Hall Road Rangers 4, Parkgate 1

Toolstation NCEL Premier Division

Haworth Park

Tuesday April 24

By Neil Winsor

HALL Road Rangers appear to be winning their battle against relegation as another performance full of bottle saw them see off Parkgate at Haworth Park last night.

Not even 24 hours had passed since the final kick at Liversedge on Monday night, however except for the opening stages, they were few signs that Rangers had played so soon previous.

In a performance that included a swagger, not usually present in a team battling against relegation, Rangers took a major step towards survival by escaping the bottom three places in the table.

It was inevitable that changes would be made and with Jack Griffin available once again he was one of three, whilst Conner Harman and Sam O’Malley were promoted from the substitutes bench.

It was also pleasing to see Josh Batty return from illness, whilst there was also a spot for Louis Bruce amongst five Hall Road substitutes.

The visitors started the brighter as they brought a high energy to their midfield and James Hitchcock in the Rangers goal had to be alert to two early efforts, the first a long range effort on a greasy surface, and the second from a close range header by Brissett.

When Hall Road got to grips with the game, they didnt really look back as Danny Norton registered their first effort on ten minutes which although sailed harmlessly wide gave Rangers confidence.

The hosts then took the lead six minutes later as young Reggi Waud further rubber stamped his potential with another quality strike to back up his scissor kick effort at Athersley Recreation.

Waud cut in from the left and backed himself to find the bottom far corner which he located, from nearly 25 yards to nudge Rangers in front.

Parkgate huffed and puffed to try and get back on terms and a sweeping move from right to left led to a curling effort, failing to test Hitchcock who saw the ball float over the crossbar.

Their best chance though fell on 29 minutes as a short cross to the near post somehow was not converted as ‘The Steelmen’ again failed to trouble Hitchcock.

As the rain worsened Rangers began to take control and turn the screw.

Danny Norton did well on the right to feed Sam O’Malley who was denied by Housley who got down well to save before Conner Harman came off worse challenging for a header and took an accidental elbow above his left eye, a wound which needs gluing, and the former Bridlington midfielder was replaced by Alex Stock, six minutes before half-time.

With the rain showing no sign of letting up during the break, the next goal was going to be all important and Hall Road managed the conditions better then their opponents, who reguarly lost their footing.

Although Hitchcock had to save well from an acrobatic Clayden effort two minutes after the restart, Hall Road always looked the more likely.

Ten minutes later they broke Parkgate resistance once more to double their lead.

Jack Binns latched onto Reggie Waud’s left sided pass in a move which also involved Gareth Owen.

Binns lost his marker on the edge of the area and raced clear to fire nicely into the far corner to put Hall Road in an excellent position with just over thirty minutes to play.

Rangers amped up their intensity and O’Malley’s excellent work rate was almost rewarded after pinching the ball from a Parkgate defender however their rearguard recovered to clear.

Just as it appeared though that the hosts would grab a third a period of uncertainty followed for ten minutes as Parkgate reduced the arrears.

Bagley converted on the half volley with the ball on the rise via the inside of the far post off the right hand angle on 66 minutes.

The goal galvanised Parkgate briefly and a few nervy moments followed with their best opportunity again landing at the feet of Bagley who struck the side netting.

Hall Road once again regained their composure though and restored their two goal advantage with sixteen minutes to play.

O’Malley cleverly dropped deep on the left and delivered a devilish cross which did just enough to tease Norton who’s gamble paid off with a pin-point header past the lunge of Housley into the right side of the net.

This was enough to polish off the visitors and Hall Road could have added further goals, and had Housley not denied Spinks and Binns in the space of two minutes the score could have looked more favourable.

Binns was again unfortunate as a rapid counter attack saw the wide man through on goal on the right angle.

Binns effort was well struck and beat Housley at the near post but could only rattle the outside upright of the post as the score remained 3-1,

Hall Road were not to be denied a fourth goal though as substitute Josh Batty who had replaced Waud broke clear in added time to put the icing on the cake.

Batty made no mistake as he rolled the ball home from the right hand side of the posts to lift Hall Road out of the bottom three of the NCEL Premier Division with six games left to play, and pile the pressure on Harrogate Railway who play Hemsworth MW tonight.