hall Road should have scored 4 or 5 goals.
Barton began to grow in confidence at the start of the second half having come through unscathed in the first period.
The main difference between the sides was that The Swans made sure their chances counted and this was crucial to giving the visitors all three points.
Barton took the lead in the 69th minute when Jordan Day headed home from a corner and was helped by some poor marking by Hall Road.
This goal gave the balance of power to The Swans and they looked a completely different side from the one in the first half that looked vulnerable defensively. The Swans doubled their lead in the 90th minute, when Joey McCormick slotted home into an empty net, after Hall Road goalkeeper James Hitchcock was robbed of possession after rushing out from his goal.
Gill was frustrated with his side’s result against Barton Town.
“We had 5/6 great opportunities in the first half including hitting the woodwork twice. After half time, Barton got more possession but we still looked the most likely team to score but poor marking for another corner cost us.
From there on, we looked rushed and started to commit more bodies forward which ultimately lead to Barton’s second goal”, Gill said.
Gill was also keen to highlight the importance of the support that his team have had from those who have watched Hall Road Rangers this year. “Thanks for all of the support the fans have given me and my players in 2017, we really do appreciate everyone’s efforts and we hope this continues in 2018”, Gill concluded.
It wasn’t the best result to have just before Christmas but it means that it will be all the more important for Hall Road to bounce back in the new year.
Rangers will have back to back home games against Bottesford Town and Parkgate to kick off 2018, and it will be an opportunity to try and build some momentum up for the second half of the season as they look to consolidate a top half position in the NCEL Premier Division table.