The first youth round up of 2016 saw Rangers take on Ayr United at Under 20’s, Fife Elite at under 17’s, while U12’s through to U15’s took on Club Northern Ireland.
The weekend began on Friday evening with Rangers Under 20’s taking on Ayr United in a friendly at Murray Park. I couldn’t make it along to the game which Rangers won 3-1 with goals from Max Ashmore, Tom Lang and Rory Currie.
On Saturday morning Rangers took on Fife Elite in the Under 17 Development game with Rangers winning comfortably.
Rangers 8 Fife Elite 0
Rangers were quick out the blocks and there was only four minutes elapsed when Andy Dallas hit the byline on the right, his cross was met by the head of Liam Burt with the visitor’s keeper getting down to his left to make the save. The opening goal came barely sixty seconds later, Andy Dallas skinned the left back and drove into the right side of the box, when the defence failed to clear his centre the ball fell kindly for Zak Rudden to volley past the keeper.
On seven minutes Rangers doubled their lead, Jamie Barjonas played the ball forward to Liam Burt just outside the left side of the penalty area and he shot across the keeper and into the net. Rangers third goal came before the quarter hour mark, Andy Dallas in possession on the right passed inside to Jack Thomson who broke towards the box before exchanging passes with Zak Rudden to break through in to the area and slot the ball past the keeper.
Just over five minute later Liam Burt robbed a defender outside the Fife Elite box before passing to Sam Jamieson who shot narrowly wide of the keeper’s left hand post. The fourth goal soon followed, Liam Burt broke forward and sent Zak Rudden through the inside right channel and he continued into the box and shot past the keeper.
Seven minutes before the break Rangers scored a fifth, Aidan Wilson played the ball forward to Andy Dallas on the right, once again he took on and comfortably beat the full-back before entering the box and beating the keeper from a tight angle. The first half scoring was completed three minutes later, from a quick free-kick on the right hand angle of the box Jamie Barjonas touched the ball to Zak Rudden fired a shot over the head of the keeper and into the far top corner.
Right on the half-time whistle only a goal line clearance prevented a seventh goal for Rangers, from Jamie Barjonas corner from the left Aidan Wilson headed back across goal and Zak Rudden’s flicked header was net bound until a defender popped up at the keeper’s right hand post to clear.
Half-Time:- Rangers 6 Fife Elite 0
With the result secured Rangers made four half-time substitutions but the flow of play continued towards the Fife Elite goal and with just over ten minutes of the half played Rangers scored again. The move started with Stephen Kelly who passed to Liam Burt, his pass split the defence and released Zak Rudden inside the left side of the box to shoot past the keeper.
To the visitor’s credit they responded by creating their first real chance of the game, it was created on the left and when they broke into the penalty area it took a block from the legs of Kieran Wright to prevent a goal. Rangers were soon back on the attack, this time on the right of the area, Stephen Kelly played a one-two with Zak Rudden to create a shooting chance that the keeper saved.
With ten minutes remaining the Fife defence eventually cleared a corner from their penalty area but only as far as Jordan Houston, the full-back’s shot beat the keeper but came back off the crossbar. But he wasn’t to be denied and with two minutes remaining he combined with Stephen Kelly and Zak Rudden on the right, the latter’s flick released Jordan Houston to shoot across the keeper and into the net.
Full-Time:- Rangers 8 Fife Elite 0
Rangers:- Kieran Wright; Aidan Wilson (Jordan Houston HT), Jason Krones (Lewis Mayo HT), Kyle Bradley (Rhys Breen 65mins), Scott Gray; Jack Thomson (Kieran Balfour HT); Jamie Barjonas, Liam Burt; Andy Dallas, Zak Rudden, Sam Jamieson (Stephen Kelly HT).
Not Used:- Lewis Muir.
The afternoon games saw Rangers take on Club Northern Ireland at eleven-a-side at under 13’s and four nine-a-side games at Under 12’s. Club Northern Ireland is the IFA’s Elite Youth Programme, so in effect a Northern Ireland squad for that age group. As is the norm I take in the oldest age group, so it was the Under 13’s game. Rangers edged the first period but were second best in period’s two and three and the Northern Irish side were comfortable winners.
Rangers 2 Club NI 5
Rangers fell behind to an early goal on three minutes, a short corner was worked on the left and from the cross the ball was headed past Jay Hogarth. Five minutes later a superb Robbie Fraser pass split the defence and picked out Adam Devine breaking into the left side of the box, he low cross was deflected goalwards by a defender but the keeper managed to block with his legs.
Rangers levelled the game on twelve minutes, Adam Devine’s through ball saw Reegan Aitken out strip the defence and he was brought down as he rounded the keeper, with Alex Lowrie stepping up to convert from the spot. Robbie Fraser then latched on to a slack pass to release Reegan Aitken on the right side of the box with the keeper diverting his shot wide of the near post.
With seven minutes of the period remaining another Robbie Fraser pass split the defence to release Reegan Aitken who rounded the keeper before firing the ball into the net. Within in a couple of minutes Reegan Aitken sent Matthew Collins down the right and he exchanged passes with Alex Lowrie before testing the keeper at his near post.
Club NI had an early chance in the first minute of the second period, the ball was played through the inside right channel and it took a save high to his left from Jay Hogarth to turn the ball wide. As the midpoint of the period approached the visitors attacked on the left, Jay Hogarth saved the initial effort from a tight angle and excelled when he touched the rebound on to the crossbar.
Club NI’s pressure paid when they equalised with seven minutes of the period remaining, again it was a cross from the left and a header this time past substitute keeper Grant Thackray.
Two goals early in the final period saw Club NI seal the win, the first came when their midfielder was sent through the middle and he continued into the box to shoot past Grant Thackray. A couple of minutes later the ball was sent out wide right and the winger attacked before crossing low for the ball to be fired into the net.
The visitor’s scored again just after the period’s turn round, their midfielder taking on two Rangers defenders before knocking the ball over the head of Grant Thackray. The final action saw Grant Thackray saving to his left from a shot from the edge of the box.
Full-Time:- Rangers 2 Club NI 5
Rangers:- Jay Hogarth (Grant Thackray 46mins); Aidan Berry (Kai Kilptrick 41mins), Lorenzo Giovanazzi, Leon King, Adam Devine; Greg Chalmers (Callum McComb 56mins); Robbie Fraser, Lewis Robertson; Matthew Collins ( Robbie Ure ), Reegan Aitken, Alex Lowrie.
The schedule for Sunday had both games kicking of at the same time, but when I arrived the U14’s game was underway. It was decided this game would be thirty-five minutes each way with the U15’s game following straight after and played over two forty minute periods. I had missed the first fifteen minutes but the game was still goalless.
Rangers 5 Club NI 1
Rangers took the lead on the twenty minute mark, Owen McGinty took on and went past the full-back on the left and he hit the byline, his centre was converted at close range by Aaron Bryson. Five minutes later the sides were level, Caolan McLaughlin capitalised on some slack defensive play to attack on the left and enter the penalty box before beating Nicky Hogarth via his near post.
Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Club NI 1
Rangers regained the lead four minutes into the second half, Kai Kennedy passed to Owen McGinty wide on the left and he cut inside before shooting across the keeper and into the far corner of the net. Rangers next chance came when Euan Deveney got his head to Blair Rossiter’s corner from the left only to see it cleared from the line.
Barely sixty seconds later Kai Kennedy’s shot from the edge of the box took a significant deflection and Fintan Coney managed to changed direction and make a fine save to his left. Just after the quarter hour mark Euan Deveney broke forward and passed inside to Jordan Critchley who’s shot from the edge of the box was saved low to his left by Fintan Coney.
Rangers doubled their lead with thirteen minutes remaining, when the ball was cleared from the Club NI penalty box to Owen McGinty just outside the left side of the box, he cut inside before firing a shot over the keeper and into the top corner. With ten minutes remaining Owen McGinty combined with Jordan Critchley to free the latter inside the box, Fintan Coney made a superb save from the initial shot but was helpless when the Rangers striker knocked the rebound into the net.
The scoring was completed five minutes later, Euan Deveney broke from defence on the left, he passed inside to Jordan Critchley who forced a fine save from Fintan Coney but again the Rangers striker followed up to blast the ball high into the net.
Full-Time:- Rangers 5 Club NI 1
Rangers Squad:- Nicky Hogarth (Gk), Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), Callum Biggar, Euan Deveney, Ciaran Dickson, Kyle McLelland, Ally Monro, Matty Yates, Kai Kennedy, Aaron Bryson, Tom Henderson, Owen McGinty, Jordan Critchley, Ben Lauchan, Ryan Muir, Blair Rossiter, Harry Livesey.
Club NI Squad:- Fintan Coney (Gk), Jesse Carson, Ben Gallagher, Charlie White, Luke McKendry, Dylan Boyle, Ben Wiley, Carl Johnston, Chris McKee, Chris Conn, Ben Cushnie, Dean Corrigan, Caolan McLaughlin, George Tipton, Barry Baggley.
Rangers 1 Club NI 0
Rangers took the lead in the ninth minute, from a pass back keeper Tiernan Parker evaded Scott Blacklaw when pressed but was dispossesed by Dapo Mebude who rolled the ball into the net. A quick break following a Rangers corner just before the quarter hour mark created a chance for the visitors, Conor Farrelly sent Ben Wilson down the left, he broke into the box but his shot flashed across goal.
As the half-hour mark approached Billy Gilmour broke forward and went past a defender before playing Dapo Mebude on the left side of the box, on this occasion he was denied by Tiernan Parker who blocked with his legs. The vistor’s responed when Ethan Galbraith’s pass sent Ben Wilson through on the right side of the penalty area, Lewis Muir advanced from his line to block and Danny Finlayson was on hand to complete the clearance.
A couple of minutes before the break Billy Gilmour passed to Dapo Mebude on the halfway line, he laid the ball off to Josh McPake who broke forward before returning the ball to Dapo Mebude, he continued into the right side of the box before forcing Tiernan Parker to turn the ball wide of his near post.
Half-Time:-Rangers 1 Club NI 0
Five minutes after the break Josh McPake was brought down just outside the box, Billy Gilmour drove the free kick past the wall with Scott Pengelly getting down to his right to save. Three minutes later Lewis McGrattan and Billy Gilmour combined to feed Josh McPake on the edge of the box, he made space for the shot but it was too straight and Scott Pengelly saved comfortably.
On fifty-five minutes Josh McPake and Lewis McGrattan combined to sent Dapo Mebude through, Scott Pengelly came of his line to parry his shot and Ethan Warnock got back to clear as the ball rolled towards the empty net. As the game entered the final seven minutes the visitor’s pushed for an equaliser. Ethan Galbraith broke forward before picking out Jake Corbett inside the box and it took and fine block from the foot of Nicky Hogarth to protect Rangers lead.
Ethan Galbraith again combined with Jake Corbett, on this occasion the ball was moved on to sent up a shooting chance for Jack Conlon who fired over. Club NI had one final chance in the last seconds, Barney McKeown broke from centre of defence and passed to Mal Smith wide on the right, his cross picked out Conor Farrelly unmarked and with the goal at his mercy but he headed over.
Full-Time:- Rangers 1 Club NI 0
Rangers Squad:- Lewis Muir (Gk), Nicky Hogarth (Gk), Nathan Patterson, Zac Butterworth, Ross Young, Aiden Gibb, Danny Finlayson, Kieran McKechnkie, Billy Gilmour, Dapo Mebude, Josh McPake, Scott Blacklaw, Lewis McGrattan, Andy Rodden, Jordan Critchley.
Club NI Squad:- Tiernan Parker (Gk), Scott Pengelly, Barney McKeown, Jack Conlon, Sam McClelland, Ethan Warnock, Jordan McEneff, Ethan Galbraith, Ben Wilson, Conor Farrelly, George Curran, Mal Smith, Jake Corbett, Andy Whiteside, Kian McGarvey, Callum Ferris.