Rangers produce stunning comeback to punish wasteful Colts
Southampton Rangers 3 Devonshire Colts 1
Cellar dwellers Southampton Rangers produced a stunning comeback to secure a hard-fought win over Devonshire Colts in an entertaining Premier Division encounter at Southampton Oval yesterday.
The hosts were forced to chase the game after Brandon O’Connor put Colts ahead, and were equal to the task as three unanswered goals from Marco Basden, Kieshon Wilson and Jahkhari Hollis powered them to their second win of the season.
It was a victory that Dwayne Adams’s team thoroughly deserved as they fought for every ball as though their lives depended on it and demonstrated tremendous character and tactical skills to turn their fortunes around.
Midfielders Akale Bean and Dion Stovell were the driving force behind the fightback as they linked the play superbly and poked holes in the Colts defence with their precision passing.
Player-coach Adams also pulled off a string of saves in goal while Rangers’ back four of Dominique Hill, Jahni Bean, Ralston Wright and Lekan Scott defended superbly.
“It was a good game,” Adams told The Royal Gazette. “It was back and forth, both teams had chances and we took our chances well.
“We’ve been in games; our last three, four games we have been in them. Half-time 1-1 or 0-0 and then we get pushed out by three and four late in the game, so it’s nice to be on top of the game this time and pull off a victory.
“We are playing with a lot of heart right now and drawing on that energy to be successful, so it’s nice to see the players sticking in and running 90 minutes.”
Colts dominated the early going and caused all sorts of problems with their dangerous long balls down the flanks.
It came as no real surprise when they took the lead through O’Connor’s brilliant effort.
The midfielder gained possession inside Rangers’ half and dribbled 25 yards before beating Adams at the near post with a low drive.
Colts pressed on in search of more goals with O’Connor squandering a glorious opportunity when he lifted Jaquari Paynter’s low cross over the bar from four yards, while Adams made a reflex save at his near post to thwart Chemal Henry and then tipped Shaki Swan’s header from a corner over the bar.
Adams also positioned well to deny O’Connor’s effort at the near post from the subsequent corner.
Rangers finally got a foothold in the game and started creating opportunities with Bean and Stovell pulling the strings in the middle of the park.
Forward Basden brought the teams level when he slotted home Wilson’s pass from the left side of the box from Stovell’s cross at the far post.
Rangers had the ball in the net again shortly after but the effort was waved off for a foul on Colts goalkeeper Jahniko Francis in a goalmouth scramble resulting from Stovell’s free kick.
Wilson gave the hosts the lead for good with an exquisite finish that brought the crowd to its feet. The striker latched on to Akale Bean’s through-pass and smashed the ball in the far top corner past the stranded Francis.
Francis made a brilliant fingertip save to keep out Stovell’s curling effort from the edge of the box during a promising raid down the middle.
At the other end Colts battled on in search of an equaliser with substitute Treshun Smith blasting over from inside the box from a free kick, while Jahni Bean blocked Paynter’s shot from point-blank range.
Once again missed opportunities came back to haunt the visitors as Hollis pounced late to make the points safe. The forward slammed home Stovell’s pass across the goalmouth to cap a delightful move also involving Basden.
Southampton Rangers: Basden 34, Wilson 51, Hollis 76
Devonshire Colts: O’Connor 11.
Southampton Rangers (4-4-2): D Adams 7 (sub: R Lowe 54min, 7) – D Dill 7, R Wright 7, J Bean 7, L Scott 7 – S Perinchief 7, D Stovell 7, A Bean 7, M Basden 7 ‒ J Hollis 7, K Wilson 7. Substitutes not used: D James, J Santucci. Booked: Wilson.
Devonshire Colts (4-1-4-1): J Francis 7 – C Minors 7, Z Burgess 7, K Cann 7, M Williams 7 (sub: L Symonds 86) – K Bailey 5, (sub: B Robinson 77) – F Lema 7, C Henry 7, B O’Connor 7, J Paynter 5 (sub: K Burch 86) – S Swan 7 (sub: T Smith 62, 5). Substitutes not used: T Axelsen, J Maybury, J Saunders, G Todd, S Thomas. Booked: Henry.
Referee: A Francis.