Sunday, 3 July 2011

Report From Knights Vs Rangers

Northern Rangers had all to play for against Prospect Knights this week, in fact the winner was destined to take over top spot for the week with Devonport taking a week off for the bye.
A big occasion for Derek Schipper who celebrated his 200th game, and what a match to do it.

Some last minute changes but Rangers had a strong team on the park, losing Stefan Jago but gaining Adam Beard in equal swap.

Knights had claimed to be at full strength and were well and truly up for this clash, if for no other reason than the Knights have failed to beat Rangers in some 9 outings since 2007.

The opening stages proved the Knights resolve to win this match and go to top of the table.  Knights applied high pressure to the Ranger back line, and allowed none of the visitors any space, it was clear that Prospect were going to have a determined crack.  After plenty of pressure it was Knights who took the lead when Ben Croswell muscled through to go one on one with Pooley in goals and he expertly slotted the opening goal inside the opening 25 minutes.

Rangers continued to struggle to get the momentum back and Knights were unlucky to have a penalty waved away by Mark Spicer.

Matthew Sessay almost doubled the lead for Prospect when he won the ball in the six yard box, his shot hit the upright and rebounded into play but was cleared by Sam Luck.  Some one on ones were brilliantly saved by Pooley to keep Rangers in the game. Rangers were still creating chances but could not manage the finishing required to draw back level, and looked in second gear coming out of defense.

Schipper was in tip top form in midfield, and most of the attacks came through him, his foot skills were again magical and slipped past many a Knight with some creative play.

In the last 15 minutes of the half, Rangers fought back into the game, and started to reverse the dominance and re take control, but went into half time a goal behind but with the resolve needed to take the lead.

The second half was a different affair, with Rangers one touch passing getting back to the required level and the intensity at a much higher level.  Knights may have pushed a little too early and struggled to keep the pressure up in the second half.

A beautiful cross came in from the left side of the park and Hingston ran for the back post and headed home the equaliser early in the second half.

Rangers began to grow in confidence and pushed hard for the winner.  With 12 minutes still to play it came when a corner was sent in, it cleared the waiting pack in the six yard box but was sent back in by Patty Lanau-Atkinson, his ball back into pressure found Chris Hunt perfectly balanced on his left foot and he dispatched the shot from close range to help Rangers to the lead.

Knights pushed on for the leveller from here and could have had it on a number of occasions, but Pooley was in strong form in goals this week, and Sam Luck silenced his critics with a masterful display at centre back.

Sessay continued to warn Rangers he could turn the game back, but he was denied by a strong defensive effort this week.

Time ticked on and Rangers had won an epic battle with an old foe.  Another classic, and Rangers continued to hold the wood over Prospect, but only just, on reflection a draw would have been the fair result, but Rangers did what they needed to do to get their nose in front at the end of the game.  Credit to Knights, they are a worthy challenger for the title, and this doesn’t exclude them from the race, a draw or a loss for Rangers quiet possibly would have put the tittle beyond the reach of the back to back champions. 

Adam Whitemore Said after the game "I thought we showed great character to again overturn a deficit. It's been a common trait of ours over the last 2 seasons and shows real mental strength. Knights unquestionably had the better of the first half. They had greater intensity and shut us down quickly. A small, bumpy ground certainly didn't help our ability to keep possession, but we were lucky to go in only one down. We started to take some control in the last 15 minutes but didn't create a great deal.

We made some minor adjustments at half time, pushing our fullbacks onto their wingbacks, and our wide attackers into the space behind. The second half was the opposite of the first, we were the better side, created plenty of chances, and we managed to dominate midfield as they tired. They didn't adjust to the change in the pattern of the game so a second goal was always on the cards.

It was hard on Knights who I thought were excellent, but at this stage of the season it's about winning the tight games, and this was a critical game that neither side could afford to lose.

We will need to play better though. 4 more wins to go."


  1. Congrats to Rangers. Down to a 2 horse race. Dev v Rangers. Prospect could be like St Kilda.. be up there and about for a few years and not win anything. Shame that

  2. Knights in effect are still in the same position as Rangers so wouldn't count them out just yet. Just like Rangers always beat Knights, Knights have the wood over Devenport and Devenport generally have it over Rangers so a long way to go yet. Knights Choked big time on the weekend. Should of been over by half time.

  3. Firstly congrats to Rangers but i will disagree with Adams summary !

    Knights with a bit of luck should have been 3 nil up at half time game over, penalty and a post from Sessay.

    Second half was even with Knights still having more chances with Pooley in good form, Knights keeper not needed except for two chances that scored. First from a shot deflected to back post and scramble but good sides do make your own luck at this is what Rangers did. No excuses from Knights as if you dont take your many chances you give the opp a chance and this is what happened.

    As for only two left, we will see !

  4. They certainly choked once Hingston scored the header, heads down, as Rangers then passed them off the the park.

  5. Definitely a 3 horse race still. Dev have the harder run home, Knights Rangers Ulvie River ?Burnie - Knights have Dev Ulvie Launnie Launnie City ?River -Rangers have ? Launnie Ulvie Somerset Dev.

    No time for chokers! 2 of the sides have experience of winning - will this count?

    Exciting finish ahead

  6. anon 15:43

    Dont let silly comments come back and bite you !

    Rangers won and fair play to them. Show a bit grace in victory and you may earn some respect from all other sides.

    We still believe we have a chance and will all the way to the last game with what could be a huge weekend for soccer in general for the North.

    Now looking forward to Ulverstone

  7. I aggree with Anton on this one, Knights for the most part were the better team, simply didnt finish their chances, and were unfortunate not to have had a penalty early first half. Goes that way though. As for a anyone suggesting they are out of the running, well thats a fairly short sighted comment, as when we have the bye, its fairly certain to be a 2 point gap between 1st and 3rd. Building nicely for a big finish. wonder what this rain will do to this weekends matches though?

  8. NPL >>>[way more exciting than]>>> SPL

  9. Game was played in very good spirits, don't think there was one cards?

    Both groups of supporters were vocal, but no verbal exchanges, which is the way it should be.

    A game of 2 halves, and worth your 6 bucks to watch.

  10. I think captain aust that both teams should get in contact with soccer tas and suggest if it comes down to the last 2 games we should have a ref from hobart,What do you think.

  11. I think NR should see if they can get Ulverstone to play at say 6.30pm on the last game as this would a great way to finish the season and provide soccer lovers in Launceston to see two big games with the result maybe decided at the NTCA


  12. From a neutral point of view, I think Devonport will win the league, they havent lost in a long time and are the form team, too many big guns, when push comes to shove for Rangers and Knights, and certainly won't drop points until they get to the game against Rangers in August.

  13. Only problem AB is that Rangers could go into that game knowing what result they need. Got to start the games at the same time

  14. I think we all need to settle down a bit. Yes it is down to 3 but talking about the last round as where it will be decided is counting your eggs before they hatch all three of use have got plenty of tough games before then and it could easily be done and dusted before the last round if not the next two or three weeks. As for dev having to many big guns I think both Knights and Rangers also have quality all over the park my guess is it is out of these two. They are to fast in attack for dev from what i have seen of their deffence.

  15. There is not a chance in hell Rangers will be asking to move the KO time of there game in the last round(doubt we would be allowed). Nice try guys but last thing we want is the winner of Port or Knights down there cheering on Ulvie. Nice try though LOL.

    Thats of course if the championship is still up for grabs going into round 18.

  16. Anon 19:04

    I would have thought it would be great for a game and also a good revenue raiser which all clubs need !

    But hey if you dont like the idea of teams supporting against you or the money thats your clubs call !

    p.s. Lets hope for soccer in NPL it is down to the last games !

  17. Nick

    The Blog seems to have slowed whats happening nothing to report on
    or not enough time


  18. Sorry JB

    I am a teacher and it's report writing time.