Rangers put a fixture free afternoon to very good use with a hastily arranged friendly against a youthful Port Vale side, and the result proved it to be a good move. In a game that was largely dominated by the hosts, Rangers were first to show in just the second minute, when Andy Haworth supplied the impressive Jake Charles and he shot over from 15 yards. Just a few minutes later, Lewis Banks latched onto a good through ball and he was denied twice as Tom Gregory made a double save, while Charles followed up and was also blocked by Gregory. A minute later and Charles attacked down the left and his cross was met by Banks, whose header could not be held by Gregory and Rangers took the lead. This was to become the pattern of the game, as Banks then retuned the favour but Gregory denied Charles again. Even with the pressure being applied, it took Rangers thirteen minutes too win their first corner where James Askey headed over. Rangers teenage forward Max Dixon then went on a run from the half way line put his composure lacked when it mattered as he fired over after a fifty yard run. Gregory was in action again as a fine dive denied Charles his second with a turn and shot, but he was powerless on twenty nine minutes as Charles let fly from around twenty five yards and his shot hit the top corner for a two-nil lead. Lucas Green-Birch had Vale’s first effort on target but Harry Benns had their best effort of the first half as his shot from twenty yards pulled a fine full length save from Adam Siviter, to retain that lead. Rangers reasserted control, as Charles had a shot deflected over, before Matt Hill fired a rocket of a free kick just wide of the post from thirty yards. Port Vale then had their only sustained spell of possession before half time, as they moved the ball well, but did not threaten the home goal, seriously.
Half time saw six changes for Rangers, while Vale rang just the two. Even with these changes the hosts continued to call the shots and he spoke volumes that it took fifty four minutes for the young Vale side to force their first corner. Theo Bailey-Jones had Rangers’ first effort of the half, firing wide from twenty five yards, while Jack Sherratt broke through and was only denied by a fine tackle from Max Beeston and the resulting corner was cleared by Gregory from under his bar. Gregory was called upon again as Declan Arber forced a good stop with a header, before Sherratt, Lucas Burnett and Ben Mills all had efforts blocked in the same move. Tom Thorley and Mills then combined well for the lively young Arber to fire over, before Vale had a dangerous attack five minutes from time and Jack Wakefield had their best effort of the game as he wriggled his into the box and his low shot hit the left hand post. With every player from both squads being used, it was a worthy exercise both for Rangers, as they look to boost confidence and rise up the table, while the young Vale team will have learned a few lessons.
Rangers – Siviter, Askey, Hill (Bailey Jones 45), Jones(Thorley 45), Burns (Coulson 45). Sherratt, Banks, Williams (Burnett 68), Charles (Mills 45), Dixon (Arber 45), Haworth (Green 45)
Port Vale – Gregory, Knowles (Chambers 45), Daley (Hickson 45), Campbell (Hallchurch 45), Beeston, Davies, Wakefield, Green-Birch (Berks 45), Turner (Stevens 60), Benns (Johnson 60), Ede
Att 126 –
Referee Ben Stott
Report by Alan Gee
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