Archive for July, 2017

Nuneaton Tournament

July 31, 2017

Prior to the game at Sheffield Wednesday I travelled to Nuneaton where the Under 20’s were playing against Jong PSV Einhdoven on Saturday and Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday. I was able to take in the first game and half of Sunday’s game.

Rangers 1 PSV Eindhoven 3

Saturday was a tough ninety minutes against a slick and older PSV side who went on to record a similar scoreline against Liverpool U23’s and win the tournament. The Rangers starting line up was made up of six U19’s , four U18’s and Ryan Hardie who is now U21 in football terms. The six subs were of a similar mix U18’s & 19’s with U20 Ross McCrorie.

PSV fielded two different outfield tens in the match, first have five U19’s, one U20, three U21’s and a 24-year-old. Their second half lineup was slightly younger with one U21, four U20’s and five U19’s.

Rangers were pinned back in the early stages and PSV missed a great chance on ten minutes, Mauro Junior provided the through ball  for Dani Van Der Moot to shoot wide of Aidan McAdams right hand post. A couple of minutes later Leanandro Fernandes just right of centre on the edge of the box, passed inside to Marcel Ritzmaier who’s shot forced Aidan McAdams to tip over.

The Dutch side took the lead just after the midpoint of the first half, there seemed little danger when their Brazilian winger Mauro Junior picked up the ball fully thirty yards from goal until he fired a superb shot past Aidan McAdams and into the keeper’s top right hand corner. Ten minutes later it was two, a cutback from the right hand byline teed up Dani Van Der Moot, he miscued his shot but it went straight to Matthias Verreth almost on the goal line and his back heel squirmed past Aidan McAdams.

Rangers came close to pulling a goal back on the stroke of half time, Jamie Barjonas free-kick from the right was headed from the box where Izzak Ahmed fired in a powerful shot that had Mike Van De Meulenhof diving to his left to parry.

Half-Time:- Rangers 0 PSV Eindhoven 2

Rangers had a major let off early in the second half, Kieran Wright’s attempted pass went straight to Cody Gakpo, he teed up Justin Lonwijk who was denied by a superb block from Cammy Palmer, the ball went back to Cody Gakpo who’s effort rebounded of Kieran Wright’s right hand post. Rangers responded immediately when Jamie Barjonas sent Ryan Hardie down the left, he turned a defender inside the left side of the penalty area with Mike Van De Meulenhof blocking the shot with his left foot.

With ten minutes of the half elapsed Andy Dallas won possession inside the PSV penalty area and passed to Ryan Hardie but with the goal at his mercy he shot wide of the keeper’s left hand post. PSV carved open Rangers defence just after the hour, Lennerd Daneels, Philippe Rommens and Baggio Wellenburg combined but Lennard Daneels shot straight at Kieran Wright.

At the midpoint of the half Ryan Hardie robbed Gokhan Hardes and passed to Serge Atakayi but a poor first touch allowed the ball to run through to the keeper. Around seven minutes later the winger had another great chance, Cammy Palmer winning possession and setting Serge Atakayi free but fired over when in a good position.

PSV relieved the period of Rangers pressure by scoring a third, Philippe Rommens firing a free-kick over the wall and past Kieran Wright. Rangers got the goal their play deserved with eight minutes remaining, Jamie Barjonas passed to Zak Rudden wide left and his cross come shot evaded all to find the net at the far post.

PSV were soon back on the attack with Cody Gakpo breaking down the left, he passed in side to Lennard Daneels who moved the ball on to Joey Konings and it took a good Kieran Wright save to prevent a fourth. Rangers came close to reducing the deficit to a singe goal when Ryan Hardie passed to Zak Rudden his curled shot was heading inside the post until Mike Van De Muelenhof dived to his left to produce a brilliant save.

Full-Time:- Rangers 1 PSV Eindhoven 3

Rangers:- Aidan McAdams (Kieran Wright HT); Jordan Houston (Michael Hewitt 68 mins), Aidan Wilson (Ross McCrorie HT), Lewis Mayo (Jack Thomson 73 mins), Myles Beerman; Cammy Palmer; Jamie Barjonas, Izzak Ahmed (Jordan Thompson 73 mins); Andy Dallas (Zak Rudden 63 mins), Ryan Hardie, Serge Atakayi.

Not Used:- Scott Gray, Matthew Shiels, Grant Nelson.

PSV 1st Half:- Mike Van De Meulenhof; Dirk Abels, Jordan Teze, Suently Alberto, Wesly Decas; Laros Duarte; Leandeo Fernandes, Marcel Ritzmaier; Mauro Junior, Dani Van Der Moot, Matthias Verreth.

PSV 2nd Half:- Mike Van De Meulenhof; Baggio Wallenburg, Gokhan Kardes, Armando Obispo, Jurich Carolina; Philippe Rommens; Jaell Hattu, Justin Lonwijk; Lennerd Daneels, Joey Konings, Cody Gakpo.


SuperCupNI Day 3

July 27, 2017

My final day at the tournament started in familiar fashion, a trip to Clough to take in a game with a legendary home-made soup at half-time.

At the end of the second day four teams were on six points, Club NI, Man Utd, Cherry Orchard and Chivas. To qualify for the SuperCup semi finals Rangers needed at least one of them to fail to win their third game and of course make sure they won theirs.

Cherry Orchard were playing GPS Bayern and having seen both these sides I knew this would be close. Having watched Southampton being well beaten by Cherry Orchard I was assuming a win for Man Utd in their meeting. The word on Chivas were they were physical and looked older than the Under 16 age group, on that basis I guessed they would beat Sheffield Utd. I was hearing Club NI (basically a NI U15’s select) were impressive but thought a clash with an older Middlesborough side would be a stiff test, more on that later. The game at Clough was between Plymouth Argyle and NC Elite from North Carolina.

Plymouth Argyle 0 NC Elite 1

NC Elite dominated this encounter but only won by the single goal with Plymouth showing little in attack. The Americans took an early lead after only five minutes, David Molina attacked down the left and he passed inside to Ian Holdaway who beat Shaun Hillier low to his right from the edge of the box. Just over five minutes later David Molina latched on to a clearance and broke into the left side of the box and went wide of Shaun Hillier but his net bound shot was headed off the line by Alfie Wotton.

Half-Time:- Plymouth Argyle 0 NC Elite 1

Plymouth had shown nothing in attack in the first half but five minutes after the break Kieran Rowe cut in from the right and his effort forced Trace Alphin to dive to his left and turn the ball wide. As is the norm the second half is notable for the number of substitutions, it was into the final ten minutes when the American side created a couple more chances.

Cole Frame hit the right hand byline and pulled the ball back for Ian Holdaway but he shot over from close range. The final chance came when Adam Armour dispossessed Alfie Wotton on the edge of the Plymouth penalty area with Shaun Hillier coming from his line to block with his legs.

Full-Time:- Plymouth Argyle 0 NC Elite 1

Plymouth Argyle:- Shaun Hillier; Finley Craske, Oliver Tomlinson, Alfie Wotton, Reuben Collum; Jamie Simmonds (Owen Raven HT), Jude Boyd, Kieran Rowe, Jimmy Miller; Joe Seery (Jacob Evans 40 mins); Sam Wickens (Oscar Massey 40 mins).

Not Used:- Dominic Osborne, Lewis Moyle, Brandon Pursall.

NC Elite:- Trace Alphin; Cole Frame, Angelo Madrid, Jake O’Connor, Tanner Barry (Titus Sandy 55mins); Adam Armour (Kevan Kahoussi 59 mins), Sebastien Grundseth (Brian Mendoza 29 mins), Devon Faison, Orion Mills ((Aidan Dwyer 20 mins) Mikey Estrello 47 mins);  Ian Holdaway; David Molina.


Next stop was Broughshane for Middlesborough against the young Club NI side.


Middlesborough 1 Club NI 2

The young Ulster side edged it to finish as the only side on nine points, a great achievement for the youngest side in the tournament.

The first chance came for Club NI when a free kick into the penalty area broke for Lewis McKinnon to turn and shoot with Oliver Swan saving low to his left. The English side responded by taking the lead, Harry Healy went past a defender into the left side of the box and then wide of the keeper before firing into the net.

The equaliser came on the stroke of half-time and it was a sublime finish Sean McAllister played the ball to Connor Bradley inside the right side of the box, he flicked the ball over the head of a defender before lobbing Oliver Swan as he came off his line.

Half-Time:- Middlesborough 1 Club NI 1

Boro’ had a chance five minutes after the break when the ball broke to Hayden Hackney but he shot over. They came close still at the midpoint of the half when Joe Ridley’s twenty-five yarder bounced off Callum Taylor’s left hand post.

Almost immediately Ross McAusland latched on to a defensive slip and raced clear but his weak shot was straight at Oliver Swan. With four minutes remaining Club NI got a stroke of luck to secure the points, Vicky Saldanha’s shot from the edge of the box clipped the heel of team-mate Ross McAusland who was running across the box and the ball looped over Oliver Swan and into the net.

Full-Time:- Middlesborough 1 Club NI 2

Middlesborough:- Oliver Swan; Hugo Abrol (Jonathan Krakue 51 mins), Hayden Hackney, Andrew Nelson, Terry Stephenson; McKenzie Dicicco (Thomas Walker 40 mins), Issac Fletcher (Ben Cummins 40 mins), Cain Skyes, Sam Collins (Adam Campbell 47 mins); Harry Healy, Joe Ridley.

Not Used:- Samuel Barrett.

Club NI:- Callum Taylor; Charlie Allen (Joshua Archer HT), Lewis McKinnon, Sean Stewart, Stephen McGuiness; Connor Bradley, Ronan Kalla (Reece Byrne 50 mins), Orrin McLaughlin (Terry Devlin HT), Conor Byrne; Sean McAllister (Kian Storey HT); Matthew Lusty (Ross McAusland HT).

Not Used:- Aaron Donnelly.


My final game at the tournament was at Ballymena Showgrounds and it was Rangers third game against First Choice Soccer. By kick-off time word had filtered through that both Cherry Orchard and Chivas had lost 1-0, so a win meant Rangers would qualify for the SuperCup Semi Finals.

Rangers 2 First Choice Soccer 0

Rangers dominated against a side made up of players from America and Ireland, but the win wasn’t secure until Kai Kennedy’s late penalty. Unfortunately the squad list on the website didn’t match the shirt numbers so I wasn’t sure of the FC Soccer lineup.

Rangers first chance came on ten minutes, Kai Kennedy passed in from the left to Ciaran Dickson and he forced a save from the keeper. The spectators only had to wait a further five minutes for Rangers to take the lead, Matty Yates passed to Kai Kennedy and his superb pass matched the movement from Faisu Sangare to find him free inside the box to slot past the keeper.

Just before the break Kai Kennedy sent Faisu Sangare towards the right hand byline from his cutback Matty Yates effort was deflected over.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 First Choice Soccer 0

Rangers missed a great chance to double their lead on forty-two minutes, Darren Watterson played the ball to Ryan Muir wide right and his cross picked out the head of Matty Yates but he headed wide of the keeper’s left hand post. A minute later Harris O’Connor was dispossessed allowing the FC Soccer striker a sight of goal but he shot straight at Jay Hogarth.

Rangers were soon back on attack with Kai Kennedy combining with Ciaran Dickson on the right side of the box before forcing a save from the keeper. Within a minute Ciaran Dickson capitalised on a defensive slip to break in to the box but shot straight at the keeper.

With four minutes remaining Rangers made the game secure with a second goal from the penalty spot. Kai Kennedy attacked the left side of the penalty area and was bundled over for a penalty that he stepped up to convert.

Full-Time;- Rangers 2 First Choice 0

Rangers:- Jay Hogarth; Ryan Muir (Aaron Bryson 59 mins), Ally Monro, Harris O’Connor, Euan Deveney; Murray Miller, Kyle McAusland; Ciaran Dickson (Tom Henderson 48 mins); Matty Yates (Simon Millar 52 mins), Faisu Sangare (Darren Watterson 37mins), Kai Kennedy (Robbie Fraser 56 mins).

Not Used:- Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), Callum Biggar.

FC Soccer Squad:- Sean O’Mara; Andrea Nguionza, Jackson Dixon, Jack Henry, Enda Douglas, Josh Mellon, Odhran Braniff, Eamon O’Brien, Mark Hanratty, Josh Hayes, Vincent Petera, Jack Kavanagh, Jamie Redmond, Eoghan O’Sullivan, Andrew Omobamidele, Job Bondo, Andrew Quinn, Gabriel Adebambo.


On the final whistle news came through that Man Utd had lost 2-0 to Sheffield United and Rangers had therefore finished second in the table to Club NI. To be honest the draw had been kind to Rangers with both Colina an FC Soccer failing to find the net in their three games.

Their opponents in tonight’s semi final, GPS Bayern, is a step up on the sides they have played so far and it should be a tight game. In the other semi it may be a big ask to expect Club NI to continue to beat older opponents, they line up against County Antrim who I haven’t seen but are traditionally the strongest of the Northern Irish county teams.

It was a great three days and now wish I had gone for the week, maybe next year. I was at two Irish League grounds in Ballymena and Colraine, three smaller enclosed grounds at Clough, Broughshane and Anderson Park, Colraine. What really impressed we were the public facilities at Ballymoney and Limavady, I can’t think of any of similar quality here in the West of Scotland.

Oh, and every game I watched was played on GRASS !!!



SuperCupNI Day 2

July 27, 2017

Tuesday started with another trip to Clough and the fantastic home-made soup on sale was only a small part in the decision. The real reason was the game between Southampton and a very impressive Dublin side Cherry Orchard.

Southampton 0 Cherry Orchard 2

Cherry Orchard had a great chance to take the lead in the opening minute, Sean Aluebhosele low cross on the right found Jamal Ibrahim inside the six yard box but he shot straight at Oliver Wright. The keeper was in action again five minutes later stretching to tip over a Luke Turner free-kick from the right hand angle of the box.

The Dublin side was dominating the early stages and when Conor Gilbert crossed from the left Sean Aluebhosele’s header was only just wide of the far post. Southampton eventually threatened at the other end, a good move involving Seamus Keogh, Daniel Jones and Dylan Morgan ended with Seamus Keogh shooting narrowly over.

Cherry Orchard were back on the attack and on twelve minutes Conor Gilbert’s cross from the left went beyond the back post where Issac Abankwah played the ball back across goal, Jamal Ibrahim looked certain to score but he shot over from close range. The breakthrough came four minutes before the break, Issac Abankwah broke forward from halfway before passing to Adam Cleary who shot past Oliver Wright in to is top right hand corner.

Half-Time:- Southampton 0 Cherry Orchard 1

Saints threatened  five minutes into the half when Jack Turner sent a free-kick from midway inside the Cherry Orchard half into the box and Will Tizzard got his head to it forcing a save  from Jimmy Corcoran high to his left. With just over ten minutes remaining Cherry Orchard sealed the win with a second goal, Conor Gilbert swung in a corner from the right for Jamie Whelan to head past the keeper.

Full-Time:- Southampton 0 Cherry Orchard 2

Southampton:- Oliver Wright; Seamus Keogh, Sam Bailey, Thomas Bragg (Will Tizzard 22 mins), Liam Short (Ethan Hill 26 mins); Seung Woo Yang; Daniel Jones, Roland Idowu (Jack Turner 34 mins), Dylan Morgan (Mikey Saunders 34 mins) , Dylan Duffy; Frank Lovett (Luke Hallett 44 mins).

Not Used:- Nicholas Komey.

Cherry Orchard:- Jimmy Corcoran; Kevin Donovan, Ben Keegan, Luke Turner, Conor Gilbert; Danny Kelch (Karl Delaney 51 mns), Jamie Whelan, Adam Cleary (Cormac Rafferty 51 mins), Issac Abankwah (Ross Quigley 51 mins); Sean Aluebhosele (Zack Furey 38 mins), Jamal Ibrahim (Kyle Cosgrove 40 mins).

Not Used:- Adam Bennett, Stephen Egan, 


Next up would be a trip to Ballymoney for the Premier Section (U18) game between County Armagh and Komazawa University from Japan. The previous games, and the competition Rangers are playing in, is the Junior Section (U16). This game would be two 35 minute periods ( Junior Section is two 30 minute periods)

Komazawa Uni FC 0 County Armagh 0

This was a fairly even game with a draw being a fair result, the Japanese side had the first real chance after a quarter-hour. Yuya Hashimoto  passed to Sota Kobayashi inside the left side of the penalty area with Liam Hughes quick from his line to make the block. Within a minute Mark Lukas replied for County Armagh with a twenty-five yarder just wide of the keeper’s right hand post.

Around the twenty-minute mark  a free kick was delivered from the right and the referee spotted an off the ball foul on Luke Wilson and pointed to the spot, Ryan Latifi stepped up but was foiled by a brilliant save from Riki Toriyama diving low to his right.

The second half was punctuated with numerous substitutions from both sides. There was nine minutes remaining when Andrew McAlinden chased a Lee Upton clearance towards the right hand byline and when he sent in his cross the ball bounced of the face of the crossbar. Kamazawa had a great chance to win it right at the end, Liam Hughes just getting a foot to Kazumi Hoshima’s low ball from the right with Taga Obi waiting to pounce.

Full-Time:- Komazawa Uni FC 0 County Armagh 0


Next stop was Limavady for Rangers second game against Colina from Chile who had lost 3-0 to Manchester United the previous night.

Colina 0 Rangers 5

It was a comfortable win for Rangers side against a poor Chilean team that failed to score in their three games and never seriously threatened the Rangers goal. Rangers opened the scoring on nine minutes with Kai Kennedy crossing from the left for Faisu Sangare to head past the keeper.

The second goal followed three minutes later, a great Matty Yates through ball on the right side of the box was matched by Faisu Sangare’s turn to create the space to shoot past the keeper. Rangers third came just after the twenty-minute mark, Kai Kennedy passing in from the left for Ciaran Dickson to shoot across the keeper and into the net.

Half-Time:- Colina 0 Rangers 3

Five minutes after the break Kyle McLelland powered a header when Matty Yates delivered a corner from the right with Christopher Rios producing a fine point-blank save. Rangers fourth came midway through the half, a superb Kai Kennedy free-kick from the right hand angle of the box into the keeper’s top right hand corner.

The scoring was complete five minutes before the end when Darren Watterson played the ball forward to Simon Millar who continued into the left side of the box to shoot past the keeper.

Full-Time:- Colina 0 Rangers 5

Colina:- Christopher Rios; Felipe Laso, Bastien Puchi, Rodrigo Vergara, Benjamin Reyes; Felipe Orostica; Jesus Bravo, Fernando Urzua; Simon Diaz, Cristobal Miranda, Miguel Montecinos.

Subs:- Thomas Ceron, Gabriel Rivera, Cristobal Valencia, Benjamin Segovia, Benjamin Campos, Moises Perez, Dylan Oklguin.

Rangers:- Lewis Budinauckas; Ryan Muir (Callum Biggar HT), Ally Monro, Harris O’Connor, Darren Watterson; Murray Miller, Kyle McLelland; Ciaran Dickson (Robbie Fraser HT); Matty Yates (Tom Henderson 40 mins), Faisu Sangare (Aaron Bryson HT), Kai Kennedy (Simon Millar 45 mins).

Not Used:- Jay Hogarth (Gk), Euan Deveney.



SuperCupNI Day One

July 27, 2017

A visit to the Milk Cup (now known as SuperCupNI) has been on my list for a number of years and this year I finally made it. Attending Monday through to Wednesday I intended to post a kind of diary of the three days, hopefully attending three games each day.

We didn’t get off to the best of starts when a major queue at the car hire desk meant when we arrived at Clough to take in the Swindon Town v North Dublin Schoolboy League match the game was ten minutes old. Apparently Swindon had struck the woodwork twice in that opening spell. The rest of the match was pretty even with a couple of chances at either end but neither side could make the break through and the game finished goalless.

A trip to check into the hotel in Ballymena and a change to more appropriate attire for the sunny weather and it was off to Anderson Park in Coleraine. On arrival I discovered notepad and pen was back at the hotel. The game was a bit of a mis-match with the impressive GPS Bayern from the US winning comfortably against M Sports New Zealand by three goals to nil. After being fed and sourcing pen and paper it was off to Coleraine Showgrounds for Rangers first game.

Rangers 1 County Armagh 1

It was a disappointing performance and result from the Ibrox youngsters in a game they should have won. 

Rangers started well and with only two minutes on the clock Harris O’Connor picked out Matty Yates on the right side of the box and his volley was only just too high. A few minutes later Kai Kennedy fed Faisu Sangare but again the effort, this time from the edge of the box, was just too high.

When the game reached the ten minute mark County Armagh striker Alberto Balde turned on the left hand byline before shooting across the face of goal. Rangers were soon back on the front foot with Kai Kennedy passing to Euan Deveney on the left, he cut inside before testing David Walsh.

Within sixty seconds Rangers grabbed the lead, from Matty Yates pass over the defence and into the right side of the box Faisu Sangare capitalised on hesitation in the Armagh defence to shoot past David Walsh. Rangers missed a great chance to increase their lead three minutes later, Kai Kennedy’s pass split the defence and sent Darren Watterson racing clear, he continued into the box but was denied when David Walsh came from his line to make the block.

Rangers next opportunity came when Kai Kennedy combined with Ryan Muir on the right to create a chance for Matty Yates that forced David Walsh into a diving save low to his right.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 County Armagh 1

An inspired substitution was the source of an early equaliser after the break, Shane Adamson swung in a corner from the right and substitute Harry Anderson rose highest to head past Lewis Budinauckas. Rangers were soon back on attack with Matty Yates passing to Kai Kennedy, he drove forward and  a good run from Simon Millar created the space for Kai Kennedy to shoot from the edge of the box but David Walsh was a match for it saving low to his left.

Rangers continued to have the bulk of the play but the game had entered the final couple of minutes when Matty Yates chased a ball from Kai Kennedy to the left hand byline, he forced his way past a defender but couldn’t beat David Walsh at his near post from a narrow angle.

Rangers had one final chance when the ball broke to Simon Millar inside the box but he couldn’t get a proper connection on his shot and David Walsh saved comfortably.

Full-Time:- Rangers 1 County Armagh 1

Rangers:- Lewis Budinauckas; Ryan Muir (Aaron Bryson 59 mins), Kyle McLelland, Harris O’Connor, Euan Deveney; Murray Miller; Ciaran Dickson, Kai Kennedy; Matty Yates, Faisu Sangare (Ally Monro 44 mins), Darren Watterson (Simon Millar 38 mins).

Not Used:- Jay Hogarth (Gk), Callum Biggar, Tom Henderson, Robbie Fraser.

County Armagh:- David Walsh; Jesse Carson, Caolan Connell, Shea Conway; Jack Scott,  Chris Hutchinson, Harry Evans, Adam Wright, Shane Adamson (Dane McCullough 59 mins); Alberto Balde, John McGovern (Harry Anderson HT). 

Not Used:- Jason Dodds, Jamie Haire, James Black, Matthew Willis, Sam Monaghan.


Youths Share Four Goals With Ards

July 19, 2017

Ards 2 Rangers 2

Rangers Development squad took on Danske Bank Premier League side Ards  in the first of their two games in Northern Ireland at the Bangor Fuels Arena last night. In an entertaining game a share of the spoils was probably a fair result.

The home side took the lead after only four minutes, their seemed little danger when Kyle Cherry was in possession a distance from goal until he unleashed a shot from fully thirty yards that rebounded of the cross-bar straight to Gary Liggett who netted from close range. A similar period had elapsed when Rangers came close to drawing level, the move started with Cammy Palmer who passed to Andy Dallas and his through ball sent Matthew Shiels breaking into the left side of the penalty area but he shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

Just after the half-hour mark Myles Beerman took a throw on the left to Ryan Hardie who’s flick gave possession to Matthew Shiels and his effort from around twenty-five yards was only just wide of Aaron Hogg’s right hand post. Five minutes before the break Craig McMillen’s shot from the left hand angle of the box was blocked by Danny Finalyson and follow-up from the rebound forced Kieran Wright to make a decent save at his near post. 

On the stroke of half-time Ards came close when a one-two opened up the Rangers defence on the right side of the box but when the ball flashed across goal there were no takers to convert from close range.

Half-Time:- Ards 1 Rangers 0

Rangers had a let off when the second half was barely two minutes old, Craig McMillen swung in a corner from the right and Gary Ligget’s header looked netbound until Myles Beerman popped up to head from the line. Rangers capitalised by going straight up the other end to draw level, Andy Dallas combined with Matthew Shiels to on the left side of the box and when the ball was rolled across to Ryan Hardie he made no mistake.

Within five minutes the Ibrox youngsters grabbed the lead, a quick break from defence ended with Andy Dallas breaking forward before finding the net from the edge of the box. A few minutes later Jamie Barjonas passed to Ryan Hardie on the right hand angle of the box and his curled shot was only just wide of the far post.

Before the hour mark was reached the home side equalised, the move started of the left and when the ball went beyond the far post Craig McMillen shot through a crowded box and into the net. Craig McMillen came close soon after when he cut in from the right and forced Aidan McAdams to save diving to his left.

The Rangers keeper excelled five minutes later producing a stunning save to turn the ball over from Guillaume Keke’s close range header following a free-kick delivered from the left. Neither side could add to their tally and the game ended on what was probably a fair result.

Ful-Time:- Ards 2 Rangers 2

Rangers:- Kieran Wright; Danny Finlayson, Aidan Wilson, Lewis Mayo, Myles Beerman; Cammy Palmer, Jamie Barjonas; Andy Dallas, Matthew Shiels, Serge Atakayi ; Ryan Hardie.

Subs All Used:- Aidan McAdams (Gk), Grant Nelson, Jack Blackford, Mati Zata, Michael Hewitt, Scott Gray.


Rangers 3 Morton 1

Rangers Under 16’s warmed up for next week’s SuperCup NI (Formerly Milk Cup) with a friendly against a slightly older Morton side at Auchenhowie tonight. 

Rangers had the majority of possession but there was almost a half-hour on the clock before any keeper was troubled and it was a powerful twenty-five yarder from the Trialist No.9 but straight at the keeper. Five minutes later Rangers took the lead, Darren Watterson sent the ball down the left where the Trialist No.9 turned a defender to break in the penalty area before squaring for Matty Yates slot past the keeper.

Half-Time:- Rangers 1 Morton 0

An early free-kick from wide left was the source of Morton’s equaliser early in the second half, delivered to the near post the attacker got there ahead of Jay Hogarth to head into the net. The visitor’s came close to taking the lead a few minutes later the cross  into the box had the Rangers defence in trouble and only a headed goal line clearance from Kyle McClelland kept them level.

Rangers were back in front just after the hour, a superb Kai Kennedy pass picking out Ciaran Dickson’s run into the right side of the box and he controlled the ball before shooting past the keeper. Midway through the half Morton broke into the left side of the box and it took a fine block from Jay Hogarth to prevent a second equaliser.

 The Rangers keeper was called into action again, this time the attack came in from the right and when the shot came in Jay Hogarth did well to divert the ball over. Rangers scored a third with ten minutes remaining, another run into the box from Ciaran Dickson with the keeper diving to his left to parry the shot but only as far as Tom Henderson who slammed the ball into the net.

The final chances came for Morton, the first a volley following a free kick delivered into the box that Jay Hogarth saved. Then in the final minute a cross from the left sailed over the Rangers keeper’s head but bounced of the back post.

Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Morton 1

Rangers:- Lewis Budinauckas; Ryan Muir, Kyle McLelland, Harris O’Connor, Euan Deveney; Mark Miller; Kai Kennedy; Ciaran Dickson; Matty Yates, Trialist No.9, Darren Watterson.

Subs All Used:- Jay Hogarth (Gk), Ally Monro, Aaron Bryosn, Tom Henderson, Robbie Fraser, Callum Biggar.

Youth Take On County Down Select

July 15, 2017

Rangers Under 16’s and 17’s took on County Down’s Under 16’s and Under 18’s Super Cup NI squads in friendlies at Auchenhowie this afternoon. With the games kicking off at the same time my normal rule is I take in the older age group.

Rangers 1 County Down 1

Rangers Under 17’s supplemented by Under 19 Jason Krones and Under 18 Izzak Ahmed took on County Down’s under 18 side, with the game being played over three thirty minute periods. The young Rangers side had the bulk of possession but clear chances were at a premium and a draw was probably a fair result.

Rangers took the lead on ten minutes, Kieran McKechnie passed to Josh McPake wide on the left and he cut inside past a defender before shooing past Scott Pengelly  from the edge of the box. Eight minutes later there seemed little danger when Kieran McKechnie took possession twenty-five yards from goal until he unleashed a shot that had the keeper beaten but bounced off the crossbar on the way over.

At the other end a couple of minutes later  a corner from the left found its way to Adam McAleenan at the back post where he was denied when Brian Kinnear blocked with his legs. With seven minutes of the period remaining the visitors equalised, a ball over the top of the Rangers defence sent Dean Truesdale through to slot the ball past Brian Kinnear.

Rangers had a chance in the opening minute of the second period when Zac Butterworth passed inside to Josh McPake  from the right, he went past a defender before forcing a save from Scott Pengally. The period was mainly noted for a series of substitutions by both sides until the twentieth minute when Josh McPake laid the ball back to Nathan Patterson on the right hand angle of the box and his effort had Matthew Anderson stretching to tip over.

It was around the midpoint of the final period when Rangers came close on a couple of occasions within a minute. John Balde lost his marker to meet Josh McPake’s corner from the left but could only direct his header wide of the back post. In Rangers next attack Nathan Patterson picked out John Balde’s run into the box but Matthew Anderson did enough to divert the ball wide of his left hand post.

The final chance of the match came to the lads from Ulster, Ruairi O’Hare rose to meet Jack Henderson’s free-kick from the left but headed straight at Nicky Hogarth.

Full – Time:- Rangers 1 County Down 1

Rangers:- Brian Kinnear (Nicky Hogarth 43 mins); Nathan Patterson, Jason Krones, Jay Mack, Jamie Walker; Jordan Critchley (Gregor Woods 43 mins); Issak Ahmed (Ross Young 38 mins), Kieran McKechnie (John Balde 43 mins); Zac Butterworth, Dapo Mebude (Niyah Joseph 43 mins), Josh McPake.

County Down Squad:- Scott Pengelly (Gk), Matthew Anderson (Gk), Mal Smith, Jamie Glover, Adam McAleenan, James McCarthy. Jack Henderson, Tom Mathieson, Adam Carroll, Dean Truesdale, Ruairi O’Hare, Ross Weatherup, Joe Shevlin, Dan Smith, Matthew Lee, Jack Conlon, Cai Gemmell.

Footnote:- On the adjacent pitch Rangers Under 16’s recorded a 2-0 win over their County Down counterparts with the goals coming from Matty Yates and Trialist No.9.

Development Squad Hit Eight

July 15, 2017

Gala Fairydean Rovers 1 Rangers 8

Rangers Development Squad travelled down to the borders on Friday night for a pre-season friendly against Gala Fairydean Rovers. There has been recent close links between the clubs with Kieran Wright, Lewis White and Jason Krones spending some time on loan at Netherdale last season.

Rangers had a great chance to take the lead on thirteen minutes, from Ryan Hardie’s through ball Cammy Palmer was brought down as he rounded keeper Mark Walters. Ryan Hardie stepped up to take the spot-kick but the keeper redeemed himself diving to his right to parry and was quickly on his feet to block the rebound before the ball was cleared for a corner. From Jordan Thompson’s corner on the right Mark Walters failed to gather and when the ball dropped Matthew Shiels volleyed into the net.

Rangers second goal came on twenty minutes, Serge Atakatyi went past Scott Main to hit the right hand byline and his low cross was converted at close range by Ryan Hardie. The home side came close at the midpoint of the half when Kieran Ainslie rose to meet Danny Pattenden’s corner from the right but the ball bounced of the face of the crossbar.

Within a couple of minutes Aidan Wilson played a ball over the Gala defence to send Ryan Hardie clear but Mark Walters was quick from his line to make the block. Just before the half-hour mark Myles Beerman and Cammy Palmer combined on the left to play the ball to Matthew Shiels inside the box, a great turn took him clear of a defender and his shot beat Mark Walters but Scott Main got back to clear from the goal line.

Gala threatened ten minutes before the break when Marc Berry cut in from the left hand angle of the box to force Kieran Wright into a save. Within minutes Rangers grabbed a third, Jordan Thompson’s cross from the left was headed back across goal by Lewis Mayo and Matthew Shiels headed past the keeper. Five minutes before the break Danny Pattenden tried to catch out Kieran Wright with a quickly taken twenty-five yard free-kick that the Rangers keeper saved comfortably.

Half-Time:- Gala Fairydean Rovers 0 Rangers 3

There was only three minutes of the second half on the clock when Rangers scored a fourth, from Grant Nelson’s through ball Matthew Shiels was denied by Mark Walters when he tried to prod the ball past the keeper, he was also up to block Andy Dallas’s effort from the rebound but was helpless as Ryan Hardie converted the third attempt. The home side immediately responded by grabbing a goal back, Stuart Noble was brought down as he took on Lewis Mayo on the right side of the box and Darren Smith stepped up to convert from the spot.

Just after the hour mark a superb Jamie Barjonas pass sent Matthew Shiels through the inside left channel and he continued into the box to calmly slot the ball past Mark Walters to complete his hat-trick. Barely three minutes later when Jamie Barjonas’s corner from the left was head to the edge of the box Grant Nelson’s stunning volley was touched on to the underside of the bar by Mark Walters.

As the midpoint of the half approached Andy Dallas attacked on the right with the ball flashing across the face of goal andMat Zata just failing to reach it. Within in a minute Mati Zata played the ball into the box from the left and Ryan Hardie’s shot was deflected on to Mark Walters’s left hand post.

With fifteen minutes remaining Rangers scored a six, the move was started by Michael Hewitt on the right when he played the ball forward to Grant Nelson who fed Andy Dallas inside the box to shoot past Mark Walters. Number seven soon followed with Matthew Shiels providing the pass for Andy Dallas to round Mark Walters and roll the ball into the net.

The home side never gave up and when the ball from the left found Stuart Noble at the back post he went past Scott Gray before being denied by Aidan McAdams who blocked with his legs. Rangers were soon back on attack with Scott Gray and Izzak Ahmed combing on the left to feed Ryan Hardie who’s shot was deflected on to Mark Walter’s right hand post. The scoring was completed with five minutes remaining, Andy Dallas providing the pass for Ryan Hardie to become the second Rangers player to score a hat-trick with a cool lob over the advancing Mark Walters.

Full-Time:- Gala Fairydean Rovers 1 Rangers 8

Gala Fairydean Rovers:- Mark Walters; Lee Stephen, Kieran Ainslie (Robert Noble 71 mins)  George Windram (Lewis Swaney 55 mins), Scott Main; David Brown ((Craig Heugh 68 mins) Callum Riddell 86 mins), David Bonnar, Danny Pattenden (Gavin Brown 50 mins), Marc Berry; Darren Smith; Stuart Noble.

Not Used:- Sean Paliczka, Ross Aitchison.

Rangers:- Kieran Wright (Aidan McAdams HT); Danny Finlayson, Aidan Wilson (Michael Hewitt 58 mins), Lewis Mayo, Myles Beerman (Scott Gray 58 mins); Cammy Palmer (Grant Nelson HT); Jamie Barjonas (Izzak Ahmed 67 mins), Jordan Thompson (Mati Zata 55 mins); Serge Atakayi (Andy Dallas HT), Ryan Hardie, Matthew Shiels.


Opening Games For Youths

July 8, 2017

With the continuation of the blog still being considered, one or two issues suggest it may be time to retire my pen and paper and I’m not sure the interest is there. Tuesday’s disaster coupled with today’s 20’s performance gave me little motivation to post tonight but as I am doing nothing else here it is.

The day started with a three team Under 17 tournament involving Airdrie and Partick Thistle. The games were played over two twenty-five minute halfs.

Rangers 3 Airdrie 1

Only a brilliant point-blank save prevented Rangers taking the lead in the opening minute, the keeper diving to his right to turn Niyah Joseph’s effort from deep inside the right side of the penalty area wide of the post. The opening goal came twelve minutes later, Niyah Joseph on the right passed to Matty Yates on the edge of the box and he laid the ball back to Kieran McKechnie who’s shot was blocked but he reacted to fire the rebound past the keeper.

Airdrie replied with a cross to the back post from the right and from the shot Brian Kinnear parried with Harris O’Connor on hand to clear in front of goal. Just on the half time whistle a cross field pass from right to left setup another chance for Airdrie that Brian Kinnear saved at his near post.

Five minutes after the break Brian Kinnear’s throw out was intercepted wide on the left but he redeemed himself by blocking the shot when the ball was played into the box. Within minutes Zac Butterworth intercepted a throw out from the Airdrie keeper and broke down the right, he passed inside to the Trialist No.9 who laid the ball back to Kieran McKechnie who beat the keeper from the edge of the box.

Within five minutes Airdrie attacked down the right and the cross come shot sailed over the head of Lewis Budinauckas and into the net. Two minutes later it took and brilliant save from Lewis Budinauckas to keeper Rangers lead intact, diving high to his left to turn a shot from inside the right side of the penalty area over.

With ten minutes remaining a brilliant Gregor Woods strike secured the win, side stepping a defender twenty-five yards from goal he fired high past the keeper into the top right hand corner.

Full-Time:- Rangers 3 Airdrie 1

Rangers:- Brian Kinnear; Callum Biggar, Harris O’Connor, Jay Mack, Darren Watterston; Gregor Woods, Ross Young; Kieran McKechnie; Niyah Joseph, Trialist No.9, Matty Yates.

Subs Used:- Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), Zac Butterworth, Kyle McLelland, Aaron Bryson.

Rangers 1 Partick Thistle 1

Again Rangers came close in the opening minute, Jordan Critchley’s pass sent Dapo Mebude through the inside left channel with the keeper standing up to make the save from the shot. Thistle replied from a free-kick on the edge of the box that Nicky Hogarth got down to his left to make a comfortable save.

Nathan Patterson and Trialist No.9 combined on the right to set up up Josh McPake deep inside the right side of the penalty area that the keeper blocked at his near post. Thistle took the lead four minutes before the break, the ball was passed in from the right and when the shot came in it seemed to deceive Nicky Hogarth who stood rooted and the ball foun the left low to his right.

Rangers came close to an equaliser when Kai Kennedy fed Dapo Mebude who went past two defenders into the penalty area but again the keeper made a fine block. Rangers dominated the second twenty-five minutes but clear chances were few. Kai Kennedy took on the defence on the right his ball inside went through to Jay Mack at the back post with the keeper blocking his close range effort.

Just before the final whistle Dapo Mebude’s pass sent Josh McPake through and he continued into the box to round the keeper and roll the ball into the net.

Full-Time:- Rangers 1 Partick Thistle 1

Rangers:- Nicky Hogarth; Nathan Patterson, Kyle McLelland, Harris O’Connor, Jamie Walker; Jordan Critchley, Ciaran Dickson; Kai Kennedy; Josh McPake, Trialist No.9, Dapo Mebude.

Subs Used:- Lewis Budinauckas (Gk), John Balde, Jay Mack, Niyah Joseph.

Note:- The trialists involved were two different players. In between these two games Partick Thistle beat Airdrie 5-0 in a one sided encounter.


Rangers 1 Tynecastle FC 2

The afternoon saw a disappointing result and performance against a side the Under 20’s have put six past in the past two seasons. Last season it was doubles from Ryan Hardie and Zak Rudden, and one from Andy Dallas and a trialist. Two years ago the goals came from Scott Roberts (2), Ross Lyon, Danny Stoney, Darren Ramsay and Josh Jeffries.

Rangers came close when Harry Forrester charged down a clearance from the keeper Ross McMullan with the ball going narrowly over the crossbar. A couple of minutes later Aidan Wilson’s cross from the right found Matthew Shiels who’s shot cracked off the near post.

Rangers next attack saw Harry Forrester attack the left side of the box and go past two defenders but got too close to the Ross McMullan and the keeper who made the block. In their first attack the visitors passed up agreat chance, Antonio Brkic racing clear but he dragged his shot wide of Aidan McAdams right hand post. Michael O’Halloran went off injured on nineteen minutes to be replaced by Andy Dallas.

Just after the midpoint of the half the visitor’s took the lead, from a corner from the right Aidan McAdams could only punch the ball up in the air and Ryan Malcolm volleyed into the net. Jamie Barjonas then sent a ball over the Tynecastle defence with Andy Dallas converging with keeper Ross McMullan the ball broke towards the right hand byline where it was collected by Matthew Shiels but Ross McMullan got back to save his shot from a tight angle.

Just after the half-hour Zak Rudden attacked down the left and from his pass inside Andy Dallas forced a save from Ross McMullan low to his left. Rangers final chance off the half came from an Andy Dallas cross from the right to the back post where Matthew Shiels downward header was somehow scooped over by Ross McMullan.

Half-Time:- Rangers 0 Tynecastle FC 1

Rangers first chance after the break came when Jason Krones broke forward from defence and played through Andy Dallas who was denied when Ross McMullan came from his line to block. Rangers drew level eight minutes after the break, Grant Nelson and Andy Dallas combined with Trialist No.10 who’s low cross was converted at close range by Andy Dallas. 

Rangers fell behind on sixty-four minutes, the attack started down the left and the ball was played across the box to substitute Euan Greig who shot across Kieran Wright and into the net. With a quarter-hour remaining Zak Rudden broke through on the right of the penalty area with the sub keeper making the block and a defender clearing for a corner. 

Rangers missed a great chance on eighty-one minutes, Michael Hewitt’s cross from the right to pick out the unmarked Mati Zata with the goal gaping he headed over. The final chance came at the other end, a pass in from the right and shot forced Kieran Wright tp save low to his right.

Full-Time:- Rangers 1 Tynecastle FC 2

Rangers 1st Half:- Aidan McAdams; Jordan Houston, Aidan Wilson, Lewis Mayo, Myles Beerman; Jamie Barjonas, Harry Forrester; Trialist No.10; Michal O’Halloran (Andy Dallas 19 mins); Zak Rudden, Matthew Shiels.

Rangers 2nd Half:- Kieran Wright; Michael Hewitt, Danny Finlayson, Jason Krones, Trialist No.16; Grant Nelson; Mati Zata, Izzak Ahmed; Andy Dallas (Matthew Shiels 62 mins), Trialist No.10 (Zak Rudden 62 mins), Scott Gray.

Tynecastle FC:- Ross McMullan; Lewis Grant, Ryan Ferguson, Niall Kelly, Dean Crabbe, Robbie McIntyre; Antonio Brkic, Ryan Mayer, Kern Hutchinson, ????? Clarke; Ryan Malcolm.