Cup action today and the Dell faced South Rangers Athletic a team a league above ourselves at the Oval, Manager Matthew Easterbrook ringed the changes and gave lads the opportunity to earn a place in the side. A hectic time prior to kick off (And probably a hectic morning looking at some of the lads hairdos) was due to photo shoots and Matthew Easterbrook fixing his hair for the photo?????WTF… results of that will be on this website asap.
Things didn’t start too well sloppy in possession wasteful balls being played and lack of simple organisation resulted in mild chaos from the dell this could possibly be due to the fact we had a host of players playing together for the first time, South Rangers seemed to know where to hurt us and continued long balls caught us off guard time and again.
Their front 4 were probing and causing headaches for us while not really testing Jason McGlaughlin in goal, Captain Paul Stewart and Sam Yates had to be on their toes in this time and to be fair if they wasn’t we could of found ourselves a goal down.
A few strange calls from the referee didn’t help our concentration either.
Lack of communication was apparent when Sam Yates brought the ball out of defence only to be greeted with no options and duly lost the ball giving South Rangers another chance.
We still caused problems ourselves in this period of time, Kieran Hamm and Michael Neish had snatched at efforts after good work from Kevin Machin and Dave Leslie who slotted in superbly on his debut for the club playing some wonderful football.
Michael Neish protected the ball superbly and turned his marker, the ball set up invitingly and Neishy fired it at goal, unfortunately the ball is still currently sat in a birds nest at the top of the tree behind the goal!! An Eli Thompson free kick seconds later almost knocked it back down!!
We slowly started to settle down Danny Croker at right back started to do the simple things and after a few mistakes at the start he started to gain confidence, Linking up with the superb Kevin Machin, Machin rode forward and played a simple yet effective ball inside to Danny Curran who played a perfect through ball to Kieran Hamm who fired in low across goal past the helpless keeper to bring a sigh of relief to the line and his team mates 1-0, a great finish from Hamm moments after missing another opportunity when presented by a good cross from Tom Briggs.
We now seemed to click and started playing some good stuff from Paul Stewart and Sam Yates at the back to Dave Leslie, Danny Curran and Kevin Machin……….. simple yet effective football creates space to exploit!
After a game of pinball in the box Danny Curran got a shot away and the keeper could only watch as it hit the back of the net 2-0.
We strode out for the second in a much stronger manner, straight from the off we played the simple stuff and looked to get more on the score sheet.
After 10 mins of controlling but not really doing much with it The Gaffa rung the changes off came Tom Briggs, Dave Leslie and Kieran Hamm for Philly Lennon, Adam Coulls and Liam Rose. The changes seemed to have an effect as we pressed higher up the pitch and started to create more opportunities, Lennon, Coulls and Rose all presented with chances which went begging.
A corner was won as a result of one of our chances and Danny Curran fired into the near post, a defender tried to clear the awkward ball but it just hit his mid rift and the pouncing Michael Neish finished with a great finish to cap off a hardworking display from the big man 3-0.
Stewart and Yates still had to be on their toes as a few long balls continued to cause us problems and one which found its way through had Jason McGlaughlin pouncing off his line to keep the clean sheet we wanted. Moments later The Gaffa made the last 2 changes which resulted in us changing our system, The impressive Kevin Machin and Eli Thompson both came off replacing them Matthew Easterbrook and Shaun Briggs.
Adam Coulls linked up well with Philly Lennon playing a stunning ball down the right Philly turned inside his marker and played it back to Danny Curran who slid it thru to Liam Rose who after turning his man looked certain to maintain his scoring spree but miscued his effort wide.
It took the sting out a bit the change is system and resulted in a few mistakes but once we settled we dominated to the very last second of the match. Matthew Easterbrook came on to shore up the middle and allow Coullsy space to probe which is what happened and to his credit Shaun Briggs came on and worked hard down the left.
There wasn’t really one bad tackle in the game a few mistimed from the opposition maybe but probably chomping at the bit to get involved The Gaffa left his mark on one South Rangers player with a hefty challenge resulting in a free kick
Some lovely quick flowing football from Yates, Easterbrook, Coulls and Curran resulted in Curran being released into space thru the middle and he rode forward playing a delightful ball over the top of their defence which Liam Rose met beautifully and fired a first time cross across the goal and the onrushing Philly Lennon fired it into the net for a great team goal 4-0.
And that’s how it finished, sloppy at times but a win is a win and against a team a league above and with changes made all in all it was a great result….The Dell march on.
The Gaffa gave M.O.M to Danny Curran, an impressive full debut for the 17 year old a goal, an assist and a hand in the other 2, himself and a few others will have given the management a big headache for the next game.