Rangers 5 St.Mirren 2
Finishing time at work meant I couldn’t make it to Newtongrange in time for the Development League game against Hearts, but there was an alternative with the Under 15’s taking on their St.Mirren counterparts at Murray Park.
After an even start Zak Rudden came close three times in as many minutes either side of the ten minute mark, the first chance came when Mati Zata attacked the centre of the Saint’s defence the ball broke to Zak Rudden who forced the keeper into a save from deep inside the right side of the penalty area. The Rangers striker then got on the end of Jordan Houston’s cross from the right and the keeper made an even better save diving to his left to parry his header. When the ball broke to Zak Rudden on the edge of the box, this time he beat the keeper only to see the ball come back off the crossbar.
A couple of minutes later Rangers took the lead, Jordan Houston sent Cammy Palmer towards the byline on the right and when he pulled the ball back Stephen Kelly was well placed to finish from around eight yards. Rangers were in front for less than five minutes, when the defence failed to clear a corner from the left it eventually fell for a Saints player to shoot past Josh Donaldson.
Rangers were soon back in front though, when the ball was cleared following a Rangers attack Rhys Breen knocked it over the advancing defence to find Jack Thomson who beat the offside trap and he had time to move the ball inside on to his left foot and place the ball beyond the keeper. Just after the half-hour the St.Mirren centre back won the ball on the halfway line before going for goal from around thirty yards that had Josh Donaldson stretching to tip over.
As the half entered the final ten minutes St.Mirren created a chance deep inside the right side of Rangers penalty area that had Josh Donaldson diving to his right to save. Rangers capitalised by scoring twice in as many minutes. A great turn on the left side of the penalty area from Zak Rudden created the space to drive the ball across the six yard box where Mati Zata arrived to fire into the net from close range. Scott Gray then delivered a corner from the right and with the Saints defence struggling to clear, the ball eventually landed for Rhys Breen to score from close range.
Half-Time:- Rangers 4 St.Mirren 1
Rangers started the second half on the front foot, Zak Rudden attacked down the left and when he found Mati Zata on the edge of the box the keeper saved low to his left. The visitors replied by attacking through the middle and Josh Donaldson was called into action saving low to his right.
On the hour mark Jordan Houston’s corner from the right fell for Jack Thomson around the penalty spot but he could only shoot straight at the keeper. Ten minutes later Jordan Houston and Scott Blacklaw combined on the right and when the ball broke kindly for the latter he shot narrowly over.
A superb run from Saint’s midfielder a minute later took him past a couple of defenders as he made his way to the left hand byline and when he played the ball into the middle his colleague shot past Josh Donaldson. Rangers replied with a Zak Rudden attack down the left his ball into the box broke for Carlo Pignatiello who passed across the box to Scott Blacklaw, his shot beat the keeper but a defender got back to clear off the line.
A minute later Aaron Reid’s low corner from the right was flicked on by Zak Rudden’s heel but Cammy Wray could only head over at the back post. The next Rangers goal wasn’t delayed long, Lewis Mayo sent Zak Rudden down the right and he went past two defenders on the byline before finding the net from a narrow angle.
The next chance came when Jordan Houston chased the ball down the left and when his ball into the box was cleared to the edge of the area Carlo Pignatiello brought out a fine one-handed save from the keeper. The final chance of the game was created and executed by Jordan Houston, he flicked the ball over the head of a defender before bringing out a save from the Saints keeper low to his left.
Full-Time:- Rangers 5 St.Mirren 2
Rangers Squad:- Josh Donaldson (Gk), Lewis Muir (Gk), Jordan Houston, Scott Gray, Lewis Mayo, Rhys Breen, Jack Thomson, Cammy Palmer, Mati Zata, Zak Rudden, Stephen Kelly, Aaron Reid, Scott Blacklaw, Carlo Pignatiello, Matthew Shiels, Cammy Wray.
Footenote:- Goals from Tom Walsh, Darren Ramsay & Ryan Hardie gave Rangers their first win in four attempts in this season’s Development League.