Deeping Rangers beat Shepshed Dynamo to move into the semi-finals of Kitman UK League KO Cup
Deeping Rangers toppled United Counties League Premier Division pacesetters Shepshed Dynamo to book their place in the last four of the Kitman UK League KO Cup on Tuesday night.
Cameron Johnson’s first half double sunk a Shepshed side who went into the quarter-final clash with a 100 per cent winning league record at the Dovecote Stadium after seven successive Premier Division victories.
But Deeping produced a superb all-round performance which thrilled Clarets manager Michael Goode who handed a first start to the dual registered Lewis Hilliard with his side still missing suspended skipper David Burton-Jones plus Luke Hunnings and Dan Banister who were sidelined through illness.
Goode said: “I was ecstatic with the win. We played really well.
“It was a tricky surface and a gale-force wind which spoilt the game to some extent.
"It wasn't a night for free-flowing football but, once we got a foot in the game after the first 20 minutes, we left them for dead.
"The first half was as good as it could be. We defended against the wind in the first half with our backs to the wall and didn't give anything away.”
Shepshed had started the game on the front foot but, with Luke Andersen forming a strong pairing alongside Aaron Davies at the heart of the Deeping defence, they repelled any early raids.
Jack Gurney, Hilliard and Scott Mooney then started to see more off the ball as the half progressed with Johnson and Tom Garrick causing the home defence plenty of problems.
Johnson put Rangers ahead three minutes before the break and then added a second in first half stoppage time.
A brilliant clearance off the line then denied Sam Murphy a third before Shepshed started to come more into the game again as the second half progressed.
They hit the post late on before substitute Matthew Melbourne halved the deficit in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
However, Deeping then saw out the dying embers of the game and will now face a trip to Premier Division rivals Rothwell Corinthians in the semi-final.
Goode added: “I was absolutely delighted with the result and the performance.
“Shepshed have had a few games called off recently and their season has been a bit interrupted, but it's never easy when you all arrive at midweek games at different times.
"It's a long trip for a step five side to make in midweek.”
Rangers return to Premier Division action on Saturday with a trip to face second-placed Rugby Town.
Burton-Jones will be back after completing his ban while Goode is also hopeful that Hunnings and Banister will return to the squad.
Hilliard is expected to return to parent club Peterborough Sports for this weekend, but Johnson is set to continue his loan spell with Deeping as he works towards returning to full fitness.
Goode added: “We need to take the performance on Tuesday night into Saturday.
“It's a tough place to go and I don't really know what to expect from us, but we're going into the game with a lot more confidence than before.”
Rangers: Elsom, Flack, Carter, Andersen, Davies, Gurney, Hilliard, Murphy, Mooney (Simpson), Garrick, Johnson (Coulson). Subs not used: Marsden, Shackleton.
More by this authorJames Bedford