All Square At Somerset

Ayr United 15’s 1 Rangers 14’s 1

Rangers Under 14’s supplemented by Under 15’s Ben Andoh and Andy Dallas were held by Ayr United’s Under 15’s at Somerset Park this afternoon. It was the proverbial game of two halves, with Rangers edging the first period and Ayr coming back strongly in the second and probably creating the chances to win the game.

After a quiet opening spell Rangers created the first real chance just before the quarter-hour, when the ball was played into the penalty area Carlo Pigniatiello laid it back to Mati Zattafarra on the edge of the box, his shot was powerful enough but too straight and the keeper saved. Five minutes later some good play out on the right created a chance for the home side with Darren Montgomery saving at the Ayr player’s feet.

Twenty minutes had passed when Jack Thomson broke forward from defence and his pass released Andy Dallas who tried to go round the keeper who forced him wide and the danger was cleared. A minute later Rangers were awarded a free kick just outside the left side of the penalty area, with the Ayr defence expecting a shot  Jack Thomson slipped a pass to the  unmarked Carlo Pigniatiello on the left side of the box and the home keeper diverted his shot wide.

The next chance came from another Jack Thomson break forward and this time his pass sent Carlo Pigniatiello in the clear with the Ayr keeper advancing from his line to block. The home side immediately broke to the other end with a dangerous looking attack on the right than came to an end with a superb Scott Gary challenge.

Darren Montgomery was called into action on thirty-three minutes, the attack came down the left and deep into the Rangers penalty area, the Rangers keeper stood tall to block at the near post. Right on the stroke of half time Rangers took the lead, when the ball was cleared from the Ayr box out towards the right hand byline Michael Hewitt sent a cross come shot over the keeper and into the net.

Half-Time:- Ayr United 0 Rangers 1

Rangers came close to doubling their lead eight minutes after the break, Scott Gray’s free-kick from just outside the right side of the penalty area clipping the crossbar on the way over. The home side then opened up the Rangers defence with a fine passing move that should have led to an equaliser but with only Darren Montgomery to beat their striker shot wide of the keeper’s right hand post.

They were to pass up an even better opportunity on fifty-five minutes when Darren Montgomery was caught in possession and fouled the Ayr player and the referee pointed to the spot, the Rangers keeper redeemed himself by diving to his right to block the powerful shot. Five minutes later he had to save low to his left when the Ayr player tried his luck after cutting in from the left.

Ayr United were now on top and the next chance came from a free-kick midway inside Rangers half, the ball was sent towards the right side of Rangers six yard box to find the centre back unmarked but he could only knock the ball over. As the midway point of the half approached the Rangers defence was breached again with Darren Montgomery racing from his line to block and getting back on his feet to gather the effort from the rebound.

As the final quater hour approached the home side’s pressure paid off, from a free-kick wide on the right Rangers clearance was miscued and the Ayr player shot through a crowded box and into the bottom corner. Rangers had a chance to snatch a win in the final minute, Stephen Kelly fed Scott Blacklaw on the right and Carlo Pigniatiello got on the end of his cross but his header was weak and the keeper saved comfortably.

Full-Time:- Ayr United 1 Rangers 1

Rangers Squad:- Darren Montgomery (Gk), Jack Pow, Scott Gray, Jack Thomson, Lewis Mayo, Scott Blacklaw, Ben Andoh, Mati Zattafarra, Carlo Pigniatiello, Stephen Kelly, Andy Dallas, Aaron Reid, Cammy Palmer, Michael Hewitt.

Footnote:- Rangers Under 15’s had a comfortbale 6-1 win over St.Johnstone at Murray Park on Friday night with goals from Sam Jamieson (3), Zak Rudden, Andy Dallas & Liam Burt.

Rangers Squad:- Thomas Kucz (Gk), Matthew Flynn (Gk), Jack Thomson, Scott Gray, Jason Krones, Robbie Smith, Aidan Wilson, Ben Andoh, Jamie Barjonas, Sam Jamieson, Liam Gibson, Liam Burt, Zak Rudden, Andy Dallas, Kieran Balfour.

On Sunday Rangers Under 17’s recorded a 3-1 win over Dundee United at St.Andrew’s University, the goals coming from Junior Ogen (2) & Chris McDonald.

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