Hall Road Rangers were on the wrong end of a 4-3 thriller against Scarborough Athletic on Saturday, in an action-packed affair at Dene Park. Neil Towler returned to Rangers after leaving in October, and was involved in all three home goals. But despite Rangers coming back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, seventh-placed Boro fought back with two goals in ten second half minutes to snatch victory.
Hall Road joint boss Jamie Barnwell credited his players’ work rate after an entertainingly disappointing encounter with the Seadogs. “There were points to be delighted with in terms of how we played, but we’re obviously disappointed with the result”, he said. “I couldn’t really ask any more from the players in their endeavours. We’ve learnt from the games that we’ve played, in that we applied ourselves for two halves.”
Boro top scorer Ryan Blott opened the scoring on 13 minutes with a well-guided header past Mike Burley, and left back Paddy Miller had doubled the visitors’ lead by 20 minutes. But Rangers responded with a goal just two minutes later, when skipper Steve Gawthorpe lofted a neat ball over the Boro defence to Towler, whose flick rattled the post, bounced free, and was lashed in at the second attempt by the striker. Towler turned provider for Hall Road’s second, nipping the ball into the danger area for Boro old boy Mark Griffin to angle home.
Five minutes after the restart, Rangers found themselves ahead, and for Boro ‘keeper Kevin Martin, it was in truly horrible fashion. Griffin played a looping ball into the box, which Martin misjudged and allowed to bounce straight over his head, leaving Towler with the simple task of tapping into an empty net. Hall Road’s lead didn’t last long, though, with the Seadogs levelling just three minutes later, when a defensive error allowed Blott to power in from outside the box for his second of the afternoon. And, on 63 minutes, Scarborough were in front again, with another defensive error to blame. Centre half Jamie Atkinson was dispossessed on the edge of the box by Ryan Blott, who finished coolly past Burley for his 25th of the season, and to clinch his hat-trick.
After an already heated game, things erupted with just under 15 minutes to go, when Rangers ‘keeper Mike Burley and Boro skipper Tony Hackworth came to blows in the Hall Road box. Both players were shown red cards for violent conduct, with James Fossdyke coming on between the sticks. With minutes remaining on the clock, Rangers found themselves down to nine men when two-goal hero Neil Towler was shown a straight red card for an alleged elbow on Darryl Winters. An overall entertaining game therefore ended rather sourly, and ultimately disappointingly.
Rangers were undeniably brave and perhaps deserved more. Reflecting after the game, co-boss Barnwell reserved praise for the returning Towler, who scored 11 goals in 10 games at the beginning of the season, before leaving the club for Ossett Town five months ago. “He’s done a great job for us, and he’s probably the reason we’ve scored three goals today”, Barnwell said. “He gave us an outlet, he holds up the ball and he give us a platform to build on, so it’s great to have him back.” Speaking about the game, Barnwell added that his side might have lacked a bit of guile once they had got in front. “Two of our errors have given them two goals, but the way we play, that’s sometimes going to happen, so you can’t really have a go at the lads for that. I think when we were 3-2 up, we should have been a bit more experienced in terms of keeping the ball and doing things in the right areas.”
Rangers stay in 17th ahead of Tuesday night’s League Cup Third Round tie with Parkgate.
HALL ROAD: Mike Burley, Jamie Heard, Liam Cattermole, Steve Gawthorpe, Luke Wheeldon, Jamie Atkinson, Mark Griffin, Martin Thacker, Neil Towler, Joe Cooper (Paul Wilson, 46), Danny Ricketts (James Fossdyke, 77). Subs not used: Michael Gregory, Steve Graham, Phil Jackman.
This report has been provided to us by Hall Road’s Press Officer Alex Blackburne. We are always looking for clubs to provide press releases and reports, so if you would like to do so, please get in touch. All the relevant links for Hall Road Rangers and The NCEL are below.