This weekend’s youth football fix was a double-header at Murray Park where Rangers 15’s and 17’s took on Kilmarnock. First up was the morning clash between the under 15’s sides.
Rangers 8 Kilmanock 1
Rangers Under 15’s blew their opponents away in the final thirteen minutes of the first half, a dogged defensive display had kept them at bay up until that point and credit to the young Killie side as they pretty much held their own after the break and kept trying to play football.
Rangers first chance came just after the quarter-hour mark when Matty Yates passed to Simon Millar inside the penalty area but he shot straight at the keeper. Barely a minute later Simon Millar in possession wide on the right laid the ball back to Kyle McClelland who’s cross to the back post found Kai Kennedy who’s volley was saved at the near post.
As the midpoint of the half approached Murray Miller played the ball forward to Matty Yates on the edge of the penalty area and a good turn created the space for a shot the keeper saved low to his right. Rangers were awarded a free-kick just over five minutes later and right of centre, Ciaran Dickson fired a shot over the wall and off the crossbar.
Rangers next effort came when Darren Watterson broke forward from left back before forcing a save from the keeper from the edge of the penalty area. Rangers eventually made the break through on thirty-two minutes, Ross Young strode forward before firing a shot into the keeper’s top right hand corner from the edge of the penalty area.
A minute later Matty Yates played in Ciaran Dickson inside the right side of the box but his shot clipped the far post on the way wide. Chances were now coming along on what seemed a minute by minute basis, when Kai Kennedy played the ball to Matty Yates inside the box the chance seemed lost as he was forced away from goal but he hooked the ball over his head, over the keeper and into the net.
The third goal soon followed, Darren Watterson played the ball forward to Kai Kennedy on the left and he showed neat skills to hit the byline before picking out Murray Miller who made no mistake from around eight yards. Two minutes later Matty Yates fed Kai Kennedy inside the left side of the penalty area and he sidestepped a defender before shooting into the far corner.
When Ross Young played the ball forward to Kai Kennedy on the edge of the box he laid the ball back into his path and the shot had the keeper diving high to his right to save. Ross Young was the creator of Rangers fifth goal, going past two defenders as he broke into the left side of the box before squaring for Matty Yates to fire past the keeper.
There was still time for another Rangers goal before the break, when the keeper failed to hold on to Kai Kennedy’s twenty fiver yarder Matty Yates pounced to take the ball round him and walk it into the net.
Half-Time:- Rangers 6 Kilmarnock 0
Rangers had an early chance to add to their tally after the break when Kai Kennedy chased down the keeper and dispossessed him before teeing up Niyah Joseph who’s shot was cleared off the line by a defender. Number seven did arrive just before the hour, Simon Millar’s run down the right took him to the byline and his cutback was slammed into the net by Niyah Joseph.
Within a couple of minutes the visitor’s tested Lewis Budinauckas with a shot from distance that forced the keeper into a fine save high to his left. Rangers were soon back on attack and when Murray Miller moved the ball to Ryan Muir his shot from around twenty-five yards forced the keeper to save low to his right and he was quickly back on his feet to deny Niyah Joseph from the rebound.
As the game neared the final quarter-hour Killie grabbed the goal that their resilience deserved, the attack came down the right before the ball was moved central and a final pass into the left side of the penalty area where is was fired past Lewis Budinauckas. The scoring was completed with eleven minutes remaining, Tom Henderson and Matty Yates worked a short corner on the left before the ball was passed to Ciaran Dickson on the angle of the penalty area and he shot across the keeper into the far corner.
Full-Time:- Rangers 8 Kilmarnock 1
Rangers Squad:- Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), Kyle McClelland, Darren Watterson, Murray Miller, Ally Monro, Harris O’Connor, Matty Yates, Ross Young, Simon Millar, Ciaran Dickson, Kai Kennedy, Euan Deveney, Tom Henderson, Niyah Joseph, Ryan Muir, Aaron Bryson.
Rangers 2 Kilmarnock 1
Leading a game they had dominated by a solitary goal it looked like Killie’s late sucker punch would result in two dropped points until Stephen Kelly popped up with a ninetieth minute winner.
Rangers had an early chance on seven minutes when a through ball sent Dapo Medude clear inside the right side of the penalty area but the keeper was quick from his line to block with his legs. Rangers were dominating possession but the half hour mark had passed when Cammy Palmer and Matthew Shiels combined to set up a shooting chance for Mati Zata on the edge of the box that the keeper saved low to his right.
Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Kilmarnock 0
Rangers missed a great chance to take the lead four minutes into the second half, Matthew Shiels broke forward before releasing Zac Butterworth on the right, from his low cross Dapo Mebude looked certain to score at the back post but he failed to connect and the chance was lost. The deadlock was broken three minutes later, Zac Butterworth combined with Stephen Kelly to play through Matthew Shiels, as he converged with the advancing keeper the ball broke kindly for Mati Zata to knock into the net.
Midway through the half Stephen Kelly passed to Josh McPake on the right he delayed his pass to match the overlapping run of Danny Finlayson who cut inside a defender before cracking a shot off the crossbar. Within sixty seconds a Mati Zata pass gave Dapo Mebude a chance inside the right side of the box but he was again denied by the legs of the keeper.
With twenty minutes remaining Josh McPake in possession on the edge of the box picked on Matthew Shiels inside the right side of the penalty area but he shot narrowly wide of the far post. With eight minute remaining it looked likely that Rangers would rue those missed chances, when the ball was worked to the right hand angle of Rangers box the player was unchallenged as he entered the penalty area to shoot past Brian Kinnear.
Rangers tried to respond from a free-kick right of centre and around twenty-five yards from goal, Stephen Kelly moved the ball inside to Scott Gray who’s shot was held under the crossbar by the keeper. Killie also felt they could grab the winner and within a minute they were forcing Brian Kinnear into a save from a twenty-five yarder.
With the clock reaching the ninety minute mark Kyle Bradley sent a ball into the penalty area from wide right, when Matthew Shiels challenged with the keeper the ball broke to Stephen Kelly who coolly lobbed the ball over the heads in a crowded six yard box and into the net. Rangers had to withstand a couple of long balls pumped into their box in injury time to secure a deserved three points.
Full-Time:- Rangers 2 Kilmarnock 1
Rangers:- Brian Kinner; Danny Finlayson, Kyle Bradley, Rhys Breen (Michael Hewitt 66 mins), Scott Gray; Cammy Palmer; Mati Zata, Stephen Kelly; Zac Butterworth (Josh McPake 58 mins), Dapo Mebude, Matthew Shiels.
Not Used:- Nicky Hogarth (Gk), Nathan Patterson, Kieran McKechnie.