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Deeping Rangers are defeated by Heather St Johns in the United Counties League Premier Division North

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Deeping Rangers manager Daniel French was able to take plenty of positives despite his side being unable to end their recent barren run in the United Counties League Premier Division North on Saturday.

The Clarets went down to a 1-0 home defeat against high-flying Heather St Johns and have taken just two points from their last seven league games.

However, French was encouraged by his side's performance despite Rangers not scoring for a second successive game.

Joe Burgess. Photo: Dan Allen (53692080)
Joe Burgess. Photo: Dan Allen (53692080)

He said: "It's hard to accept or be happy with a defeat but, other than scoring goals, it was a really good performance and the best we have been for a long time.

"We really ticked the boxes which we haven't done in recent weeks. The work-rate was good and we got in their faces to stop them playing."

Deeping were boosted by the inclusion of Stamford loanee Joe Burgess who added a physical presence and energy to their midfield.

Striker Marcus Pancho - who has recently moved to the area after being with Enfield Town in the Isthmian League - also made his Deeping debut and caused problems for the Heather defence.

There was also the welcome return from injury of Robbie Ellis as a second half substitute while Jack Bloodworth and Bailey Baker had solid games at the heart of the Deeping defence with David Burton-Jones (suspension) and Luke Hunnings (injury) both absent.

Burgess nearly made an immediate impact with an early lob that rattled the crossbar while Pancho saw a shot saved and also had an effort disallowed for offside after the break.

Match action from Deeping's FA Cup replay win over Leicester Nirvana. Photo: Chris Lowndes (53692065)
Match action from Deeping's FA Cup replay win over Leicester Nirvana. Photo: Chris Lowndes (53692065)

The only goal of the game arrived just before the half-hour mark when James Spruce shot the sixth-placed visitors ahead.

It then needed a superb save from home goalkeeper Dan Swan to prevent Heather from doubling the lead in the second period while Rangers went close late on with a header from substitute Luke Steele that was tipped wide as an equaliser proved elusive.

French added: "It was the most possession we have had in the opposition's final third for a while, but the keeper didn't make his first save until the 85th minute.

"It wasn't that we missed chances but it's just that final thing, whether it be players having an option to shoot but they choose to pass or it's the other way round.

"We put a lot of crosses in but we didn't get on the end of them as they either missed everyone out or were headed clear.

"It's just not quite there because we did everything else really well and we looked solid defensively."

Rangers: Swan, Flack, Carter (Steele), Bloodworth, Baker, Burgess (Walton), De Sousa, Pancho (Ellis), Bird, Wilson, Williams. Sub not used: Showler.

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