Ruthless Rangers cause upset
Hamilton Parish 0
Southampton Rangers 3
Southampton Rangers boosted their survival hopes with a convincing victory over high-flying Hamilton Parish at the Wellington Oval yesterday.
Rangers, who had only scored four league goals all season before yesterday, attacked ruthlessly to hand Parish their first Premier Division home defeat of 2014.
Jesse Seymour and Khalil Symonds, who both troubled Parish throughout, each grabbed an opportunistic goal, before Shaki Swan completed the scoring with a neat finish immediately after entering as substitute.
Parish were left ruing a missed penalty from Shayne Hollis in the 47th minute, when they were still only one goal behind.
The striker has been in excellent form as Parish have climbed the table in recent weeks, and his crucial miss perhaps summed up his team's bad day at the office.
Rangers may be struggling at the bottom, but they were keen to attack from the first whistle.
Their positive approach was rewarded as early as the tenth minute, when a weak Parish clearance fell straight to Seymour, who slotted calmly past Nigel Burgess for the opening goal.
Parish pressed for an equaliser but, with McQuinn Burch dominant at the back, Rangers looked more likely to add to their tally with their many purposeful breaks. Seymour and Keedai Astwood, the pacy wingers, frequently got into dangerous areas as they sought to supply Symonds, the tall striker.
In one raid, Seymour burst down the left and crossed for Symonds to loop a header over Burgess and onto the crossbar; then Astwood's low cross was scooped over from close range by Seymour when he seemed certain to score. Early in the second half, Rangers were cursing their luck again as Hollis was awarded a penalty when his dribbling run was halted by what appeared to be minor contact. However, Jason Smith visibly lifted his team-mates by flinging himself to his right to save Hollis's penalty.
Moments later, it was Burgess's turn to have a moment to forget. The goalkeeper, another key man in Parish's good run, was clearly dismayed after fumbling a long ball to present Symonds with the easiest of chances.
Parish responded by increasing the tempo, but by now Rangers were high on confidence and defending stoutly. Symonds had a goal narrowly ruled out for offside before Swan, introduced in the 85th minute, stroked home the third goal in the 87th to trigger jubilation among the visiting supporters.
Burch, the Southampton captain, said: “It's been a long time coming. But we have been working very hard and I knew it was just a matter of time.
“We had a game plan to play tough and attractive football. The wingers were a big help when we were under pressure because they are a very useful outlet. And when the chances came, we took them.”
Keishon Smith, the Parish coach, said: “Our home run has been excellent but all good things come to an end. Rangers deserved it today, and congratulations to Maurice Lowe on a good job.”
Hamilton Parish (4-4-2): N Burgess – Z Bowen, A Smith, I Mallory, R Richardson – P Richardson (sub: M Rudo, 77min), T Webb (sub: A Guerrero, 63), M Walker (sub: D Thompson, 63), C Caisey – A Cannonier, S Hollis. Substitutes not used: R Trott, K Cann, D Rogers, C Smith. Booked: R Richardson.
Southampton Parish (4-3-3): J Smith – A Rocker, M Burch, Jamel Hill, M Tankard – T Brown, E Stoneman, J Dyer – K Astwood (sub: E Simons, 63min), K Symonds (sub: N Mello, 87), J Seymour (sub: S Swan, 85). Substitutes not used: D James, Jahkai Hill, Y Bean, T Lowe. Booked: Smith, Stoneham, Burch.
Referee: R Hudson.