Rangers A faced a youthful Canterbury side for the first time at Saturday’s game, with the opposition boasting both pace and skill.
The first half was a tightly contested affair with the Rangers defence strong all half, keeping the score at 0-0 going into the break.
With chances in the first half hard to come by, coach Joseph Roppolo decided to open things up with a more attacking formation in the second half. However, Canterbury’s lift in intensity was noticeable after the break and a dangerous cross from the left led to some confusion in the Rangers defence. With Ben’s vision of the ball blinded, Canterbury scored to take the lead.
Minutes later they doubled their advantage with an amazing thunderous shot from 35 yards out to make it 2-0.
Lesser teams would have buckled but to the credit of every Rangers A player, this was when the fight started.
The first goal was the result of some persistent play and Nick expertly scored his first goal of the season. It took another 10 minutes of hard work and some good team play from Paul to set up Victor who eluded the goalkeeper and scored a goal to lock the score at 2-2.
Going into the match’s final 15 minutes, Canterbury’s pride had been noticeably wounded and they lifted a gear to snatch the game away from the Rangers, scoring another thunderbolt goal from outside the box.
Try as they might, the Rangers couldn’t find a third goal and Canterbury were deserved winners, inflicting the Rangers’ first loss of the season, at 3-2.
“I can only be pleased with the spirit, character and courage my boys have shown to come from two goals down and get back into this match. Canterbury looked that little bit sharper going
forward today and were never afraid to have a shot — a lesson we have learnt the hard way,” Roppolo said.
“Having moved up a division, we always knew it would be a challenge and I am looking forward to seeing the boys grow into a better football team. Next week I am expecting to see a response as
I know the boys don’t like losing.”
Man of the match was given to goalkeeper Ben Bagshaw for some sensational saves and great distribution.
Meanwhile, the Rangers B team recorded their first point of the season in a hard-fought game against Earlwood.
The Rangers raced into a 2-0 lead with goals from strikers James and Billy on new captain Scott’s debut and looked very comfortable 30 minutes in.
Earlwood made some tactical changes at half-time, pushing more men forward, and scored 10 minutes after the restart. With the tide changing, the Earlwood striker was sent off for swearing at the referee and tempers began to flare. An incident involving the captain and the rest of their team seemed to fire them up and they scored an equaliser from a corner with not long to go.
With minutes left, James raced down the pitch, denied by a save from their keeper before it rolled behind the goal. There were great performances all over the pitch, but the elusive first win of the season must wait until round three.