Rangers hit Hatfield for four.
Daly and Gibbons grab a brace each during opening league fixture.
Rangers fans arrived at 'Windsors' knowing there had been an exodus of several players from the previous season, including prolific goal-scorer Martin Griggs, keeper Jack Brooker, influential mid-fielder Asher Yearwood and the ever popular James Shrimpton. Any fears that Rangers might suffer from the exodus were soon proved unfounded as Rangers demolished Hatfield Town with three goals in the first 11 minutes. A fourth goal midway through the second period made it a comfortable afternoon for the home side despite Hatfield playing some attractive football on a very difficult surface. The previous week had seen Rangers manager Jamie Rayner busy making a host of signings to replace at least 10 players that have moved on to pastures new. With regulars Justin Gordon, Dan Rawson and Marcus Wyllie all on holiday plus Gary Rymer and Justin Hockley both injured the new signings had to gel quickly with the three remaining club stalwarts; Joel Read, Dave Newton and Lawrence Clark, and gel they did!
Following a lively start Rangers didn't have to wait long in order to settle their nerve when Clark's corner was flicked on by captain Read and new signing Tom Gibbons was on hand to smash the ball home at the far post. Gibbons turned provider four minutes later when he flicked on Brad Holt's long throw and Ryan Daly, who has returned to Rangers from neighbour's Chinnor, was on hand to score at the far post. Two minutes later and Rangers were three up when Clark again delivered an inviting corner straight to Gibbons who brilliantly volleyed home from 10 yards. Hatfield looked stunned but regained some composure and began to knock the ball about with some neat passing on the bone dry pitch. Despite their efforts however they rarely threatened new keeper Andrew Symonds, who comfortably dealt with anything that came his way. Rangers always looked dangerous on the break with the impressive Don Fundira, Daly and Corey Flynn chasing everything and never allowing the Hatfield defence time to settle. As the game approached half time Daly headed over an easy chance and Newton's shot was well over from distance. Hatfield looked a threat at set pieces with plenty of height in their side but the back four of Read, Gibbons, Steve Nott-Macaire and Rhys Walters were solid throughout to ensure that the home side went in three up at the break.
Town forced an early corner after the break and Flynn did well to head clear at the near post. Minutes later at the other end Fundira was through but his run and shot was just wide. Hatfield had a half-hearted shout for a penalty after a quarter of an hour but it no more than a hopeful one. Clark in the Rangers midfield was enjoying more and more of the ball and his influence began to tell. 65 minutes in and Town's keeper pulled off the save of the match when he stopped a certain own-goal following a Rangers corner but four minutes later the home side scored a fourth when Daly latched onto a long ball and neatly slotted home for his second. Hatfield replied with a free kick that was well held by Symonds. A flurry of substitutions saw Matty Hatt, Jack Bradford and Mark Stack enter the fray and this had an immediate effect with Bradford finding Hatt who controlled well but couldn't direct his shot. Hatt was again put through in the closing minutes but instead of shooting he delayed and passed, only to see the chance snuffed out. Clark had the final say when, following a flowing move from Rangers, his shot from the edge of the box produced a good save from the Hatfield custodian. It good start to the season for Rangers but a long way to go. Up next; Buckingham Town at home on Tuesday night.
Rangers Man of the Match: Ryan Daly. Scored two and never stopped chasing lost causes all game.