|Thors Niemly tries to out fox Decal Cuschieri from Rangers|
It was top versus bottom and a game Rangers were not only expected to win, but expecting themselves to win. A large amount of rain during the week had all expecting the ground to be a slurry, but credit to Paul Medcraft and his ground staff, the NTCA surface was in fine condition.
Chris Hunt was out this week along with Stefan Jago, but Mark Ambrose has re commenced training this week in some encouraging news for the injury hit side, and with two weeks off, this could be a blessing with three title deciding matches to come following the break.
Launceston looked to be close to full strength this week, and their encouraging youth were all up and about for this match. Mark Egan was forced to coach from the David Boon stand following some unfortunateness in the under 18 game.
The opening 30 minutes had Rangers creating a plethora of chances, Rangers were continually being called offside, generally correctly but most were very very hard to call Launceston were pushing for the offside trap and in the opening half an hour generally had Rangers caught. The important thing here was the excellent runs being made across the back four, however Coaches Tony Ludby and Adam Whitemore would have preferred the movement to be closer to the goal rather than just inside the half.
Launceston had their chances to score also, Thors Niemly unlucky not to have scored when Pooley made a great save at the top of the box, but it was Rangers who got started after the first half an hour, it put their foot firmly on the accelerator, Andrew Nicholson opened proceedings and before you could say “good goal Pigeon” he had a hat trick under his wing and with the help of Patty Lanau-Atkinson Rangers were 4-0 up in the first half.
|Northern Rangers Scott Murray attacks down the left.|
The Referee seemed intent on getting Launceston into the game, ignoring what appeared to be two pretty clear cut penalties for Rangers, and then awarding one to Launceston, much to everyone’s amazement, even the Launceston players, most people thought the whistle was for offside. Can’t do much about it though and Niemly converted the charity. 4-1 it remained to half time.
Launceston were still in the game to this point as Rangers had not been anywhere near clinical enough In front of goal, a good 5-10 chances had been squandered so Rangers needed to get themselves into a better head space in front of goal to sure up the points and some needed goal difference in the second half.
All they did early was concede some cheap goals and bring the young Launceston side back into the contest as Niemly netted two more goals to have Launceston lapping at the heels of the Rangers at 4-3.
Rangers steadied and reversed the pressure, thanks in part to a fine goal from Patty Lanau-Atkinson who placed a lobed shot perfectly over the keeper and into the net to make it 5-3 and the steadier that the home side needed.
From there the heads of Launceston dropped and Rangers finished the game off well with Lanau-Atkinson getting his hat trick and Joey Summers popping up to score one of his own after being introduced from the bench.
7-3 the final result, not a particularly polished game, despite the score line, but a win all the same.