Rangers make the most of cup reprieve

Jamie Saddington was man of the match in Rutland Rangers' cup win on Saturday
Jamie Saddington was man of the match in Rutland Rangers' cup win on Saturday
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Whittlesey Utd 1 Rutland Rangers 3

(aet, 1-1 after 90 minutes)

RUTLAND Rangers secured their place in the third round of the Peterborough Football Association Cup with an extra-time victory at Whittlesey United on Saturday.

It was a tough test for Rangers, who were back to back winners in the 2009 and 2010 with extra time strikes from Tom Cooper and Tane Scott, on his Rutland Rangers debut, proving the difference. After 90 minutes the score was 1-1.

The two sides were back in the competition after Uppingham Town, who had beaten both sides in earlier rounds, were disqualified for fielding an unregistered player.

If elimination for a clerical error, was harsh on Uppingham, Rangers took full advantage of having a second chance to maintain their cup defence.

Rangers boss Andy Saddington said: “We played well, especially considering they beat us 5-0 at their place in the league this season.

“Both teams started off a bit ropey because of the lay-off.

“We went 1-0 down early on but possession was about equal and after half time we pressed hard.”

He added: “Both sides had chances but in extra time our lads looked fitter and I think we deserved it. It was a great start to the new year.”

Whittlesey took first half lead before Tom Cooper set up David Bates to level midway through the second half.

Bates then returned the favour for Cooper to hand Rangers the advantage during the first half of extra time.

New signing Scott then fired home in the second half of extra time to seal Rangers’ passage to the third round – an away tie at division one side Long Sutton on January 22.

Premier Division side Rangers have picked up form in recent months but Saddington warned: “You never take anything for granted. They have beaten Premier Division sides and it’s often a question of who wants it most on the day.”

On Saturday, Rangers face bottom side Stamford Bels in the league and the cup win was just the tonic before that game according to the Rangers boss, who said: “We are beginning to play decent football. It’s good for confidence.”

Jamie Saddington was named man of the match but the Rangers boss also had praise for the backbone of his side.

He said: “Jamie Forbes was back in the middle of the park and showed his value with his strength and mobility. Tane did well on his debut and Nathan (Arkle) is a good target man.”

Rangers: Collins, Welbourne, J Saddington, Cooper, Flavell, Maher, Forbes, Dickinson, Bates, Arkle, Scott. Subs: Ward, Smith.