St Francis Rangers’ excellent start to the 2014-15 season continued on Wednesday night as they picked up another three points at home to Newhaven.
Sam Saunders secured the victory for Rangers around the hour mark as the solitary goal in the contest.
They came into the game nearly at full strength with the returning Pat Rose & James Westlake now available following injury. Rose was the only change to the eleven that won at Selsey the Saturday prior coming in for Branden Fugl, whilst Westlake had to settle for a place on the substitutes bench.
It was the hosts who had the best opportunities to go ahead in the first half with Weston coming close and Luke Leppard being a constant threat to the Newhaven back four despite going down to ten men when Luke Akehurst was shown a straight red card for a lunge with his studs showing on the half way line. Although Newhaven did have a chance cleared off the line in an early corner from Millroy who was looking after the near post.
Sam Saunders put Glenn Charker’s side ahead on 77 minutes with a superbly executed finish with his left foot on the volley from around ten yards when Ben Palmer bombed forward from left back, linked up with Nathan Millroy who was a constant thorn in Newhavens side and Palmer pulled the ball back to Saunders who finished clinically.
With around ten minutes on the clock remaining subsitute Walsh saw his second booking for a foul on Robinson who was through on goal, despite his proclaims of winning the ball Walsh was adjudged to have fouled Robinson and issued with his second yellow card of the game. His first was within his first kick of the game when he fouled Newhaven skipper Craig Bunch, who incidentally was also sent off for two bookings following a dive in the Rangers penalty box having been previously booked for a late tackle only minutes earlier.
From the penalty conceded by Walsh, the home keeper, Rob Gordon made an outstanding save from Scott Marshall’s penalty to his left keeping his side on top.
The game itself was a scrappy affair with quality at a premium throughout, however Rangers determination, desire and application got them through in difficult circumstances and now go to Erith Town in the FA Cup on Saturday hoping to take all the positives from the previous two league games into the money spinning game away from home.
St Francis Manager, Glenn Charker said after the game ‘I am absolutely delighted. I couldn’t ask the players for anymore tonight they were top drawer. Yes, I’m disappointed about the sendings off, but that’s football and to be honest I’m more focused on the result - that’s what we’re here to do. They fought for everything tonight, picking up three points when we had 10 men for 50 minutes is tough enough but to finish with 9 men and still show the character we showed tonight was superb. 6 points from the first 2 games is exactly what we need and all the work pre season looks like it is paying off. The players have been phenomenal, hats off to them’
MoM; the whole team were absolutely top drawer but Rob Gordon shades it with his penalty save and all round contribution.