Rangers Unable To Hold Onto Lead
Hall Road Rangers surrendered a two-goal lead at Dene Park on Tuesday night, as promotion hopefuls Bridlington Town won 4-2 in the NCEL Premier Division.
A trademark free kick from Martin Thacker had put Rangers ahead just after the half hour mark, with debutant Jamie Atkinson putting the home side two in front just after the break. However, two quickfire goals on 62 and 65 minutes for Brid – from Craig Hogg and Nathan Cook – pulled them level, before Billy Logan headed in a third with five minutes left. Substitute James Bennett added a fourth in injury time.
Joint boss Jamie Barnwell, although naturally disappointed with not picking up any points, saw positives in his side’s performance. “I’m delighted with the way the boys went about their business in the first half”, Barnwell said. “For two passing teams, I thought we probably had the lion’s share of the possession, and I think we lost the game because we stopped doing that. In the second half there was a massive spell where we stopped passing the ball and went a bit long, and that allowed them to get into the game and apply a bit of pressure”.
Barnwell’s co-manager Thacker, who had a brief spell at Brid over Christmas before returning to Hall Road this month, scored his second goal of the season after 33 minutes with a 30-yard free kick that evaded Mark Wilberforce’s despairing dive. Another Thacker free kick lead to Rangers’ second goal. This time, Wilberforce managed to parry but centre back Jamie Atkinson, a new signing from Appleby Frodingham, was there to nod in the rebound. Injuries then forced Hall Road ‘keeper Mike Burley and defender Michael Gregory off the field, with youngsters James Fossdyke and Luke Wheeldon replacing them.
“The two changes probably affected us a little bit, with two experienced players coming off the park”, claimed Barnwell. “That probably upset the balance a little bit and gave Brid a bit of impetus, but I still think we were the masters of our own demise really, in that we stopped doing what we were good at for the rest of the game – passing the ball well”. An incisive break from the visitors saw Craig Hogg latch onto Josh Greening’s pass to fire home from close range, with Nathan Cook poking in a cross from the left just three minutes later. With Brid firmly in the driving seat in the latter stages, Billy Logan rose highest with five minutes to go to put his side in front, and James Bennett added insult to injury in stoppage time with a neat dink over Fossdyke.
Barnwell concluded on the result, which leaves Rangers in 17th, ahead of Saturday’s away trip to Brighouse. “Regardless of the result, the performance has given us a massive lift”, he said. “We’ll approach the Brighouse game in the same vein that we have done in the past two. “We know first and foremost that we’ve got to work hard – the Northern Counties East League is all about that. “If we can match people for their endeavour and their work rate, then we’ve got more than enough ability to take the club up the league”.
Kick-off at Brighouse’s Dual Seal Stadium is 3pm.
HALL ROAD: Mike Burley (James Fossdyke, 55), Ricky Foster, Liam Cattermole, Steve Gawthorpe, Michael Gregory (Luke Wheeldon, 55), Jamie Atkinson, Mark Griffin, Martin Thacker, Steve Graham, Paul Wilson, Adam Crane (Danny Moore, 70). Subs not used: Dane Mortimer, Richard Gibson.
Many thanks as always to Rangers’ Press Officer Alex Blackburne for this report and interviews. All the related links are below.
Follow Alex on Twitter: @AlexBlackburne
Follow Hall Road Rangers on Twitter: @HRRFC
Rangers’ Official Website
NCEL Official Website