Ruardean Hill Rangers punished a series of Wick defensive errors on their way to all three points.
Wick 1 - 2 Ruardean Hill Rangers: Wick’s Jordan Scott continued his impressive goal-scoring form to put the home said ahead early in the first half, before a defensive mistake allowed Luke Johnson to level the scores prior to half-time. Despite the Owls
On what was a blustery day up at Oldbury Lane, stand-in Wick manager James Pocock made three changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Henbury the week before. Liam Shellard, Joe Thomas and Harry Madge all returned to the starting line-up as KierenHutson and Sam Thomas missed out through injury whilst Grant Hewitt was named on the bench. The match started at a frantic pace andRuardean Hill Rangers should have been ahead after just three minutes. The pacey Johnson was sent through on goal but Joe Pople in the Wick goal was equal to Johnson’s effort, turning the ball round the post. A short time after Johnson‘s early chance, Wick’s Alex Whale struck a 25-yard strike that forced Ruardean goalkeeper Arron Underwood into a smart save as the home side started to establish themselves as the dominant side. More Wick pressure was rewarded after ten minutes when Scott turned in his seventh goal of the season. Wick wide-man Madge was afforded the time and space to pick out Scott in the middle and the striker made no mistake, slamming the ball past a helpless Underwood to put the Owls ahead. Following the opener, Wick continued to dominate possession without creating too much in the way of chances – a Scott header that drifted harmlessly wide the only notable effort since the opener. However, on the 30-minute mark Ruardean Hill levelled the scores. Madge this time turned provider for the away side, gifting possession to Ruardean skipper Luke Brown who charged into the Wick box before squaring for Johnson to bundle the ball past Pople. The remaining 15 minutes of the first-half went by without incident as the teams went in level at the break.
Two minutes after the restart, Rangers almost took the lead – Brown’s long-range shot zipping narrowly over the Wick upright. Moments later the away side again went close, this time in comical circumstances. The strong winds at Oldbury Lane carried an Underwood kick through to Luke Withey at right-back, who, in an attempt to guide the ball back to Pople in the Wick goal, only succeeded in heading it over him, forcing the Owls ‘keeper to scamper back and claim the ball on the goal-line. Despite Ruardean enjoying the better openings it was Wick who continued to control proceedings but the home side still couldn’t find a way through the resolute Rangersdefence. And on 85 minutes, the team from Gloucester took the lead for the first time, punishing yet another defensive blunder. Wick substitute Danny Sheldon’s pass was intercepted by Johnson who raced in on goal and calmly slotted past Pople for his second of the afternoon. As Wick desperately pressed for an equaliser, gaps started to appear in their ranks and Ruardean had a chance to put the game to the bed with only minutes remaining. Rangers captain Brown charged through the heart of the Wick defence and found himself in on goal but Pople was on hand to smother his shot. The Owls did almost grab a leveler at the death when Madge met a cross from the right but his point-blank effort was saved by the face of Underwood in the Ruardean goal. Madge’s chance proved to be the final kick of the game as Ruardean held on for the points and in the process leapfrogged Wick in the MARCLIFF Gloucestershire County League.
MOM - Charlie Stevens
Attendance - 40