STRIKERS SCORE FIRST WIN AS VALLEY ROAD HOODOO CONTINUES FOR RANGERS
Written by Nick Owen
The Devonport Strikers lifted themselves off the bottom rung of the ladder with a hard fought 1-0 win over rivals Northern Rangers in the PS4 Victory League at Valley Road yesterday.
Adam Edwards almost put Rangers in front in the opening minutes but his shot went harmlessly wide.
Rangers continued to look threatening through Edwards, Nick Lanau-Atkinson and Schalde Anderson but a well marshalled defence led by Bradley Chilcott continually snuffed out chance after chance.
It was much the same up the other end with Devonport having opportunities to open the scoring, none better than a Daniel Syson shot in the 7th minute that hit the upright.
In what turned out to be the game’s decisive moment, a pin point cross from Kieran Mulraney found Michael Holden at the back post who soared high above the Rangers’ defence to head home the game’s lone goal in the 18th minute.
In the 33rd minute after some fancy footwork from Lanau-Atkinson, Rangers thought they had earned a penalty, however the foul was adjudged to have occurred just outside the penalty area. The resulting free kick saw Tom Pearce make a comfortable save.
The game continued on in the same vein after the interval, with both sides having numerous chances.
Holden had the home team’s best chance to add a second. Beau Blizzard drew the attention of the defence and then played the ball to a wide open Holden. The resulting low drive was somehow kept out by Rangers’ keeper James Wilson.
Lanau-Atkinson, Anderson, and Yitay Towns all had golden opportunities in the last half an hour to draw their side level but they were unequal to the task, leaving young Pearce in goals with his first Victory League clean sheet.
Rangers coach, Dane Hudson, was unimpressed after the match with his side’s performance; in particular, their inability to convert their chances into goals.
The loss continues Northern Rangers lean run at Valley Road, with the club winless at the venue since 2006.
Rangers also have some injury concerns out of the game. Both Adam Edwards and Yitay Towns left the game with knee injuries.
Devonport coach, Bobby Eaves, was a relieved man after the game and was particularly glowing of the effort put in by the Strikers’ defensive unit. Chilcott and the ever improving Luke Banfield were his standouts. This may provide a headache for Eaves next week, with the English Import, Josh Maskill, returning from suspension.
Next week, Devonport will travel down the Bass Highway on Sunday to take on the other northern club, Launceston City, whilst Rangers host the champs, South Hobart.