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Deeping Rangers defeat Sleaford Town in their United Counties League Premier Division North match

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Deeping Rangers manager Daniel French declared his side's display as their best performance of the season as they defeated Sleaford Town on Wednesday night.

Dan Banister's first half goal secured the victory in the United Counties League Premier Division North match as Deeping delivered the perfect response to Saturday's disappointing home defeat against Newark FC.

French had seen his side overpowered at the weekend as they lost 3-0 to their Nottinghamshire visitors at the Haydon Whitham Stadium.

Dan Banister scored Deeping's winning goal. (52021324)
Dan Banister scored Deeping's winning goal. (52021324)

But Deeping stood up to the test against a powerful and direct Sleaford side who have recently appointed former King's Lynn and Tamworth defender Tom Ward as their new first team player-manager which has sparked an influx of new players.

French said: "It was our best performance of the season by a mile.

"Sleaford are a good side who will shoot up that league so, from the table, the result doesn't show what it was.

"From our point of view, it was a totally different world from Saturday. They were really physical but we worked so hard and closed them down relentlessly to stop them playing.

"They went very direct down the middle which suits us because we dealt with it very well.

"We were so much more on the front foot and got hold of the second ball. The next improvement was that, when we had it, we just looked after it and didn't give it straight back. We were a lot more reliable and composed with the ball."

Deeping had brought Tom Smith back into their starting line-up after Saturday's setback with Jack Bloodworth moving into a midfield role which proved a shrewd move by Rangers' management team

French added: "It worked really well. Jack gave us a bit more of a physical presence which made a difference.

"His reliability on the ball was so good. He looked after it and gave us a really good option with good balance.

Dan Swan made a superb late save. (52021327)
Dan Swan made a superb late save. (52021327)

"It was a decision we made to change things around to be a bit more sturdy away from home without the ball but also to be a bit more composed with it and both worked.

"It felt like a proper performance all round and it was a very satisfying win."

Both sides had cancelled each other out in the opening exchanges with Dan Flack flashing a shot wide for the Clarets while Ryan Rushen saw his low shot for the hosts comfortably gathered by Deeping goalkeeper Dan Swan.

The Clarets then put together a well-worked move to break the deadlock after 15 minutes as Charlie Coulson's slide-rule pass found Jones De Sousa out on the right and his cross picked out Banister who arrowed home a low shot in the Sleaford net.

Sleaford looked for a response and, although Danny Horton smashed a shot over from outside the box, Deeping were resilient for the rest of the half.

They had a good chance to double their lead early in the second period when a delightful cross from Flack picked out Will Bird but he was unable to convert at the back post.

Kyle Onyon curled a free-kick wide for Sleaford before Charlie Ward and Ben Fidling both sent efforts over the Deeping crossbar.

Home goalkeeper Ben Martin then produced a top-drawer save to claw away a Luke Hunnings header that was destined for the bottom corner before Sleaford had two chances late on.

It took a superb saving tackle from Smith to firstly deny Daniel Miller as he threatened to break clear before Sleaford were awarded an injury-time free kick just outside the box that was powered towards the bottom corner but Clarets custodian Swan produced an outstanding save to turn the ball away and ensure his side took the three points.

Clarets: Swan, Flack, Smith, Burton-Jones, Hunnings, Banister, De Sousa, Coulson (Ellis), Bird (Carter), Wilson, Bloodworth (Showler). Subs not used: Steele, Williams.

Deeping are back in action at the Haydon Whitham Stadium on Saturday when they host Quorn in a Premier Division North match.

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