Rangers Clip Eagles’ Wings To Reach Shield Final

December 24, 2018

Southampton Rangers continued their inexorable march toward silverware with a decisive 2-0 win over chief contenders Somerset Eagles during yesterday’s curtain-raiser at Devonshire Recreation Club field.

Demonstrating a quality belying their status among the First Division the south-side club provided an unrelenting and creative brand of attacking soccer espoused by coach Jomar Wilkinson against their more western opponents, who competed well but were simply not of the standard of an in-form Southampton.

Goals from Cardell Henry and Isaiah Taylor were more than adequate to offset any threat eagles may have believed themselves to pose with Henry striking midway the first half and Taylor stamping late exclamation with a tally during time added on in the second period.

From the outset Rangers clicked, particularly up front where Henry and Donte Brangman exploited avenues on the flanks and trouble markers with their pace and ball skills and if not for their inadequacies in shooting accuracy the scoreline would have been further lopsided.

As it was in the 36th minute Henry became the beneficiary of a Brangman foray down the right side on a thoughtful feed from Trey Durham, with Brangman firing in a wayward shot that meandered to Henry following up on the play and his effort did not miss finding the target.

Eagles had flashing moments of opportunity — mostly on counter-attacks and against the run of play — with many of these involving main play-maker Tahj Wade, however Rangers yet controlled majority play.

Eagles coach Jensen Rogers abhorred his troop to up the ante during he half-time interval but his motivational lecture was in vain as Rangers resumed their charge unfettered following the break as the first half script was repeated.

It was left to Taylor to salt away the triumph late with a text book finish, curling a shot from just outside the penalty area into the top left corner with goalkeeper Lorenzo Burch able to get his fingertips to the effort but unable to keep it out.

“We had plenty of chances and the game could have been a lot different but my team showed character and discipline to stick to the defensive job that needed to be done,” said coach Wilkinson afterwards, himself an attack minded deadly finisher up front during his playing career.

“So I’m really proud of my players’ performance today and I hope that it encourages players to really dig in defensively because defence wins championships.”

For the men from Somerset Bridge the loss was extremely unsatisfying however coach Rogers was quick to inform and note that they are still in a control position as they enter the second half of the season with the larger goal of gaining promotion from the First to the Premier Division.

“It’s always disappointing to lose, but it was a good game,” said Rogers, who’s men are second to Rangers at the midway point of their league campaign. “I think certain [refereeing] decisions robbed the fans of a spectacle and at 1-0 down we still had a chance, but the goalkeeper for Ranges pulled off some magnificent saves.

“In the end somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, we still have the league to look forward to.

“The game had very small margins. We took a little long to settle in the first half and when we finally settle we were causing threats, but it was small margins in terms of our final passes and decisions. But small margins against a team like Ranges and you come off on the losing end.”

Southampton will face the winner of the Boxing Day semifinal between, Hamilton Parish and Devonshire Colts which takes place at Lords, St. David’s starting at 12 noon.

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