Midweek Youth Games

Tuesday and Wednesday gave me the opportunity to take in another couple of youth games. Tuesday’s afternoon game saw Rangers take on Aberdeen at Under 15’s and Wednesday evening’s game was Rangers Under 16’s against USA ODP Region 1 Under 17’s.

Rangers 1 Aberdeen 2

Rangers under 15’s were unable to overcome the loss of an early goal in each half and an unfortunate run of injuries in Tuesday’s clash with Aberdeen.

Aberdeen took lead in the third minute with an attack into the right side of the penalty area where the ball was knocked over the head of Lewis Budinauckas and into the net. Rangers tried to respond immediately with Matty Yates shooting over from inside the right side of the box.

Just before the quarter-hour mark the keeper fumbled Kai Kennedy’s free-kick from the left hand angle of the box, the ball bounced off his left hand post back into his arms. Midway through the half Owen McGinty limped off to be replaced by Blair Craig. Just after the half-hour a slack pass allowed Aberdeen to break into the left side of the penalty area and force a save from Lewis Budinauckas at his near post.

Five minutes later Ciaran Dickson progressed along the left hand byline but there were no takers when his low cross flashed across the face of goal. Just before the half time whistle Ryan Muir became the second Rangers injury and was replaced by Harry Livesey.

Half-Time: – Rangers o Aberdeen 1

There was only four minutes on the clock after the break when Harris O’Connor sustained a hand injury and Rangers were forced to use their final sub Aaron Bryson. Two minutes later the visitor’s doubled their lead. The attack was built on the left and when the ball was played inside Lewis Budinauckas was beaten from just inside the penalty area. Within minutes a short Harry Livesey pass allowed the Aberdeen striker to race through on goal but a superb Lewis Budinauckas save kept Rangers in the game.

Midway through the half Ciaran Dickson drove towards the penalty area before passing to his left and releasing Matty Yates who shot past the keeper. As the final quarter-hour approached Ciaran Dickson sent Darren Watterson through the inside left channel, he continued into the box but shot straight at the keeper.

Rangers were left to play out the final fifteen minutes with ten men when Kyle McLelland became the fourth Rangers player to leave the field through injury. The final chance fell to Aberdeen with five minutes remaining, the ball was moved along the edge of the box from right to left where a player was unmarked but again Lewis Budinauckas made a fine save.

Full-Time:- Rangers 1 Abrdeen 2

Rangers:- Lewis Budinauckas; Ryan Muir (Harry Livesey 44 mins), All Monro, Harris O’Connor (Aaron Bryson 49 mins), Euan Deveney; Kyle McLelland; Kai Kennedy, Ciaran Dickson; Matty Yates, Owen McGinty (Blair Craig 22 mins), Darren Watterson.

Rangers 2 US ODP Region One 1

Rangers Under 16’s took on a US ODP (Olympic Development Programme) Under 17 side. The ODP is a programme where elite players are selected across four regions from this a national team is selected. Region One is the eastern states, New York, New Jersey Pennsylvannia etc. The Rangers lineup included Under 18 player Grant Nelson, Grant was making his first appearance since sustaining a serious injury 18 months ago. He played for the first half – hour as scheduled and it was good to seen a large number of his Under 20 colleagues watching from the side.

The first chance came in the fifth minute when Kieran McKechnie’s free-kick from the right hand angle of the box had the keeper stretching to tip on to the bar and over. The visitor’s replied with a header from a left hand corner that Nicky Hogarth saved.

On eleven minutes Kieran McKechnie won possession on the right and played the ball in to Trialist No.9, a good turn made space for the shot but the ball went across goal and just wide of the far post. Just after the quarter-hour mark Grant Nelson passed to Nathan Patterson wide on the left, he moved the ball inside to Izzak Ahmed who picked out Kieran McKechnie inside the right side of the box and he shot narrowly over.

Midway through the half Rangers took the lead, Grant Nelson exchanged passes with the Trialist No 9 to break into the right side of the penalty area, his ball into the middle broke for Josh McPake who side-stepped a defender before shooting past the keeper. A couple of minutes later Gregor Woods turned on halfway to break free and pass to Izzak Ahmed who passed to Kieran McKechnie on the right side of the box and his shot was tipped over.

When the game reached the thirty minute mark Grant Nelson left the field as scheduled to be replaced by Lewis McGrattan. The next chance came for the American side from a throw in on the left a good turn made space for a shot that was deflected wide of the far post. Six minutes before the break Ross Young won the ball and fed Izzak Ahmed who’s shot from the edge of the box saw the keeper dive to his left to parry. 

The final chance of the half came when Gregor Wood played an one-two with Nathan Patterson on the left hand angle of the box but he shot straight at the keeper.

Half-Time :- Rangers 1 US ODP Region One 0

The second half was a more even affair and an equaliser looked on the cards just after the hour, the attacker went beyond Nicky Hogarth and knocked the ball towards the goal but Nathan Patterson got back to make a superb goal line clearance. The game came alive again in the final six minutes, when the ball was moved in to Kieran McKechnie from the left his effort from twenty-five yards forced the keeper to dive to his right to save.

A minute later a good passing move ended with Zac Butterworth’s low cross from the right being converted at close range by Niyah Joseph. The visitors grabbed a consolation goal in the final minute, the attack came down the left and despite Nathan Patterson’s effort to clear the shot the officials judged the ball had crossed the line.

Full-Time:- Rangers 2 US ODP Region One 1

Rangers Squad:- Nicky Hogarth (Gk), Lewis Budinauckas, Zac Butterworth, Ben Williamson, Jamie Walker, Nathan Patterson, Grant Nelson, Gregor Woods, Izzak Ahmed, Kieran McKechnie, Trialist No.9, Josh McPake, Lewis McGrattan, Ross Young, Trialist No. 12, Niyah Joseph, Aiden Gibb.

US ODP Squad:- Patrick Adams, Connor Andrews, Carter Beaulieu, Ameer Caprini, Javier Carillo, Cole DiCicco, Evan Fournier, Ian Glisson, Griffin Hayward, Connor Hester, Luke Kasulke, Alec Kosinski, Darryl Longdon, Tate Mohoney, Nick O’Donnell, Moshe Simpson, Nick Williams.

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