Rangers 3 Fife Elite 2
This weekend’s Development League fixture saw Rangers take on the Fife Elite Academy for the first time. This is a new initiative from Mark Wotte that combines the youth setups of Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline Athletic, East Fife and Raith Rovers, the unfortunate victims of this have been Queen’s Park, who have had their Elite status removed to make way for this new Academy, more on that later.
With the older Rangers teams at home it meant I took in the Under 17’s clash at Murray Park, and it was the new Fife side that took the lead after only four minutes, their player latching on to a slack pass back on the right side of the box to shoot past Robbie McCrorie. They then came close to increasing their lead on eighteen minutes, from a free-kick just outside the right side of Rangers penalty area, the shot had Robbie McCrorie beaten but bounced clear off his right hand post.
Rangers responded a couple of minutes later when Grant Nelson played the ball forward to Andy Dallas who burst past a defender into the box and was only denied an equaliser by a fine one-handed save by the Fife keeper low to his left. When the ball was cleared from the box Ross Lyon passed to Grant Nelson who’s effort was just wide of the keeper’s right hand post.
Midway through the half Ross Lyon delivered a corner from the left to beyond the back post where it was met by the head of Ross McCrorie with the keeper blocking on the line with his legs. The visitors the attacked down the left and into the penalty area but the shot failed to trouble Robbie McCrorie as it went wide of the near post.
The Fife side doubled their lead eight minutes before the break, their striker won possession midway inside Rangers half before striding forward and beating Robbie McCrorie low to his left from just outside the box.
Half-Time:-Rangers 0 Fife Elite 2
Five minutes after the break Ross Lyon’s pass released the Trialist No.9 inside the box, he rounded the keeper but his netbound shot was cleared from the goal line with Rangers claiming a hand ball. The Fife side the created a dangerous attack down the left and when the ball came into the box it took a fine clearance over his own bar by Kyle Bradley to prevent a third goal.
The visitors then had another chance just after the hour, when the ball was knocked up in the air in the Rangers box the Fife player’s header was just wide of Keiran Wright’s right hand post. A few minutes later Ross Lyon in possession on the right passed inside to Max Ashmore who’s shot from distance was just too high.
Midway through the half Rangers were awarded a free-kick around twenty-five yards from goal, Ross Lyon stepped up and his shot beat the defensive wall but was just wide of the keeper’s left hand post. Four minutes later Rangers pulled a goal back, Sam Jamieson played a one-two with Max Ashmore on the left side of the box and from the latter’s cutback Ross Lyon netted from close range.
Only a further five minutes had elapsed when Rangers drew level, Liam Burt sent the ball out to the overlapping Aidan Wilson on the right and his first time centre was knocked into the net by Sam Jamieson with the Fife defence claiming hand ball. With seven minutes remaining Rangers score what proved to be the winner, Liam Burt delivered a corner from the left and Kyle Bradley rose highest to head back across goal and into the top corner of the net.
The Fife side came close to squaring the game a couple of minutes later, their striker held of the challenge of Jason Krones as they chased a long ball, although his shot appeared to take a nick of the Rangers defender as the ball went wide of Kieran Wright’s left hand post. The resultant corner found its way to a Fife player beyond the back post and Kieran Wright got down to make a decent save from the shot from a tight angle.
Full-Time:-Rangers 3 Fife Elite 2
Rangers:- Robbie McCrorie (Kieran Wright HT); Aidan Wilson, Jason Krones, Ross McCrorie (Jamie Brandon HT), Kyle Bradley; Andy Dallas (Jamie Barjonas HT), Ross Lyon, Grant Nelson (Sam Jamieson HT), Lewis White (Kyle Clark HT); Josh Jeffries (Liam Burt 34mins); Trialist No9 (Max Ashmore 58mins).
Footnote:- At the same time Rangers Under 15’s scored eight without reply against their Fife opponents, the goals coming from Zak Rudden (4), Matthew Shiels (2), Jack Thomson & Carlo Pignatiello.
Meanwhile through in Fife the Under 13’s and Under 14’s won 16-1 & 13-1 respectively, scorelines that will have rendered the games meaningless for both sides, as neither side would have learnt anything from such one-sided games. Which brings me back to the innocent victims of Mark Wotte’s master plan, where as I am sure Rangers would have won both games against Queen’s Park, I am equally sure the scorelines would have been much closer.