Ten-man Eagles battle in vain
Somerset Eagles 1 Southampton 2
Southampton Rangers continued their march forward as they defeated neighbouring rivals Somerset Eagles 2-1 in a spirited, entertaining derby at White Hill Field on Saturday.
The home team though could take much solace in defeat as they were made to play the vast majority of the match a man down after an early sending off of defender Lorenzo Burch.
Referee Lloyd Christopher dismissed Burch in the sixteenth minute for a late foul on Rangers roving frontman Jarazhino Bassett with the score level, but one could sense a long, tough day ahead for Eagles.
That they fought bravely, often forcefully to come back from a two-goal deficit to fall by just one was a testament to their grit and determination, something noted by both team’s head coaches speaking post match.
“It’s unfortunate to lose, even just 2-1, because you can hear the crowd still happy even in defeat with what they saw today — even with ten men,” Jensen Rogers, the Eagles coach, said.
“The better team lost today, even with ten men we were still playing the better football, creating the better chances despite being down a man from the first 15 minutes.
“These guys can hold their heads high knowing that this is defeat but not demoralising loss, they did well.”
Indeed, it took time for Rangers to adjust to having a player more, but were able to crack through eventually in the 42nd minute as winger Quadir Maynard fired home from close range after a period of sustained, high pressure tactics by the visiting side.
A firm shot from near the edge of the penalty area by Damon Ming was well blocked by goalkeeper Lorenzo Lambert but only as far as a lurking Maynard just six yards in front of goal and after taking a single dribble to shape he gave Lambert scant option to prevent the net bulging the second time.
The second half started in a blaze for Rangers as they continued to probe and found success in the 47th minute when a shot directed a goal by captain Donte Brangman was adjudged to have come off the arm of a Eagles defender and penalty awarded.
Substitute Shayne Hollis stepped up and planted the ball down the middle as Lambert vacated the centre, diving left.
Down a brace and competing on one of the larger local pitches it seemed time was nigh for an even greater collapse, but buoyed by home support and determination, Eagles yet produced concerted and threatening attacks from a compacted form, one of which reaped penalty reward in the 58th minute for a handball by Rangers.
Jason Smith appeared to have thwarted the opportunity when he blocked Teniko Eve’s spot kick, only to have an infraction called and the kick retaken, whereby Eve took full advantage of a second bite of the cherry, this time not allowing Smith much option to his right.
Yet while Eagles offered this glimmer Rangers turned to possession play while gathering a few half chances, yet of great importance was the gathering of maximum points.
“It was a really hard fought game, hats off to Eagles for how they battled and showed the will even with ten men, but my boys are going from strength to strength,” Jomar Wilkinson, the Rangers coach, said.
“We understand that it’s not going to be easy and nothing will be just given to us.
“We believe we can win everything, we think we can win every game that we go into.
“We had a four-point deficit early but we take it game by game, maintain focus and look to win as many games as possible.”
Somerset Eagles: Eve 59
Southampton: Maynard 42, Hollis 47 pen
Somerset Eagles (4-3-2-1): L Lambert — S Lambert, L Burch, M Iris-Simons, A Morrissey — G Smith, D Simmons, A Telford, N Rego (sub: C Smith, 86min), T Wade (sub: R Woodley Smith, 69) — T Eve (sub: R Ford, 72). Booked: Marcus Iris-Simons,
Southampton Rangers (4-4-1-1): D Frost (sub: R Wright, 72) — R Sampson, M Burch, K Harrison, M Nisbett-Tankard — D Brangman, Q Maynard (sub: T Wilkinson, 80), D Ming — C Riley (sub: S Hollis 35) — J Bassett. Booked: McQuinn Burch, Ming. Sent off: Lorenzo Burch.
Referee: L Christopher.
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