Rangers Tame The Lions!
Braces for Wyllie and Griggs secures four goal victory.
London Lions arrived at 'Windsors' with a reputation of playing attractive football but they failed to master the hard bumpy surface and it was Rangers that adapted better to the conditions. In fact the home side played some excellent football despite the pitch, especially during the first half, in which they scored three goals. Rangers started well with Taylor Collins' shot deflected wide in the first minute. Moments later and Rangers went one up after they were awarded a penalty for hand-ball, skipper Martin Griggs smashing home the spot kick. Lions hit back and Development Team keeper Norbert Staniszewski, standing in for the injured Jack Brooker, pulled off an excellent save, tipping the ball over the bar. Quarter of an hour in and Marcus Wyllie was denied from close range. Rangers had to wait another six minutes before the second came. Following some good work from Lamar Mason-Williams and Griggs, the ball was fed to Wyllie who skipped a couple of challenges before shooting home via a deflection. Two minutes later and Wyllie's superb volley rattled the Lions crossbar. At the other end an anxious moment in the Rangers area was cleared up by the excellent Justin Gordon as Lions look to get back in the game. With 15 minutes to the break a Lions cleared the bar. Rangers replied when Mason-Williams shot over on the bounce. With half time approaching Rangers made it three when a great cross-field pass from Collins found Mason-Williams who laid the ball to Wyllie. What happened next must surely go down as a contender for goal of the season as the youngster produced an audacious piece of skill, sending the Lions defenders the wrong way before curling his shot into the far corner. It was no more than the home side deserved and in the closing minutes Wyllie was denied and Griggs' free kick was deflected just wide.
Three minutes into the second period and Lions had a very good shout for a penalty turned down, as Rangers rode their luck, resulting in their coach being dismissed from the bench. As the home side cleared their lines Wyllie ran through onto the loose ball and chipped the keeper from forty yards, only to have play called back for a previous foul, denying him his hat-trick. Staniszewski then made a good save at the foot of the post as Lions pressed. Rangers came back and 60 minutes in Mason-Williams sets up Griggs who struck his shot well, forcing a good save from the visiting keeper. Staniszewski easily dealt with a couple of high balls as the game drifted before Giggs scored Rangers forth with 65 minutes on the clock. Wyllie's pin-point pass fed down the side of Griggs. Rangers top scorer held off the challenge of his marker allowing the ball to bounce once before hitting an unstoppable shot into the top corner for his 37th of the season. This killed off any chance of a fightback by the visitors and Rangers could have scored more as Lawrence Clark, James Shrimpton and Griggs all had good opportunities. The final act of the game saw a Lions shot fly high, wide and handsome before the referee blew his whistle on their misery. A good performance from the home side who got on with the job on a difficult pitch.
Rangers Man Of The Match: Martin Griggs. A difficult choice tonight as Marcus Wyllie was quiet brilliant at times. Good performances too from Olly Lynch in midfield plus the back four and keeper (clean sheets are always good). Special mention for Justin Gordon who was close to perfect at the back; but again Griggs showed that he is not just a goal-scorer, with his tireless running and creative play.