Rangers U16s victorious in battle of the unbeaten teams

5 March 2014; A general view of a football. UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
5 March 2014; A general view of a football. UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Montenegro, Tallaght Stadium, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE

It was the clash of the unbeaten teams on Saturday and it was Banbridge Rangers Under 16s who held their recording, overcoming Dungannon Youth 2-1 at Scarva Park in a crunch league match.

The first clear cut chance of the match came from a snap shot at the edge of the box from Bradley Harper. The ball was played across to Bradley in a well worked move, with his first touch he got the ball out of his feet and stroke the ball quickly while two Dungannon defenders closed him down.

The Dungannon keeper got down quickly to push the ball past the post with a smart save. Dungannon broke the deadlock with five minutes to go in the first half when an uncharacteristic mistake from the Rangers keeper lead to the Dungannon striker stealing the balls from his grasp and passing into an open net.

Rangers started the second half in a confident mood and were determined to get back into the game and keep their unbeaten run intact.

Dungannon were closed down quicker and were unable to play their normal passing football, instead having to play it long.

Rangers were piling on the pressure, creating chances and forcing a number of corners in quick succession but weren’t able to convert any into goals.

Rangers finally got back on level terms midway through the second half with a goal that wouldn’t have looked out of place at the Nou Camp.

Matthew Dodds played the ball out wide to Matthew Smylie who drove at his marker with pace and cutting inside he played the ball to the feet of Andrew Trimble.

Andrew then flicked the ball over the Dungannon defender into the patch of Smylie who had continued his run. Beating the offside trap, Matthew took one touch to take the ball round the keeper and slotted l home.

In the last minutes, the winner could’ve came from either team when a Dungannon striker was put through one on one against the Rangers keeper Craig Robinson.

Craig was able to pull off a fantastic save to redeem himself from his earlier mistake which proved a pivotal movement seconds later.

From the resulting clearance ,Rangers were able to break on the counter attack with Bradley Harper closing down on goal only for his shot to be blocked by a Dunagnnon defender. From the corner, Rangers bagged the winner.

Dean McIlvena took the corner which was attacked perfecting in the box by Reuben Cobb who out-jumped his marker and with a bullet header smashed into the net.

Rangers held out for the final minutes of the game and took all three points increasing their lead at the top of the table.

Again there were several candidates for Man of the Match but this week it was Matthew Holloway who worked tirelessly in centre midfield breaking down Dungannon attacks and retaining possession while putting Rangers on the front foot.