Liversedge 4, Hall Road Rangers 3

Toolstation NCEL League Cup Third Round

Clayborn Ground

Saturday February 10

By Ollie Harsley

Hall Road Rangers are out of the NCEL League Cup after they lost 4-3 to Liversedge in what was a frenetic game. Defensive mistakes cost Rangers yet again and it took a last gasp penalty for the home side to clinch the victory and avoid extra time.

Hall Road boss Bill Gill is relatively pleased with his side’s recent performances but laments how the previous couple of months were unsatisfactory. “It seems like the last couple of months we have had no luck whatsoever and only excuses. However, in recent games our performance levels have risen and we have a good dressing room. Progress is being made and we are very close to getting another result like we had at Harrogate Railway. It is challenging but also rewarding to see things coming together again after a tough ride in recent months”, Gill said.

Liversedge took the lead almost immediately inside the 1st minute as Joseph Walton finished well after brushing aside the Hall Road defence. Rangers began to work their way back into the game and arguably were on top for the rest of the half. They saw a header go just wide from a free kick but the visitors equalised in the 13th minute after Josh Batty diverted a shot from Chris Spinks into the Liversedge net. Hall Road then turned things round completely and took the lead in the 15th minute when Danny Norton fired a thunderous strike into the net after being superbly played through by Jack Griffin in what was a free flowing counter attacking move. However, they couldn’t hold onto their lead until half time as Liversedge equalised to make it 2-2 in the 41st minute after Andrew Wood poked home with the help of more lacklustre defending from Hall Road.

Rangers started the second half the better of the two sides and regained the lead in the 52nd minute through a fine strike from Chris Spinks. They could have made things more comfortable for themselves later in the half when Fraser Hansen fired a shot over the bar. The score line became 3-3 in the 67th minute as Oliver Dyson scored. The game looked like it was heading for extra time until Liversedge were awarded a controversial penalty which  Brandon Kane converted in the 82nd minute to send Liversedge through to the 4th Round of the competition.

Gill was happy with the attacking intent his players showed against Liversedge but also pointed out that he needs to address the defensive issues his side have. “We showed how dangerous we are going forward. It is just going back the other way at the moment that we need to work on and develop which we have identified and it will be addressed in the coming weeks”, Gill said.

The focus for Hall Road firmly shifts towards the league after their cup exit. They have two home games in succession to come against Maltby Main and Bottesford Town, points need to be picked up fairly quickly as Rangers aim to avoid relegation and stay in the NCEL Premier Division.

Gill also felt the officials were not at their best and that a couple of the decisions they made were not the right ones. “Full respect to Jonathan Rimmington and his team as they won the game. However, I’m sure they will agree that the game was officiated very poorly. Right at the end the referee spoilt the game with a penalty decision that was wrong in many ways. However, we move on and look forward to welcoming Maltby Main to Haworth Park next week”, Gill concluded.