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WAREHAM RANGERS U13s vs MERLEY COBHAM SPORTS U13s: 3-4 (Dorset Cup 1 November 2015)

posted 3 Nov 2015, 06:01 by Simon McCabe   [ updated 5 Nov 2015, 13:34 ]

Pipped at the Post

A hard fought County Cup fixture against Bournemouth League Division 2 side Merley saw Rangers beaten at the last after a spirited performance from the home side which deserved a draw, if not more.

Rangers started brightly, Kyle scoring with a brilliant shot from well outside the box, and Christian beating four defenders to finish sharply to put Wareham 2-0 up after 10 minutes. Merley regained their composure however, and pulled one back in the 20th minute. This seemed to give the visitors confidence, and they levelled the scores on the stroke of half-time with a flowing move and some neat one-touch passing. 

While Merley used the width of the pitch well, Wareham always looked capable of scoring on the counter attack, and did so within a minute of the restart when Kyle played in Harry with a slide rule pass to make it 3-2. Merley came back strongly, hitting the side netting and the bar within a strong five minute spell. Sustained pressure paid off in the 38th minute when the visitors equalised from a corner.

Rangers responded well to the setback and had several chances to go back in front as the second half progressed. Joe beat several defenders and shot just over in the 40th minute. Shortly after, George slipped the ball past the Merley defence for Christian to run on to, and the striker surely would have scored had he not been carrying an injury which saw him limp through the rest of the second half. Despite this, he still managed to play in Harry with less than five minutes to go, but his trademark powering run into the box unfortunately ended with a shot going just wide rather than the usual netbuster.

To the small home crowd - outnumbered by away fans by about 3 to 1 - this felt like Wareham's last chance to win the game, and so it was, as Merley went up the other end and headed in the winner from a lofted ball into the box with only a minute to go. A cruel result as Wareham had looked more solid at the back in the second half after Dannon's switch to left-back. Alfie and Gabe did their usual solid job in the centre of defence while Samuel acquitted himself well playing out of position at right back. James made some important saves as usual between the sticks; Josh, George, Callum and Joe were all busy in midfield; and while Harry and Christian always looked capable of nicking a result for Wareham, it just wasn't to be today.

Assistant Manager Kev Keates commented “I couldn't have asked for any more from the boys today as they learnt their lessons from last week and kept battling right to the very end. Once again we looked every bit as good as a side in a supposedly superior league to ours and were unfortunate not to at least take them into extra time. Every single player did themselves proud and with a depleted squad it was great to see the lads that came into the starting lineup put in a good display. It served as a great indication of the progress we've made in the last year and if we can carry performances like today in to the league on a regular basis we should have a successful season."

Peter Moore