16’s Beat Sunderland

Rangers 4 Sunderland 3

Rangers Under 16’s hosted EPL Academy side Sunderland at Murray Park this afternoon. It was the reverse of a fixture that these sides played at the end of last season which the Rangers youngsters won 3-1. It was another deserved victory today in what was an entertaining encounter.

The first opportunity came on ten minutes when Billy Gilmour and Zac Butterworth worked a short corner on the right, when the ball was played into the penalty area the Sunderland keeper had to look lively to save at the feet of Lewis McGrattan. Just after the quarter-hour mark the English side had a great chance to take the lead, the move was built up on the left side of the box and when the ball was passed inside it took a superb save from Nicky Hogarth low to his left to keep out the shot.

Rangers took the lead a couple of minutes later, there seemed little danger when Niyah Joseph picked up the ball midway inside the Sunderland half, he took a couple of steps forward before unleashing a strike from fully thirty yards into the keeper’s top left hand corner. The visitors tried to respond immediately with some good attacking play on the left with the attempted cross deflecting into the arms of Nicky Hogarth.

Rangers were unfortunate not to double their lead just after the half-hour, Jamie Walker’s cross from the left found its way to Dapo Mebude at the back post, his net bound shot was cleared from the line and Aiden Gibb couldn’t connect properly with the rebound allowing the keeper to block with his legs. Sunderland capitalised on the let off by going straight up the other end and drawing level. A long ball allowed them to break towards the byline on the left and when the ball was played across goal it set up a simple finish at the back post.

Rangers regained the lead four minutes before the break with another superb goal, Dapo Mebude went past a defender on the left, rode another challenge inside the penalty area before shooting across the keeper and into the far corner. The Ibrox youngsters couldn’t quite hold on to their lead with Sunderland equalising immediately. A fine pass inside Nathan Patterson allowed them to get to the left hand byline and again the ball across goal ended with a simple finish.

Half-Time:- Rangers 2 Sunderland 2

Rangers lead was again restored a couple of minutes before the hour. A challenge in midfield saw the ball break towards the Sunderland box, Dapo Mebude was alert and pounced to lob the ball over the advancing keeper and into the net. A fourth goal followed on the hour, Josh McPake sent Dapo Mebude down the left, he left a defender in his wake as he bore into the penalty area, the keeper parried his effort on goal but only into the path of Ross Young who fired the loose ball into the net.

Sunderland responded with an attack into the right side of Rangers penalty area that forced a save from Nicky Hogarth at his near post. Within a minute another attack came, this time on the left and the shot beat Nicky Hogarth but rebounded from the crossbar.

Sunderland reduced the deficit in their next attack, from a free-kick wide on the right hand touchline the ball broke to an attacker inside the left side of the box and he shot across Nicky Hogarth and into the net. As the game entered the final ten minutes Sunderland’s attacking midfielder sent off on a solo run that took him deep into the right side of the penalty area which was only halted by a superb Harris O’Connor challenge.

The final serious effort on goal came when Ross Young broke forward and his shot from the edge of the box was just wide of the keeper’s right hand post.

Full-Time:- Rangers 4 Sunderland 3

Rangers Squad:- Nicky Hogarth (Gk), Brian Kinnear (Gk), Nathan Patterson, Jamie Walker, Lewis McGrattan, Harris O’Connor, Aiden Gibb, Zac Butterworth, Billy Gilmour, Dapo Mebude, Josh McPake, Niyah Joseph, Ben Williamson, Andy Rodden, Kieran McKechnie, Ross Young, Owen McGinty.

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