The Rangers first team progressed to the Sussex FA Intermediate Cup Final after seeing through a dogged display against high quality opposition from the MSFL Premier Division.
After beating four SCFL County Division Two sides to reach this stage, Forest Row were always going to be a tough test for the hosts.
Rangers got off to a perfect start (with work on the training ground midweek paying dividends) when Ashley Hawkins headed in a Dylan Nanuck free kick after just two minutes.
Just 10 minutes in and Rangers doubled their lead when Hawkins made a nuisance of himself underneath an aerial ball which the keeper had come for only for Nanuck to fire home a rebound from a tight angle.
But just four minutes later, “Frow” pulled a goal back after the simplest of passes found a willing runner who calmly slotted past Jay Tibble in the Rangers goal.
Tibble was called into action midway through the half when he athletically tipped over a long range effort, while at the other end, rangers nearly added another to their tally when Ben Barnett headed just wide.
At the break it was still all to play for with the away side edging the later stages of the opening period.
During the second half, Rangers defended resolutely and Tibble made another two superb saves despite the offside flag being raised on both occasions.
Rangers had to wait until the 85th minute when, for the second time in two weeks, substitute Will Gray made an impact after breaking away and firing a low drive into the far corner to give Rangers a two goal cushion.
With the game becoming more stretched, there were chances for Hawkins and Josh Harris to extend the lead but both fired over.
The full time whistled followrd shortly after, history was made with Rangers making their first Sussex FA Intermediate Cup Final at just the second attempt.
The Old Dave’s Gourmet Burgers MOM was awarded to Ash Hawkins who put in a tremendous display up front.
Many thanks to everyone who made today a great day, including the unused substitutes and tea lady Grant Smith.
The Final will be played on Tuesday 24th April, 7.15pm kick off at Sussex FA HQ (Lancing) against Rustington of SCFL Division Two who were 5-2 winners today against Angmering Seniors.
The Rangers first team put in their best performance of the season and took yet another higher ranked scalp after two goals in each half saw them secure safe passage into the semi final of the Sussex FA Intermediate Cup after knocking out holders Cowfold in blustery conditions on the sports park 3G.
With both teams lining up identically, Rangers felt they could more than match their opponents who play their football in SCFL Divison Two. After finding their feet in the opening minutes, Rangers began to assert themselves, adapting to the blustery conditions far better than the visitors. On 17 minutes, Rangers took the lead when marksman Josh Harris saw his shot from outside the box take a deflection off of a defender which sailed into the back of the net.
With the Rangers back four being more than comfortable against the surprising amount of long balls being thrust upon them, it wasn’t really a surprise when Rangers doubled their lead on the stroke of half time. Ben Barnett superbly broke up play in the middle of the park before releasing the menacing Will Gray down the left. The weight of pass from Barnett tempted the Cowold keeper to come out to the edge of his box, but the spritley Gray nipped in first, rounded the keeper and stroked the ball into an unguarded net.
With the visitors visibly rattled and arguing amongst themselves, Rangers felt they were in the driving seat at the break, but not just due to the scoreline. An excellent first 45 minutes would have to be matched in the second period as it was expected Cowfold would come out hard in the early exchanges.
However, as with the majority of the afternoon, Rangers continued to frustrate their opponents with Ben Jesson, Tony Russell and Barnett resolute in midfield while the back four continued to apply themselves superbly, no more so than Ade Fermin who saw off the dangerous number 11 all game.
Rangers were to have some half chances through Harris and Gray but it was the former who put the game to bed on 79 minutes when his volley from 25 yards sailed over the keeper and into the roof of the net to give the red and blacks a well deserved 3 goal cushion.
Five minutes later, Dylan Nanuck picked up the ball on the left, cut inside and unleashed a fine finish into the far corner to put some proverbial icing on the cake for 4-0.
The result didn’t really flatter rangers who could have had one or two more, while at the other end, keeper Jason Tibble had a relatively quiet afternoon.
This was a superb team performance from front to back, but the Old Dave’s Gourmet Burgers MOM was awarded to Will Gray – hard working, industrious and a constant thorn in Cowfolds side.
The semi final will be played on March 10th on the Sports Park 3G where rangers will face either Forest Row or Jarvis Brook, who play their quarter final on Feb 17th.
A severely depleted ESFL team put in a performance of great togetherness at Hooe Rec to come away with a massive three points.
Rangers called upon the semi-retired Luke Barber to put on the Rangers colours for just the third time this season with Tom O’Keefe also making his first competitive start of the for Rangers after some time away from football. A debut for recent signing Michael Brown at full back also complemented a squad which had nine regulars missing.
The red and blacks took the lead as early as the fourth minute when a Ben Courtnage in-swinging corner, assisted by the howling wind, caused panic in the box which saw top scorer Tony Russell score from close range.
Andy Albon made good saves either side of a goal-saving last ditch Brown intervention while at the other end the visitors were left scratching their heads when Matt Haydock, clearly tripped in the area, was not awarded a spot kick by the referee.
With the wind howling around the Rec, Rangers went in a solitary goal up at the break but new there was still plenty of work to be done.
Sidley started off the strongest in the second half and had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down, with the referee adjudging the offence to have occurred just outside the area.
United were back on level terms though on 52 minutes after the referee failed to award a freekick to skipper Carl Kenward , who was bundled to the floor, and from the resulting throw-in, the Sidley player flicked the ball on at the near post for the dangerous (and unmarked) number 10 to tuck away the simplest of goals to bring the score level.
Rangers responded with a fabulous chance created by Dan Wilkes and Ben Courtnage on the Rangers right hand side with the latter fizzing a ball across the six yard box where Meier was excellently denied by the United keeper.
With 14 minutes to go Russell appeared to have the the ball in the net from another Courtnage corner but the referee felt the Sidley defender had done enough to make the goal line clearance despite furious protests from the Rangers players.
With 2 minutes of normal time left, Rangers finally got their reward when a Sidley player handled the ball in the area. Up stepped Russell who just about beat the keeper to his left, 2-1 rangers.
After an age of time added on, the full time whistle finally blew – a dogged and defiant display from a determined set of players.
The Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co. MOM was awarded to debutant Michael Brown who put in an exceptional display in his first appearance for the club – top work Browny!
Many thanks to Luke Barber and Tom O’Keefe for helping out today, to substitutes Brad Meredith and Jack Lovick, and to suprise arrival Dan Wilkes who become available to play at the last minute. And thanks also to our referees assistant Andy Plumb who recieved uneccesary taunts from his opposite number before the game.
Great job all round. ?
Copthorne III 2-2 Eastbourne Rangers MSFL
With three players missing from the squad that were victorious the previous week, it was an under strength MSFL team that took the pitch against Copthorne 3rds.
Copthorne started off at a very high tempo and were closing Rangers down quickly, but they soon ran out of steam which gave Rangers more space to knock the ball around. The build up play from front to back was proving effective and chances were being created with both Noble and Kyte shooting just wide on two occasions each. The pressure did pay of eventually when Saunders made a good run down the left and put in a dangerous cross which their centre back could only head into his own net.
Copthorne’s main threat was coming from set pieces and they almost equalised on a couple of occasions through this route. However Rangers were dominating possession and continuing to create chances with Horton only being denied by a last ditch tackle.
Going in 1-0 up at half time probably didn’t really reflect Rangers overall dominance. A 2 or 3 goal lead wouldn’t have unfair based on Rangers dominance and the chances created.
As the 2nd half progressed Copthorne started to come into the game more. But Rangers were continuing to apply pressure, with Noble, Kyte and Strong all having good chances and the Copthorne keeper making several excellent saves. Eventually Rangers did extend their lead when they got a free kick on the left hand corner of the box. Up stepped Strong to bend the ball into the far top corner with the keeper motionless. A deserved 2-0 lead and Rangers were now cruising.
The game did really begin to change when Copthorne made changes and brought on fresh legs, a luxury that Rangers didn’t have with only one substitute. That substitution had already been made earlier in the 2nd half as Saunders had been unable to continue due to injury. Horton was also struggling to carry on due to an injury. Copthorne took advantage of Rangers starting to run out of steam and were applying a lot of pressure. The majority of the game was now being played in Rangers half. However the Rangers back line was standing firm and Bell made a couple of good saves to keep the home team out.
They did eventually get back into the game in controversial circumstances. A corner was swung in which Rangers were unable to clear. This led to a goalmouth scramble, a couple of attempts to force the ball home were blocked before Bell eventually grabbed the ball on the line. But the referee decided that the ball had already crossed the line and awarded a goal.
Copthorne sensed that they could get something from the game now and Rangers had a let off when from another corner a point blank header from right in front of goal was put over the bar. Rangers looked like they were going to hold on for a deserved win as the clock ticked past 90 minutes. The referee indicated that he was playing 3 minutes of injury time. With 5 of minutes of injury time already played, the most contentious moment of the game occurred.
A diagonal clearance was made from Rangers right back area into Copthorne’s half. Strong who was in an offside position, stood motionless with his hands up to show that he wasn’t going for the ball. The linesman still raised his flag, but in the meantime Kyte who was onside raced onto the ball. However the referee blew up for the offside and indicated that he thought Kyte was the one offside despite him starting his run in his own half and being quite a way behind Strong. Even the Copthorne players were saying that Kyte wasn’t the one offside. The referee actually admitted that he had made a mistake, but still awarded the free kick to Copthorne. The kick was floated into Rangers half, were it fell kindly for a Copthorne player about 25 yards out. He hit a speculative low shot that went through a Rangers player’s legs and fizzed past an unsighted Bell into the bottom corner. With the referee blowing the final whistle straight afterwards without restarting the game, a shell shocked Rangers were left to rue what could have been. Coming home with a draw instead of the win they deserved and looked like getting for 95 minutes almost felt like a loss. Their 1st half performance certainly deserved more, although they ended up paying for all the missed chances.
However on reflection, Rangers can be proud of an excellent performance with a threadbare squad where they battled hard all game with 3 injured players. If they can continue performing like this, then there is still a chance of them gaining some silverware this season.
The Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co. MOM was deservedly awarded to Cristos Misirlis who put in an excellent performance in the middle of the park and never stopped running.
The Rangers MSFL team put in an excellent display against Crawley Devils to come away with three crucial league points in Division Two.
After a fairly even first 25 minutes Rangers went a goal behind, a result of some lax defending, firstly allowing a cross into the box from the left and secondly for leaving the dangerous number 10 free to head home giving Martin Bell no chance in the Rangers goal.
Shortly after the restart a corner from Julian Waters was headed goalwards by Luke Davies only for Glen Noble to intercept and score with a shot on the turn from 5 yards out. Three minutes later another Waters corner was met at the near post by Noble who headed home clinically for his second of the game.
Rangers maintained their lead thanks to an amazing clearance off the line from Aaron Saunders after Martin Bell had been beaten. On 60 minutes the home side got back on level terms but Rangers were not to be denied with Noble finishing off a great move to complete his hatrick.
Noble thought he had got his forth 10 minutes later with a brilliant volley but was ruled offside. Rangers had a scare late on when Kyle Daines looked to have brought down the Devils striker in the box but the referee waved away the appeals from the home side.
A great win against a team that had led the division early on in the season and it sees Rangers move up to 6th in the league.
The Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co MOM was awarded to Glen Noble.
Eastbourne Rangers ESFL 3-1 Robertsbridge United
The Rangers ESFL team put in a dominant display against Robertsbridge United to ensure they stretched their league unbeaten run to 6 games.
Rangers were on the front foot from kick off and could well have had two goals in the opening exchanges only for Dan Wilkes to fire at the keeper and Matt Haydock over the bar.
Rangers, despite all of their early dominance, found themselves frustratingly a goal down after a mistake invited a period of pressure from the the away side which saw the United striker finish clinically from 6 yards.
Rangers responded by still troubling United at every available opportunity with Wilkes in particular looking extremely dangerous down the right flank. More chances went begging before Matt Haydock was fouled 30 yards from goal. Up stepped Luke Regan who fired over the wall and high into the top corner to bring Rangers deservedly on level terms, a goal of the season contender for aure.
It could have been so much better at the break after Josh Harris was chopped down in the area with one minute remaining but the usually dependable Tony Russell hit the post with the resulting penalty kick….. all square the interval.
Half time saw very little change with regards to tactics, Rangers had been well and truly on top and felt they could win the game.
Rangers almost scored from the restart without United touching the ball but Wilkes somehow fired over the bar from a left wing centre. But not to be deterred, Wilkes gave Rangers the lead on 59 minutes after he beat the keeper from 14 yards out after his excellent first touch from Charlie Shearings exquisite cross field pass took him away from the attending defender.
Rangers had a few scares at the back mainly failing to deal with United’s predicable direct approach but the clear cut chances continued to be made by Rangers who knew they needed another goal to kill the game off.
And in the 92nd minute, Rangers got there reward when substitute Kent Meier squared the ball up to the on rushing (and fellow substitute) Ben Courtnage who made no mistake with the finish to give Rangers a well deserved win.
An excellent result from Rangers who showed great character and determination to come from behind for the third game in succession.
The Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co MOM was awarded to Luke Regan, with Dan Wilkes and Lee Chapman coming close.
Top work to both teams.
Our thanks to sponsors Abacus Flame, Koly Scaffold and Sanders Property Management.
For the second week running Eastbourne Rangers came from behind to claim three valuable points which moves them up to fight in the ESFL Premier Division.
After turning a 2-1 deficit around last week at Westfield to eventually win 8-2, the new found resilience and belief throughout the squad was plain to see yet again.
Rangers could have been 2 goals up in the space of the opening 2 minutes with the away keeper saving well from a close range Matt Haydock effort while a looping Lee Chapman header cannoned off the crossbar. Rangers continued to carve open chances with Atheletic’s only effort of note in the opening half an hour well saved by Andy Albon in the rangers goal.
The home side continued to dominate but found themselves unbelievably a goal down 10 minutes before the break after a low cross from the rangers left was tucked away by the Ore number 9. Haydock was again denied by the Ore keeper, this time from long range, and the red and blacks went in 1 down at the interval.
Having been in this position before the message was to not to panic and with a slight tweak in formation rangers set about their task.
The second period followed a similar pattern to the first with rangers dominating possession and territory with Ore looking most threatening on the break. Chances for Dan Wilkes, Tony Derese, Josh Harris and plenty more half chances scattered around the team were not capitalised on and this saw a further change in formation and personnel with 20 minutes remaining.
Substitute Connor Sullivan was the architect of rangers equaliser turning the ball round the corner with a “no look” pass to Wilkes on the right wing with Wilkes picking out another substitute in the form of Josh Kyte who tapped the ball in from 4 yards, and now it was very much game on with 18 minutes left to play.
Rangers continued to press in their new shape and were rewarded for their endeavour with 9 minutes remaining when Luke Regan fired home a loose ball from just inside the Ore area.
Rangers had a scare at the back in the dying moments when Kyle Daines sliced a clearance over Albon with the ball thankfully rebounding off the post to safety. Albon was also called upon again late on stopping well when the Ore striker was through one on one.
All in all, the right result with rangers the more dominant side throughtout. Special mentions to Albon who made two key saves and to the returning Wilkes who had an excellent game on the wing but the Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co. MOM was awarded to Lee Chapman who had a great game at full back.
Next week rangers face Battle Baptists at home in the quarter final of the league cup.
The Rangers ESFL team put in a solid display against a youthful SCFL Premeir League Hailsham Town side in their last game of 2016.
Rangers took the lead midway through the first half when Jacob Adlam sprung the Hailsham high line and raced away to finish calmly past the home keeper.
Town nearly found their way back into the game twice but the post and then the crossbar ensured Rangers went in a goal up at the break.
A change of formation and personnel saw the introduction of Kent Meier and the returning Dan Wilkes for the second period. But it was top scorer Tony Russell who doubled Rangers lead from long range while a Hailsham defender rifled the ball into his own net after a great cross from Meier which gave Rangers an unassailable three goal lead.
Wilkes, Dylan Nanuck and Josh Harris came close to adding further goals for the away team with the only blot on the Rangers copy book coming with 12 minutes to go with a nicely finished Hailsham goal which saw the score end at 3-1.
The Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co. was awarded to Ben Barnett who had a great game at the back.
Many thanks to Hailsham for the game (and the invite) and good luck to them for the rest of the season.
The Rangers ESFL team put in a solid, professional display against TD Shipley of the WSFL Premier Division to set up a mouthwatering last 16 Sussex Intermediate Cup trip to Jarvis Brook of SCFL Division 2.
The visitors shaded the early exchanges without making any clear cut chances but it was Rangers who took the lead on 24 minutes after Greg Manton rolled back the years down the left wing (!) and eventually teed up Dylan Nanuck at the back post for the opening goal of the game.
The Shipley high line was proving a risky ploy against a lively Rangers attacking four but it was Tony Russell who doubled Rangers lead after he curled in a 30 yarder with the outside of his right boot.
Substitute Shaun Evans then got on the score sheet after the Shipley line let Evans slip though the net, with the Rangers striker scoring at the second time of asking with the keeper equal to his first effort on goal.
The goal of the game was the last goal of the contest when Ben Barnett won the ball from just inside is own half and sped through the Shipley line. With only the keeper to beat, Barnett chipped the ball exquisitely into the top corner to seal a fabulous Rangers victory.
The Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co. MOM was awarded to Ben Barnett.
The Rangers ESFL team put in a dogged performance to claim three valuable league points against St Leonards Social. After two withdrawals earlier in the day due to illness, Rangers only had a bare 11 to compete in the match. The game also saw Rangers wear black armbands in memory of Joan and Al Albon, grandparents of Rangers stopper Andy, both of whom had passed away in the last 10 days.
The red and blacks looked the more likely to open the scoring and a moment of magic from Matt Haydock saw him earn a penalty on 25 minutes, which Haydock dispatched past the keeper from 12 yards.
After the break, rangers had to face all the elements with the wind and the rain now in full force. Rangers doubled their lead on 57 minutes through the most unlikely of sources when emergency call up Dan Chapman diverted a clever Haydock corner into the back of the net.
Rangers continued to press for an all important third goal with a Ben Barnett header and a Ben Courtnage long range drive coming close. But the visitors managed to pull a goal back with 22 minutes to go after a defensive error let the Social striker poke past a helpless Andy Albon in the rangers goal.
A change in shape from the visitors saw more space become apparent on both rangers wings with the injured Courtnage, who struggled on through the match, was finding space down the right while Dylan Nanuck was now a constant threat down the left. But with 10 minutes to go, Rangers retained their two goal cushion. Tony Russell won the ball in midfield and picked out a clever run from Haydock on the Rangers right wing. Haydock powerfully drove into the Social box, and despite finding himself at a tight angle, slotted the ball past the keeper which secured the red and blacks their second league win of the season.
The Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co MOM was awarded to Matt Haydock – 2 goals, an assist and great all round play.
The club would like to dedicate this win to Joan and Al Albon.
Buxted II 0-6 Eastbourne Rangers MSFL
The MSFL team eventually took to the field following on from Buxted’s 1st team game which was quite eventful with 2 red cards. The 3.30pm kick off turned into a 4pm but the waiting around didn’t harm the team, who like the ESFL, effectively had a bare 11.
Rangers started brightly trying to take the game to the opponents early. A Julian Waters corner fell to Dave Bennett-Tomlin who gave it back to Waters which saw the ball swung back in. The ball hit Chris Ward at the back post and with the home side appealing for handball he poked it back to Kyle Daines who finished it off, 1-0.
Rangers doubled their lead after 12 minutes when Jamie Strong found Luke Regan with a nice ball and he lobbed it over the on rushing keeper. Buxted started to mount some attacks of their own but a quick formation change with Regan going wide and Strong going up top payed dividends after 34 mins. Mike Pickard played the ball through to Strong who chipped it over the onrushing keeper for 3-0.
Three minutes later it was 4-0 when a Cristos Misirlis ball out of defence found Strong, which saw the home keeper appealing for handball again instead of getting into position, and Strong sent the ball sailing over the keepers head.
A great 1st half from the Rangers.
The impressive Bennett-Tomlin, who seemed to be there whenever Buxted attacked, turned provider on 56 mins with a smart ball into Luke Davies who shot across the keeper to give Rangers a five goal lead.
Rangers had a scare when Buxted hit the post but that was the best it got for them. Strong claimed his hat-trick and Rangers 6th in the 85th minute a good finish from a Davies ball in.
The Old Dave’s Gourmet Burger Co MOM was awarded to Jamie Strong for his hat trick and assist just edging out Bennett-Tomlin.
Hopefully this can kick start Rangers push up the table.