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Deeping Rangers are defeated by Long Eaton in the United Counties League Premier Division North

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Manager Daniel French admitted he was 'absolutely gutted' for his Deping Rangers side after their last-gasp defeat at new league leaders Long Eaton on Tuesday night.

The Clarets conceded the clinching goal with just three minutes of the United Counties League Premier Division North contest remaining after another superb all-round display that grew plenty of praise from the home crowd.

Robbie Ellis had earlier netted for the second successive game to cancel out Jamie Walker's first half opener from a hotly-disputed penalty for their Derbyshire hosts.

Robbie Ellis scored for the second successive game. (52476844)
Robbie Ellis scored for the second successive game. (52476844)

Boss French said: "I am absolutely gutted about it because we deserved to beat them, let alone take just a point which would have been great, and to then lose the game in the manner that we did after how we played.

"It was a better performance than the wins against Sleaford and Heanor even though we lost the game and I really felt for the lads afterwards.

"We certainly didn't deserve to lose and it was really difficult to take."

Rangers had made the midweek trip without skipper David Burton-Jones and they kept their unbeaten hosts in check in the opening exchanges.

Ellis glanced a header from a Dan Banister cross against the post before Long Eaton were awarded a penalty for hand-ball.

French felt Long Eaton had seen a much stronger call turned down moments before, however, the reprieve then saw Ellis penalised in the next attack as the ball appeared to drop down onto the top of his arm and Walker converted the resultant spot kick.

Ellis went close to bringing Deeping level early in the second half with a shot that was well saved by the home keeper before Rangers equalised after 53 minutes.

Banister and Ellis again combined ina slick move with the former's cross finding Ellis who volleyed home from close range.

Deeping now looked the more likely side to score again and, despite losing Banister to a 10-minute spell in the sin-bin, they hit the bar through a Jack Bloodworth effort.

Long Eaton then responded in the latter stages with Deeping back up to their full complement of players and it took an unbelievable save from Clarets custodian Dan Swan to deny Keiran Walker.

However, from the resultant corner, Jamie Walker whipped in the setpiece that beat everyone and curled into the Clarets net to give Long Eaton the win they needed to top of the table.

French added: "There were lots of positives to take from a defeat because, result aside, we were superb.

"We have been so good in the previous three games but this performance was another step forward which was brilliant.

"We got clapped off by their spectators and there won't be many sides go there this season and get a result."

Rangers now turn their attentions to the FA Vase when they take on league rivals Newark FC in a first round tie on Friday night.

Newark were 3-0 winners over Deeping in a Premier Division North match at the start of the month and the Clarets are keen to avenge that defeat in a match that is being played at Basford.

French continued: "The Long Eaton result doesn't alter our progress and it does set us up well to carry on ready for Friday.

"We are a totally different outfit now from the last Newark game and we will want to put that result right.

"The lads are looking forward to it and, after the last few performances, we couldn't be in a better place."

Rangers: Swan, Flack, Smith, Bloodworth, Hunnings, Banister, Brown (De Sousa), Ellis, Bird (Williams), Wilson, Showler (Walton). Not used: Carter, Coulson.

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