JUNIOR MATCH: Bullets fight back to draw with Rangers
10:23am Tuesday 24th September 2013 in Sport
IT had everything – drama, a late fightback...even your fair share of pink, luminous green and orange boots.
These junior stars of Section A of the Bolton and Bury Junior Football League certainly have bright futures ahead of them after their impressive showing on Saturday.
Visitors Bolton County Bullets started brightly and Hakeem O’Gunneye fired just wide of the Rangers goal.
The hosts battled back with Luke Wilson going close from a corner as his looping shot was snappled up by goalkeeper Jack Gill.
Bolton County’s Nathan Brook was a constant threat down the left flank all game with his pace and trickery but some strong defending stopped him early in his tracks.
The hosts edged in front with some enterprising moves down the right.
Rangers’ George Aspinall found space and picked out Rion Jobe who showed great composure that would have graced one of the Premier League stadia when he sidefooted the ball past the keeper as Rangers started to get back into the game.
O’Gunneye was again at the heart of County’s attacks and he went close minutes later but the Rangers keeper made a smart save.
The key to the game was that both sides had imposing midfielders – Luke Wilson (Rangers) and Sam Dunkerley (County) – who pressed forward in the mould of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.
In a fairly open first period, it was end-to-end with both sides being led by their tricky forwards O’Gunneye and Jobe.
Both had a chance to get their names on the scoresheet but they were met with some astute defending.
Rangers extended their lead when a Declan Hornby tapped the ball into the net .
County went upfield looking for a response but Sam Dunkerley headed over the bar.
The pendulum swung in the visitors’ favour as Dominic O’Mara headed a corner against the bar but O’Gunneye was on hand to pull one goal back. It was end-to-end with Rangers Harry Ball doing well to break the attacks up and unleashing the ball to Lewis Thornley but Jobe’s effort sailed across the face of goal.
There were plenty of words of encouragement by both bosses Adam Thornley (Rangers) and Gareth Lindsay (County) as they tried to rally their young troops to search for more goals.
The goal of the game came when Rangers Luke Wilson danced around two players in midfield before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the net.
As time wore on, the teams tried to keep their shape but Brook teased the opposition full-back.
His cross into the box after 10 minutes of the second half set up Callum Howard to fire the ball past the keeper.
County had their tails up and another ball into the box was fired into the roof of the net by Jake Gill (who was the keeper in the first half) – giving the keeper no chance – to level the scores with 10 minutes remaining.
Both sides hunted for the winner as O’Meara went close at the death while O’Gunneye drilled the ball wide in a carbon copy of his first-half chance.
Hornby had a late chance for Rangers but fired over.
After watching this match, it is hard to believe there are concerns in the national media about the state of English football.
These youngsters played their hearts out searching for a winner and showed braveheart spirit to get back into the game.
One thing is for sure, the future looks bright if these talented youngsters are anything to go by.
- Bolton County U11s are looking for more players if you are interested then get in touch with Gary on 07899 790947.