Although not naturally a local derby, the game against Armthorpe has become one in Rangers recent history with the number of Doncaster based players. And some tight games have been along the way.
Rangers started Saturdays game without suspended Rob Sanderson and drafted in ex-Iron goalkeeper Jake Turner for the unavailable Jack Ward.
The game kicked off with a pretty strong wind behind the visitors, and a lively opening. Gav Cooper raced onto a through ball early on but Armthorpe keeper, Jamie Green was quick off his line to snatch the ball away. A few cries for a raised boot in the challenge were correctly waved away.
A lofted through ball exposed the Armthorpe defences weakness under the ball and Rangers quickly looked to take advantage. A ball out of Turners hands was allowed to bounce, Gav Cooper rounded the floundering centre back and fired home first time 0-1 6mins.
Two minutes later and Armthorpe were reduced to ten men when James Stansfield was alleged to have elbowed Cooper when they competed for the ball. The ever vociferous Green was shown a yellow for his objections.
The competitive edge was to the fore for both sides but Rangers were dominating the chances. On 19mins another direct attack nearly doubled Rangers lead when Jake Stannard’s header squeezed just the wrong side of the post. Then a corner was headed back across the face by Andy Walkden as Rangers continued to press.
On 23mins Rangers exposed the Welfares back line again, this time Jake Stannard cracked home on the half volley to double the lead. 0-2
Armthorpe responded well working their way into the Rangers box where a couple of shots had to be blocked away before a third sailed over the bar on 24mins.
But the highlight of the game came just after the half hour. Jake Stannard dropped off his marker towards the ball into his feet, his deft flick took the ball over the defenders shoulder as Jake turned the other way and raced past him. As Green made up his mind whether to backpedal or advance Jake fired in a superb lob/shot over his head to give Winterton a three goal advantage. Stunning strike. 0-3 31mins.
Rangers continued to dominate. Liam Nelthorpe and James O’Neill were working overtime in the engine room and having to ride a few robust challenges along the way. Jack Cross and Kyle Hadley were willing workers either side and always an option. Cross picked up Rangers only booking of the afternoon when he crossed a ball after the whistle for what the referee considered kicking the ball away. In comparison, Armthorpe were prone to going to ground in the tackle and reacted to every challenge against them. Keeper Green was more than happy to gallop to every incident to share his opinion on the subject.
Rangers nearly went in at half time further ahead when in injury time when a wayward header from a retreating defender looped over the keeper and bounced onto the bar. A very dominant first half with the wind for Rangers but a test for the second was expected. HT 0-3
The swap around at half time was always going to level things off as the home side would have the advantage of the wind behind them, and the introduction of Leo Fortune-West gave them a target. And six minutes in Turner was tested with a near post header from a free kick had to be tipped over.
Rangers had to adjust their game from the direct approach of the first half and in the opening fifteen minutes they worked very hard but were spending a lot of time in own half. That’s not to say they were under the cosh as Fisher and Walkden looked solid under the aerial threat.
Winterton made a change on the hour when the hard working Cooper was replaced by Scott Bibby. It nearly brought a fourth as Bibby fed in Stannard who flashed his shot across the face.
Armthorpe continued to press forward but found little joy from the Rangers back four.
On 70mins, another good chance came Rangers way. The referee allowed play to continue after a heavy challenge on the byline, but Bibby and Hadley both had shots blocked away. Danny Smith replaced Cross on 72mins.
The last twenty continued in the same vein. Very niggly, heavy challenges, Rangers dealing with the wind and Armthorpe far better than the hosts did in the first half, and breaking away to create the better chances. Steve Phillips replaced Hadley late on as Rangers took all three points.