Rangers continue superb start to new year
Southampton 2 Somerset Eagles 0
Southampton Rangers continued their superb start to the new year after coming away with a convincing win over Somerset Eagles at Southampton Oval yesterday.
The newly crowned Friendship Trophy champions took a 2-0 lead thanks to first-half goals from forwards Jarazhino Bassett and Shayne Hollis and then shut up shop to secure the points.
The win lifts Rangers from eighth to sixth in the table and also completed the league double over Eagles.
“Going into the second half of the season, it’s definitely about climbing up the table and this victory goes a long way towards doing that,” said Jomar Wilkinson, the Rangers coach, whose side beat Devonshire Cougars 1-0 in the Friendship Trophy final on New Year’s Day.
“We wanted to make sure we got the second half of the season off on the right foot. We had to make sure we came with the right mentality and work hard. We did that today.
“The organisation was there, the shape was there, and I was very pleased with the boys whose performance was at the level I expect of them.
“It was a total team effort. They did an excellent job fighting for each other and doing the small things that matter.”
Eagles were perhaps hoping to catch Rangers with a hangover after clinching their fourth Friendship Trophy title.
However, they were in for a very rude awakening as Wilkinson’s team were a cut above in every facet and more than equal to the task.
Eagles came charging out of the blocks but were rocked back on their heels when Bassett broke the deadlock.
Quadir Maynard sprayed a free kick out wide for Donte Brangman, whose cross was headed in by Bassett at the back post.
Rangers nearly doubled their lead moments later when Brangman whipped in a low cross that just eluded the outstretched boot of Bassett in front of goal.
Hollis then fired over after carving out space to get a shot off in the box as the home side kept the pressure on in search of more goals. Rangers finally broke through again from another set-piece when Hollis pounced on some sloppy defending.
Kamali Davis’s free kick was miskicked by a defender in the box and Hollis gathered the loose ball and slotted past Lorenzo Lambert, the Eagles goalkeeper.
Rangers had the ball in the net again from a Brangman corner. However, Kieshon Wilson’s effort was chalked off after a team-mate was blown for a shove in the box.
Lambert also produced two spectacular saves to deny Wilson and Brangman as Rangers finished the first half on the front foot.
Eagles started the second half on a promising note with Nathan Rego coming off the substitutes’ bench to inject more life into their attack. However, the Rangers defence refused to budge and dealt with everything that Eagles threw at them.
“We’ve had three shutout wins back to back so that means we are building something,” Wilkinson added. “We understand that defence wins championships so we are going to take it game by game.
“Right now everybody is beating everybody in the league. There’s no real consistent powerhouse up there so we are going to strive to climb up the table and see what happens.”
Southampton Rangers (4-4-2): S Bean — M Nisbett-Tankard, M Burch, R Sampson, K Davis — Q Maynard, I Taylor, S Hollis (sub: J Hill, 83min), D Brangman (sub: K Harrison, 86) — K Wilson (sub: J Bean, 76), J Bassett. Substitutes not used: R Wright, D Frost, K Astwood. Booked: Sampson, Taylor.
Somerset Eagles (4-2-3-1): L Lambert — M Iris-Simmons, L Burch, K Evans, S Lambert — T Eve, E Fubler (sub: N Rego, 46), A Morrissey, A Telford, R Woodley (sub: D Simmons, 79)- T Wade (sub: C Smith, 66). Substitutes not used: R Ford, J Rumley, G Smith. Booked: Telford
Referee: T Simons.
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