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Wareham Rangers Under 12s v Puddletown Predators 6-0 (19/10/14)

posted 19 Oct 2014, 15:29 by Simon McCabe




With 3 wins and 2 losses in Wareham Rangers Under-12s season to date, the question being asked on the touchline before kick-off was whether today's home game against Puddletown Predators would continue to build the confidence which recent seasons have shown to be so important to this team. The question had been answered conclusively by the time the final whistle blew on a convincing, if scrappy, 6-0 victory.


For long spells throughout the game Rangers camped in the opposition half, but at times struggled to impose their usual passing style. Puddletown's response to sustained pressure was to pack the area between their own box and half-way line and wait for the opportunity to counter - an understandable tactic, and it took dogged tackling and persistent running by Rangers' midfielders to overcome the resultant congestion. Harry was perhaps the finest exponent of this, his direct attacks down the left causing consternation in the Predators' box. Unfortunately, several dangerous crosses from this source, and excellent corners from Joe and Dannon, went unmet by Rangers' forwards. Nathan also saw several good shots on target saved before leaving the pitch through injury to be replaced by Christian.


Rangers superiority eventually produced goals, the Predators first turning prey when Rangers capitalised on a mis-hit goal kick in the 11th minute. This was picked up by Luke and moved neatly across the edge of the box for Dannon to drop a shoulder and make space for a crisp shot into the Puddletown net. Joe almost scored three minutes later when his own corner rebounded to the edge of the box. A further ten minutes of Rangers pressure eventually paid off when Harry's cross was palmed away by the Puddletown keeper only to be bundled in by an unfortunate defender. With half-time beckoning, Dannon turned provider for Christian to rifle low into the corner to give Rangers a comfortable and, on balance, deserved lead at the change of ends.


If it took Rangers too long to penetrate the Puddletown defence in the first half, the second half was another matter: within a minute of the restart, more determined play from Harry set up Christian to power a high shot into the stanchion which lifted the goal, and the home fans, several inches off the ground. Two minutes later and the gutsy Puddletown keeper could only push another shot into Samuel's path. Despite touchline debate, the referee did not need goal line technology to deem that the ball had trickled over the line. Three minutes after that and Christian claimed his second with a low shot from the corner of the box after Puddletown failed to clear. James was rarely troubled in the Rangers goal, but remained alert to danger, making several important clearances with his feet and gathering safely when called on to do so. The final 20 minutes saw Luke, Dannon, Christian and Joe all go close, but Rangers were unable to convert further pressure into goals. It was a credit to the visitors that they stemmed the tide over this period and fought to the end despite the one-sided scoreline.


The introduction of Samuel, who linked well with Joe on the right, Callum, terrier-like in midfield, and George, making some important interceptions and neat turns under pressure from Puddletown's forward line, maintained Rangers' dominance. This was illustrated by the corner count (17 to 1) as well as shots on goal, and the fact that George, Ethan and Gabe were all able to push up from defence to create opportunities for themselves in the final 15 minutes. In truth, Rangers starting back line of Gabe, Alfie and Ethan rarely looked like being breached, and this firm foundation remained so after second-half substitutions. All the subs made their mark, in fact, suggesting that Rangers have strength in depth this season as well as the spirit and skill which they demonstrated on their way to promotion in 2013-14. 


Rangers' Manager Darren Mears commented: 'Overall a good performance in difficult playing conditions against stubborn opposition. Although we find ourselves top of the division, we mustn't be complacent but continue to work hard as a team and stick to our footballing principles'.