Buckinham Town's Smash & Grab
Rangers rue missed chances as Town snatch the three points.
Rangers had to shuffle the pack again on Tuesday night, with no less than six first team players missing! But despite losing by an odd goal, they can take plenty of positives from a game that, on chances alone, they should have won. In the opening minutes Ryan Daly was put through but failed to control with the goal at his mercy. Following a period of probing by both teams, Daly had a free header from a corner but could only head over. 15 minutes in and Town had the ball in the Rangers net but the goal was ruled out after a blatant foul on Andy Symonds in the Rangers goal. Buckingham pressed with a series of corners before which Rangers defended comfortably. The game became very 'bitty' with both teams committing a series of niggly fouls. Rangers picked up the pace as the game entered the final 10 minutes of the half with Don Fundira just unable to connect from a cross. Daly's cross then found Brad Holt at the far post but his shot fell weakly to the keeper. Town's number 9 then scuffed a shot wide on 40 minutes before Rangers came back as Rhys Walters shot straight at the keeper followed by skipper Joel Read firing over. Moments before the break the visitors had a decent chance which was fired over the bar from close range.
The first 15 minutes of the second half were uneventful as both sides struggled to create before Buckingham took the lead with a strange goal. With the ball seemingly heading for a Rangers goal kick Symonds attempted to clear. The ball fell to the Buckingham winger who crossed to the far post for the number 9 who looked suspiciously offside. He rose to head back across the goal and as the ball took a slight deflection the recovering keeper then appeared to punch it into his net. It was hard luck on Rangers who reacted well to the set-back. Tom Gibbons had a header blocked as Rangers pushed. 65 minutes and Matty Hatt's close range shot was somehow deflected over for a corner. Rangers then forced several corners as Town defended desperately. Holt's long throw reached Read who's header looked goal bound, bringing a great save from the visiting keeper. With 15 minutes remaining Hatt was in but scuffed his shot with only the keeper to beat. A rare attack by Buckinham bought a great save from Symonds but it was offside anyway. Risborough continued to press and it was all one way traffic as Steve Tavenders pace caused problems for the Town left back. Read skimmed the bar with a header and moments later had a shot blocked. As the game entered its final five minutes Mark Stack's volley was stopped on the line, Read had another header saved by the overworked visiting keeper before Stack made a great run and cross to Hatt who looked certain to score only to see the ball taken off his head by his own team mate. It summed up the Rangers' night, but fair play to Buckingham who's two centre halves and the Goalkeeper were outstanding in the second half.
[b]Rangers Man of the Match: Joel Read.[/b] A captain's performance that only a goal would have made better.