Rangers 3 Utrecht 2
The early kick-off meant I could take in Rangers Under 17’s Friendly at Murray Park before heading through to watch the first team at Tynecastle. It took a late goal from Gloady Ntumba to secure a win in a game where the Ibrox youngsters should have been out of sight.
Rangers took the lead in the opening minute, Danny Stoney crossed from the byline on the left, Darren Ramsay controlled the ball at the back post before passing inside for Tom Walsh to shoot past the keeper. Three minutes later another attack down the left almost produced a second, Fraser Aird’s header from Charlie Telfer’s cross saw the keeper dive to his left to turn the ball wide for a corner.
Rangers continued to dominate and the next chance came from a corner on the right, Craig Halkett rising to head just wide. Just before the twenty-minute mark Rangers doubled their lead, Jamie Burrows played the ball up to Danny Stoney a great turn took him clear of the defender, the Utrecht keeper should have dealt with his shot but let it slip through his fingers and legs and roll into the net.
The procession towards the Utrecht goal continued and when Charlie Telfer swung a free-kick in from the right Craig Halkett rose highest and the visitor’s keeper had to tip over. The home side should have increased their lead just after the half-hour, Charlie Telfer got to the byline on the right and his cross found Tom Walsh at the back post unmarked but he headed wide when a goal looked certain.
Half-Time:- Rangers 2 Utrecht 0
Rangers were only denied by the wooodwork five minutes after the break, Tom Walsh’s run on the left took him to the byline and his cutback found Fraser Aird arriving to thunder a shot off the underside of the crossbar. The visitor’s who had shown little in an attacking sense went straight to the other end and a shot from the right hand angle of the box came off the outside of Liam Kelly’s left hand post and wide.
Rangers looked to have extended their lead midway through the half, from Fraser Aird’s low cross from the right Dylan Dykes was denied by a point-blank save with Gloady Ntumba knocking the rebound into the net, but a late lineman’s flag ruled the goal out. The home side were to pay for the decision as a minute later, from a cross on the right Greg Pascazio’s attempted headed clearance looped over Liam Kelly and into the net.
With fifteen minutes remaining Craig Halkett continued to cause a threat at set plays this time the keeper saved his header from Fraser Aird’s corner on the right. Five minutes later Dylan Dykes broke forward and fed Danny Stoney on the right side of the box, but his shot flashed across goal and wide of the keeper’s right hand post.
With seven minutes on the clock it looked like the home side’s dominance would mean nothing when Utrecht equalised, good play down the left created the chance and when the ball was cutback it was fired past Sam George. A solo run from Gloady Ntumba looked like getting Rangers back in front but his shot was deflected over.
With only three minutes to go Rangers grabbed what proved to be the winner, Jamie Burrows rose to get a flick on when the ball was played forward, Gloady Ntumba showed great strength to hold off the defender as he advanced into the box and shot past the keeper. There was one final chance for the visitor’s in the last mintute but Sam George was up to the task diving to his right to turn the ball wide.
Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Utrecht 2
Rangers Squad:- Liam Kelly (Gk), Sam George (Gk), Ryan Sinnamon, Jordan Wilson, Greg Pascazio, Craig Halkett, Charlie Telfer, Fraser Aird, Darren Ramsay, Jamie Burrows, Danny Stoney, Tom Walsh, Dylan Dykes, Gloady Ntumba, Jamie Mills.