Rangers made a Wednesday night trip over to an old mining village in the hills just south of Wakefield to play Nostell Miners Welfare. The pit is now long gone, as are the original rows of terraced houses by the pit, replaced by modern houses, however the old and impressive social club still stands. A decent crowd attended for the second fixture within a week for fourth placed Rangers that saw them play the team immediately below them in the league. With an FA Cup spot guaranteed to the team finishing the season in fourth place, all was to play for. Nostell have had a great season after spending the past two seasons at the foot of the NCEL Division One table. Earlier this season they had their time on top of the league, immediately after Rangers stay there for the first 81 days of the season.
Both teams emerged onto the pitch to the strain of ‘Black and Yellow’ by Wiz Khalfia, due to the garish black and yellow striped kit of the home team. The back of the Nostell kit is all black, and apart from the player numbers, it looked like an additional 10 refs on the pitch when the Nostell team was facing away from the crowd.
Nostell started the game well, playing a 4,3,3 formation with the three in midfield playing very narrow and compact, and the 3 upfront playing wide and expansive. Elliot Broughton was covering every blade of grass for Rangers, but this was giving Nostell huge amounts of space down their left hand flank. Their left hand forward was sticking on the shoulder of the last man, meaning their left back had acres of space to push forward. This overloaded Jack at right back and brought Kes out to cover, which left loads of space in the middle for Nostell. Noel was constantly having to track back to cover this space, leaving Rangers short up top.
Nostell created two or three good changes before finding the back of the net with the opening goal on 26 minutes with a strike from 35 yards, which went along the floor and beat Jordan at his far post. This goal brought a change for Rangers, with Tyla Bell making way for Luke Anderson’s return from his 5-match suspension. Luke’s energy made an impact up front for Rangers, however Nostell still had the best of the play and had another two good chances to extend their lead. Jordon made a top class save just before halftime to prevent the home side from doubling their lead.
With Rangers trailing at halftime, and Scott getting the team into the dressing room as quick as he could, it is easy to imagine both the tactical adjustments being discussed, and the rousing words being delivered to the Ranger’s players. As both teams emerged for the second half, everyone on both sides was awaiting the response from the Ranger’s players, and pleasingly, they absolutely delivered.
Rangers started the second half with an energy and commitment that was lacking in the first half. It clearly rattled the previously well organised and calm Nostell side. On the hour mark, Rangers won a corner which Nostell failed to clear, and in the scramble that followed, Luke Anderson was first to the ball to mark his return to the pitch with the equalising goal. Just five minutes later Rangers were pressurising down the right hand side, with Elliot Broughton seeming running into a dead end, however he kept going and unleashed a fierce shot which took a deflection. This deflection wrong footed the ‘keeper and ended up in the back of the net. Rangers were in front, and clearly the better team in the second half.
The whole team kept working hard once ahead. A mention has to go to Billy Ball who was playing in the holding midfield role, and did a good job of breaking up Nostell play throughout the match, and getting his head on the ball to clear any danger. Upfront, Luke was giving plenty for the Nostell defense to worry about. The Ref played 7 minutes of additional time before blowing up. Ranger’s players, staff and fans celebrated.
Truly a game of two halves, and a great performance to turn the game around and beat one of the top sides at their home ground. The result puts Rangers four points clear of fifth place, with two games to go, and level with Hallam who have played a game less with them having lost at Campion on the previous night. Rangers will be aiming to seek revenge at home to Emley following the last minute defeat at their ground a few weeks ago, and to finish the season on a high at bottom club FC Bolsover on the last day of the season.
Nostell Miners Welfare 1 Winterton Rangers FC 2
Jack Cowgill 26 Luke Anderson 60
Elliot Broughton 65
Wednesday 17th April 2019 – Att: 87 (HT 1-0)
Weather: 17C / No wind, dropping to 8C by the end of the match
Pitch: Very flat, in good condition.
Distance from Winterton: 54 miles – 70 minutes
Match Ratings: Quibell, Ball, R.Start, Foster, Fisher-Powell, Wressell, Nelthorpe, Turnbull, Burdett (Grimes 80’), Bell (Anderson 27’, Wright 88’), Broughton
Food (7): Burger and chips £3.50
Away Ground Rating (8)
Ground Friendliness (8)
Referee & Linesmen (8)