Rangers successful in defence of Shield
Southampton Rangers 2 Hamilton Parish 1
Southampton Rangers successfully defended the First Division Shield with a hard-fought win over fellow promotion contenders Hamilton Parish at Somerset Cricket Club on New Year’s Day.
Goals in either half by Jarazhino Bassett and Donte Brangman ensured it was a great start to the new year for Rangers. Macquille Walker scored for Parish early in the second half to reduce the deficit.
“It wasn’t our best game today,” Jomar Wilkinson, the Rangers coach, said. “It’s hard to play on New Year’s Day, and Parish made it difficult. I congratulate my players for showing character. We fought hard and stuck to it.”
Parish had the first chance when Christian Smith received a through-ball but shot tamely at Rangers goalkeeper Ajani Daniels. Parish almost gifted Rangers the opening goal when defender Andrew Famous miskicked to allow Rangers to mount an attack, which was scrambled away for a corner.
The resulting corner was delivered to the back post where Maquel Nesbitt-Tankard headed against the crossbar.
Shayne Hollis, the Parish captain, was effective with his close dribbling throughout and laid a delicate pass to Smith, but he shot wide when well placed.
Rangers midfielders Trey Durham, Quadir Maynard and Brangman started to take control with close passing and penetrating through-balls to forwards Bassett and Cardel Henry.
The opening goal came late in the first half when captain Bassett received a long ball, which he did well to shield on his right side before unleashing a fierce drive that beat goalkeeper Nigel Burgess at his near post.
Parish almost equalised just before the interval when Shakeem Albuoy and Smith combined to put Walker through, but his poked shot sailed over from 18 yards.
It did not take Rangers long to score their second after the break when they won possession in the middle.
Brangman was then released and dribbled before hitting a low shot that beat Burgess to his right. Parish scored within four minutes to reduce the deficit when Burgess’s long kick was flicked on by Smith to put Walker in a one-on-one situation with Rangers goalkeeper Daniels. Walker planted his shot past the goalkeeper. Parish picked up the intensity with midfielder Ryan Richardson putting in a lot of hard work with timely tackles and passes to keep them in the game.
They should have had a second midway through the half when Walker was able to get off a shot which sailed inches over the top.
Daniels was in the right place at the right time to deny Parish an equaliser when first, he parried Hollis’s firmly hit free kick and then recovered to make a point-blank save from Albuoy who was first to the loose ball.
Rangers should have scored on the counterattack when a clearance was knocked to Brangman, who brought off a similar save by Burgess at the other end.
Rangers: Bassett 38, Brangman 50
Parish: Walker 54
Southampton Rangers (4-1-3-2): A Daniels — K Harrison, R Sampson, D Hill, M Nesbitt-Tankard — I Taylor — T Durham (sub: E Stoneham, 71min), Q Maynard, D Brangman – J Bassett (sub: J Hill, 86), C Henry (sub: K Astwood, 89). Substitutions not used: K Durrant, R Cann, D Steede, N Raynor, A Butterfield, J Albuoy. Booked: D Hill, I Taylor, E Stoneham, Q Maynard, R Sampson.
Hamilton Parish (4-3-3): N Burgess — M Rudo, A Famous, K Cann, G Saltus (sub: V Lambe, 30) — R Richardson, C Smith, J Steede (sub: J Burgess, 68) — S Albuoy, M Walker, S Hollis. Substitutions not used: C Caisey, Q Glasford, J Lawrence, J Lewis, C Lindo, K Richardson, R Trott. Booked: R Richardson, A Famous.
Referee: L Christopher.