|2020 U16||29th August 11:00am||League Round 10||RJSC Main Pitch 1, Ashton Oval|
After a dry week, the sun was out in full force at Ashton Oval, with the warmest predicted temperature in 4-5 months bringing extra heat to the contest between Stirling United and Rangers. Rangers have consistently troubled Stirling in recent encounters, including delivering their only defeat last season in U14 at the end of year carnival. Definitely not an encounter to be taken lightly!
From the start, it was clear Rangers had come to play. Stirling were second to the ball on the majority of occasions, and of the limited chances in the first half, most of these favoured Rangers, however they were unable to capitalise. A late run from Matthew Silcock for Stirling saw them almost take a surprising lead right on half time, but the shot just drifted wide of the upright.
Coach Damien Sheridan urged the Stirling team to lift their intensity in the second half, and this had immediate effect with virtually the first foray forward finding Araby Phelan who calmly slotted a goal to give Stirling the lead. Rangers immediately responded with a goal of their own to level things up and it was game on!
A long ball through saw Phelan get a toe on the ball to lift it over the keeper and restore Stirling’s advantage. Stirling continued to press, and Rangers stubborn resistance was broken with a further two goals for Phelan in a 3 minute period effectively sealing the game. A fifth for Phelan close to the end left him with a handful in a spectacular return to form after an injury interrupted season.
As usual, the reliable back line of Ky Henry, Emily Bouchereau, Kye McDonald and Toby Leigh repelled many Rangers attacks, with Lachlan Stein, after a clean sheet in goal in the first half, ably stepping in after Bouchereau was forced from the field with a minor ankle injury.
The Stirling team, coach and fans walked away relieved to have taken the 3 points after a tough encounter with Rangers and head south to Strathalbyn for another tricky match next week.