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12/13 Match Reports

4th May
Eastbourne Rangers 2 v 1 Mayfield
Luke Davies 69'
Luke Davies 87'

Eastbourne Rangers completed their league season on Saturday with a 2-1 home win over relegation threatened Mayfield. With gaffer Nick Stevenson away on business, Robbo was left in charge of matchday affairs and found himself without Jules Waters, Dave Bennett-Tomlin and Tom Tribe. The rangers line up saw Grant Smith in goal with skipper Dan Harmer and Mike Pickard at centre half. Ryan Webb got the nod at left back while Mark Hymans finally returned from injury to take his place at right back. Rob Anderson and Conor Middleton were the heartbeat of the rangers midfield while on the rangers flanks, Josh Kyte and Stuart Potter took up their posts on the left and right respectively. Glen Noble returned to the rangers front line after missing the last 3 games and was partnered by Luke Davies. This saw top scorer Ben Jesson, Ricky Curran and Chris Ward on the rangers bench.

Chances were few and far between in the first half with Kyte hitting the bar with an effort from the left and Middleton firing a freekick just wide of the upright. At the other end, Smith was particularly commanding in goal which saw him rush out on two occasions at the feet of the opposition only to find himself maimed by trailing studs on both occasions. 50/50 according to the Mayfield players, and with the referee not up with play; all he could do was agree.

With the score 0-0 at half time, Mayfield were maybe the happier of the two teams, as a draw might well have been enough for them. With the troops fired up during the interval, much was expected of rangers in the second half. Struggling for match fitness, Hymans had to be withdrawn due to cramp early on which saw auxiliary full back Chris Ward replace old glass legs. Rangers applied themselves well in terms of effort, something that was lacking 7 days previous. The opening goal of the game came on 67 minutes when a sweeping move from the rangers right found Davies unmarked on the edge of the Mayfield box. Davies duly applied a first time finish which dipped over the keeper to give rangers a 1-0 lead.

This saw Pickard replaced by Curran at centre half after the big man picked up a little niggle. Mayfield offered very little in the way of knocking the ball around although their number 8 looked very tidy on the ball. It was indeed the number 8 that split the rangers centre pairing with a lofted ball over the top. With rangers flat footed, the Mayfield striker gleefully dinked the ball over Smith in the rangers goal, much to the delight of the travelling players. 1-1.

Rangers left it late to secure the winning goal which came from a corner. Middleton picked out the Mayfield defender at the near post who swung and missed his clearance. This caught the keeper by surprise who could only parry the ball with his chest and Davies was on hand to poke the ball home from 2 yards to seal rangers the win.

MOM was close with Smith yet again outstanding in the rangers goal but the silver fox Dan Harmer sealed the award with a dogged defensive display, and he is sure to be a big loss for the cup final on Tuesday night.

This win sees rangers enhance their lead at the top of division 4 with the title sealed by 4 points. A superb rangers effort for the third consecutive season truly means rangers are now even more on the map than ever before and are potentially the most successful league winning side in the East Sussex Football League in recent times. Top work one and all.

Rangers last game of the season is the cup final on Tuesday night against Herstmonceux fronts at The Oval. This is bound to be an intriguing affair, miss it at your own peril.

#superrangers

(4-4-2)

GK Grant Smith
RB Mark Hymans (Christian Ward 65')
LB Ryan Webb
CB Dan Harmer (c) - MOM
CB Mike Pickard (Ricky Curran 70')
CM Connor Middleton
CM Rob Anderson
RW Stuart Potter
LW Josh Kyte
F Glen Noble
F Luke Davies
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