Rangers capitalise on defensive mistakes to snatch first win of season
Southampton Rangers took advantage of a few defensive lapses to grab their first win of the season over former promotion rivals Somerset Eagles at Southampton Oval.
The visitors started well, knocking the ball around with decent tempo through midfield and created the first notable chance inside ten minutes, when winger Keedai Astwood squared for fellow attacker Shakir Smith.
The latter slipped a lovely through pass for opposite winger Koshun Durrant, who then cut back for Smith to fire a shot just wide of the near post.
The remainder of the first period became a battle of attrition in the midfield, with neither side could manage to wrestle control over the tempo of the game.
Rangers were, however, able to play through the Eagles press on a few occasions in the opening stanza, but failed to make the correct decision in the final third.
The home side tried to open up a little bit more early in the second half, getting the ball up to striker Dion Stovell quickly whenever possible to bypass their wasteful midfield.
Their best chance of the opening minutes in the second half came when Ralston Wright played a decent ball inside for Jahni Bean, who fired straight at Troy Hall.
Midway through the second half, Eagles took the lead.
From a corner, which was swung in by substitute Zaire Smith, goalkeeper Jason Smith missed his attempted punch, and Ethan Fubler steadied himself to place into the empty net.
With around ten minutes remaining, the home side equalised against the run of play.
They got forward quickly on the counter attack, which resulted in a corner kick. The ensuing corner kick was whipped in by captain Ezekiel Stoneham, and the visitors’ back-line failed to clear, resulting in a goalmouth scramble, leaving Yuzaire Bean, who came on six minutes prior, to slot home the loose ball.
Six minutes from time, the 2018 Shield champions took the lead from a sustained spell of possession. Keishon Wilson was found in space on the right to cut back for Dion Stovell to fire into the far corner.
Just before the end, Astwood was sent off, having already been subbed out, after throwing an object at the referee in anger. Goalscorer Bean was booked for dissent after a late challenge on Anwar Telford.
The home side would survive a late charge from the visitors for their first victory of the season.
Rangers’ head coach Dwayne Adams was critical of his team’s tempo in possession.
“We are not passing fast enough,” the former Bermuda goalkeeper said. “We need to pass and move quickly.”
Somerset Eagles: Fubler 68
Southampton Rangers: Y Bean 78, Stovell 84
Southampton Rangers (4-2-3-1): J Smith 5 – A Triana Zan 5 (sub: Y Bean 7), M Burch 5, J Hill 5, R Wright 5 – A Rocker 5 (sub: M Basden 51 5), Z Iris 5 – K Simmons 6 (sub: D Steede 72), E Stoneham 7, J Bean 6 (sub: K Wilson 61 6) – D Stovell 7. Substitutes not used: T Smith, L Scott, R Simmons; Booked: Stovell, Y Bean
Somerset Eagles (4-2-3-1): T Hall 5 – S Lambert 5, K Harrison 6, K Evans 5, M Iris-Simmons 5 – A Telford 5, D Joell 5 (sub: J Rogers 85 5) – K Durrant 5 (sub: Z Smith 66 6), E Fubler 6, K Astwood 3 (sub: D Simmons 71 4) – S Smith 5. Substitutes not used: J Roberts, J Rumley; Sent off: Astwood
Referee: D Jackson