Rangers respond to back-to-back defeats with home victory
Deeping Rangers returned to winning ways having suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season with a 1-0 home victory over Newport Pagnell on Saturday.
The Clarets had gone down to 3-0 and 4-1 defeats against fellow United Counties League Premier Division title contenders Rugby Town and Daventry in their last two outings.
But Henry Dunn's 33rd minute strike got the Clarets back on track at a blustery Haydon Whitham Stadium.
It was a performance that pleased Clarets boss Michael Goode who had demanded a response from his charges.
He was boosted by the return of Luke Andersen from suspension, Dunn's recovery from injury and a fully-fit Cameron Johnson.
The Clarets had also strengthened their squad with the acquisions of Maniche Sani from Peterborough Sports and Spalding United's Jack Fixter.
Goode said: "I was really pleased because the conditions were really tough.
"I thought we were brilliant in the first half against the wind. We were really good.
"It was actually easier for both teams to go into the wind because any free-kicks were holding up.
"But we looked solid, limited them to a few crosses and setpieces and I thought we defended in really good numbers.
"We changed the shape a little bit and asked the starting eleven, which is the side that has got us through many games, to show us why they've got us to where we are.
"I thought they did that in the first half. Henry's goal was a brilliant finish and we probably should have gone in a couple of goals up at half-time.
"We wanted to start the second half properly and I thought we were really good for 15 or 20 minutes.
"We had several chances and plugged away but, because we didn't get that second goal, it was backs to the wall at the end and a bit nervy.
"It was a good response after the last couple of weeks though. I was looking at this game and thinking that it was a real tough one to come into off the back of two pretty heavy defeats.
"But the players have stepped up. It was great to have Henry back with his energy and he scored with a lovely finish.
"Luke gives us that stability in defence and is part of that back four which has got us through the past 10 or 12 weeks.
"Cameron was also fully fit which helps and we had a squad with the likes of Maniche Sani and Jack Fixter on the bench.
"It's a good result for us and we've just got to keep plugging away."
Rangers created the better openings in the early exchanges with visiting goalkeeper Mark Osbourne the busier of the two custodians.
He had to get down smartly to smother an effort which had been turned goalbound by Johnson from Dan Flack's cross while safely holding onto a Scott Mooney header from Dan Jarvis' cross.
Osbourne then made a vital save at the feet of Johnson after a flowing Deeping move before Dan Schiavi created an opening for Johnson to weave past three defenders only to see his shot smash against the upright.
Rangers got their noses in front just past the half-hour mark when Charlie Coulson's astute pass picked out Schiavi whose low cross fell invitingly for Dunn to curl home a fine finish beyond Osbourne.
Pagnell's best attempt of the opening period saw the lively Jake Stronge clip an effort towards the bottom corner of the home net, but Lewis Elsom was equal to the shot with a fine fingertip save to preserve Rangers' lead going into half-time.
Rangers continued to look the more threatening early in the second half as Johnson produced a smart turn and sweet strike which went narrowly over the Pagnell crossbar.
The Deeping dangerman then saw another shot turned away by Osbourne with David Burton-Jones' effort from the resultant corner being cleared off the line.
Pagnell came more into the contest as the match wore and Dominic Lawless served warning of their attacking threat after rattling the underside of the home crossbar with a shot from inside the box.
Stronge sent a well-struck free-kick just over before Michael Lyon produced a superb a last-ditch tackle to deny Deeping on the break as Schiavi was poised to slot home.
Elsom then made another fine stop in the dying throes to acrobatically turn an effort from Lawless over the bar.
The ensuing corner saw Pagnell pile a number of bodies forward in search of a late leveller, but Burton-Jones produced a brilliant block to deny the visitors a shot on goal as Rangers cleared their lines to ensure a return to winning ways.
Deeping: Elsom, Flack, Andersen, Burton-Jones, Hunnings, Jarvis, Dunn, Coulson, Mooney, Schiavi, Johnson (Sani). Subs not used: Walker, Simpson, Carter, Fixter.
Pagnell: Osbourne, Wilkinson, Mulkern, Smyth (Sylvester), Baker, Watkin, (Ofosu), Lawless, Lyon, Liversedge, Stronge, Winters. Sub not used: Burrows.