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ROSSGARTH YOUTH U13s v WAREHAM RANGERS U13s: 2-7 (6 September 2015)

posted 6 Sep 2015, 13:31 by Simon McCabe   [ updated 6 Sep 2015, 14:08 ]

Rangers finished their promotion season earlier this year with an eight goal victory.  They couldn’t quite match that today but were not far off, and,but for the bravery of the Rossgarth keeper, would surely have done so on this, the opening day of the new season.  Having often looked like the smaller of the competing teams in previous campaigns, the Rangers team all looked like they been eating their greens during the close season, and dominated Rossgarth physically as well as tactically in most areas of the park.

 Despite Wareham’s early dominance – summed up by 11 shots to Rossgarth’s 2 in the first 15 minutes – a hatful of chances were spurned or saved before Harry’s run and shot broke the deadlock to make it 0-1.  Both sides then hit the woodwork before another powerful run into the box from Harry was ended with a foul, Dannon clinically converting the subsequent penalty for 0-2.

 As if stung by the spot kick, Rossgarth went up the other end and took advantage of a rare moment of Wareham confusion at the back to make it 1-2.  Wareham had been passing the ball out well from defence and they restored their composure to do so again and create the goal of the game: George picked the ball up in his own half, passed to Kyle, who brought in Samuel to set up Joe for a deft chip to reinstate Wareham’s two goal lead.  Half-time intervened to prevent Wareham pressing home their advantage, but not before the Rossgarth keeper had snaffled the ball from Christian’s feet for what seemed like the millionth time to deny the striker his opening goal of the league campaign.

 Rossgarth signalled their intent at the start of the second half with a shot on target saved by James.  Showing skill which the scoreline didn’t reflect, Rossgarth mounted a series of attacks at this critical stage of the game, forcing the Wareham keeper to make another good save with his feet five minutes later.  But Rangers weathered the storm, countered well and restored order when Joe calmly slotted past the Rossgarth keeper for 1-4.  Another stunning save by James at the mid-point of the second half, tipping the ball around the post with his right hand while diving high to his left, seemed to snuff out any chance of a Rossgarth recovery, and when the home side’s keeper made a rare mistake, leaving Joe’s shot from outside the box to creep in for the Wareham playmaker’s hat-trick, the contest was effectively over.  Rossgarth scored a consolation second with 10 minutes to go, but when Christian finally got his reward for perseverance to make it 2-6, and Josh scored a battling goal in the dying minutes of the game, a dominant performance by the visitors was complete.

 The switch to 11-a-side provides more opportunity for the lads who spent too much time for their liking on the subs bench in previous seasons, and with bigger pitches to play on, fresh legs will certainly be needed.  Callum in particular got up and down the right busily in the second half and was unlucky not to score.  But this was first and foremost a team performance: James, Ethan, Alfie, Gabe and George looked every bit as solid at the back as last season; Samuel, Dannon and Joe continued to combine well in midfield, an area of Wareham’s game which looks like being strengthened by new signing Kyle after an impressive debut in front of defence; and Christian and Harry looked like they could be just as devastating in the final third as they were last season.

 Manager Darren Mears commented: ‘A fantastic result today especially considering both the promotion to Div 2 and the transition from 9 to 11 a-side.  Great to watch the lads working hard for each other and also generating plenty of chances.  Despite the scoreline, we will need to be more clinical in front of goal to ensure further success this season.  All in all, a rather less stressful first match of the season than last!’

Peter Moore