Big game down at Dempsey, one that could have either further cemented TGAs lead at the top or let the defending champions back in. Unfortunately for us it was the latter against a very strong SCC team. SCC started better and knocked the ball around the park comfortably, creating some half chances then some more which Gigi did well to keep out of the net. The Italian was in the mood today. It was about midway through the first half when SCC opened the scoring, Shotton, who was dominant whenever he got on the ball, quickly shifted and ran at our defence before trying a chip that fortunately scooped a little higher than he meant, leaving Gigi scrambling to get back. The ball looped over him and SCC were deservedly 1-0 up. Rangers huffed and puffed but their only real chance in the first half was a sweetly struck missile from Yuto, outside the box, which cannoned off the bar leaving Ronnie with no chance. The second half began in a similar vain but Rangers did start to see more of the ball as the game went on, Sharples forced a fine save from Ronnie and a couple of half chances were missed. SCC still looked very dangerous at the other end and got their all important second goal when good work from Shotton lead to him scrambling the ball across from the right byline for Duric to come running in near the goal line to slide in, just in front of our defender. Neil came on and pretty much immediately had a chance at the other end only for it to come back off the inside of the post. Just didn’t seem to be our day but fair play to SCC they were threatening when they moved forward. Final score 2-0 and our lead cut to 2 points. Congrats SCC and we go on to our next game against the in-form Hotspurs.
SCC went in to the match on Saturday knowing that nothing less than a win would do if they were going to stay in contention for the league against a very good strong team in TGA Rangers who had inflicted a 3-1 defeat on the team earlier in the season. In the build up to the game, interim manager Adam Bowden found himself in the unusual position in having to make some tough decisions in having to pick a squad of 18 before selecting the first 11 from the strongest squad available of the season so far. From the kick off SCC took control of the game early on and started to create a number of chances that kept the Franchetto busy in the Rangers goal. The best chance being from a long clearance that fell to Shotton who powered through on goal only to see his shot somehow saved by the out reached hand of Franchetto. Rangers were coming more into the game, particularly on the right where Hiro was the main attacking threat with Rangers coming in to the game with their first real chance of the game with an effort from just outside the box that rattled the SCC bar and rebound to safety....a timely reminder of the dangers the Rangers frontline and attacking midfield can pose. SCC began to see more of the ball in their opponents half and it was soon after SCC broke the deadlock. Shotton picked the ball up and started running at the Rangers defence, taking on defenders before looking up and somehow looping the ball in to the air and ending up in the back of the net. A fortunate goal but deserved based on the balance of play and chances created that saw SCC take a 1-0 lead going into the second half. The second half started similarly to the first half and SCC were driving forward seeking the second goal. For the first 15 mins of the half SCC had numerous chances that were either well saved by the keeper or were blocked by the resolute defending of the Rangers center backs. This could have proved costly for the men in yellow as Rangers having weathered the storm were always going to have a chance or two given the tense nature and importance of the game. At this point a subdued Sharples began to get in to the game and with that some good build up play resulted in the ball being picked up on the left and for the forward to cut inside and unleash a shot across Smollet that hit the inside of the post and again rebounded to safety….another let off for the SCC. The game now had become more of a battle in midfield and it was SCC who would create the next big chance and as a result make the scoreline 2 – 0. Some good play down the right found Shotton with the ball who again drove at the Rangers backline taking on players, there was question of maybe a penalty but Shotton continued and played the ball across the goal (think it was a shot and may have been going in) that fell to Duric to place the ball in to the net. Both teams had their moments with Rangers seeking to pull a goal back but this time it was the resolute SCC backline and a good save from Smollet from a Sharples effort that kept Rangers from getting on the scoresheet and in securing the 3 points to keep any hope of retaining the league alive. Overall a well contested game with a lot at stake for both teams, that over the course of the 90 mins SCC deservedly took the point based on the number of chances created and overall possession, but of course on another day the result could have been different given the 2 chances that hit the woodwork. As was rightly said after the match, this result means nothing if SCC do not take this performance in to the remaining 7 league games, that are must win games and with the hope that Rangers slip up along the way. All the best to Rangers for the remainder of the season and thank you to the Alex and the officials on the day.