Date : 14th October 2023
Opposition : Bo’ness Athletic
Venue : Away
Scorers : Craig Bell (pen)
Booked : Euan Robertson, Ross Aitchison
Sent Off : None
Attendance : 64
Referee : Jordan Kelly
Team Lineup :
Rhys Bloomfield (C)
Leighton Robertson on for Rhys Bloomfield 82 mins
Jay Atkinson on for Craig Bell 82 mins
Idrissa Sarr on for Sam Straughan 26 mins
Calum Riddell on for Jack Forster 82 mins
Ciaran Hatsell on for Brad Smith 46 mins
Match Report :
In the absence of manager Kev Wright, Ross Aitchison took charge of the Tweedmouth team in October sunshine at Newtown Park. He summed up the afternoon’s events as a decent start from his side, then a ‘mad’ spell during which goals were conceded followed by a good second half showing against the unbeaten East of Scotland Second Division leaders.
During that decent opening, Rangers were unlucky not to take a 9th minute lead. Craig Bell’s volley from Griffin Sabatini’s return pass ended up over the bar for a corner.
Five minutes later, Ryan Robertson skilfully deadballed Craig Snedden’s pass before curling his shot round the post. He had better fortune a further two minutes on, beating two defenders on his way to slotting the opener inside the near post.
By now, the visitors were struggling to cope with their fleet footed opponents and when Bo’ness worked the ball down the right, Michael Weir finished off by sweeping it into the net. Skipper Warren Paterson came upfield to meet his team’s first corner but headed over the bar sixty seconds before Finlay Shearer made it 3-0 on 23 minutes.
Tweedmouth then lost Sam Straughan with a knee injury received after landing on the artificial pitch, Idrissa Sarr his replacement.
The referee ignored home appeals for a penalty when the ball hit Brad Smith’s hand. Rangers would have a similar claim turned down in the second half.
Athletic ensured they would start that phase of the game four goals up when Christopher Ogilvie, one of two unguarded blueshirts at the far post, knocked in a cross from the right. Ryan Robertson failed to make it five when he blasted a free kick from the edge of the box over the bar. It was awarded because Euan Robertson sent Shearer crashing as he ran on after collecting the ball courtesy of a Tweedmouth error. Rangers’ keeper was lucky to escape with only a yellow card.
The second half was a different story. An early hint of how it might develop came with Bo’ness packing their defence as Rangers probed for an opening. Rhys Dixon and Jack Forster passed the ball between themselves before creating a half chance for Aitchison who stabbed it just wide of the post. Evan Smith laid the ball back to Bell but he belted it way too hard and high.
With a one match suspension to see out, Tweedmouth were unable to field latest signing Joe Hamill. Two other newcomers, their man of the match Sabatini and Sarr, played major roles as they continued to take the game to the hosts.
There was a right tangle as Sarr made his way into the penalty area. Home goalie Fraser Currid ended up on the deck but the player behind him, centre half Blair Woodburn, was red carded for pulling down Sarr to stop him advancing further. This time, Bell’s strike, from the spot, stayed well under the bar and straight into the net.
Some home supporters were irritated by their team’s loss of fluency and discipline with Snedden soon booked for a foul on Sabatini, though may have been giving insufficient credit to the way Tweedmouth were playing. Sarr fed the overlapping Forster, back on the left side for the second period after a spell on the right, but there was no one close enough to reach his cross at its destination.
In contrast to the first 45′, Bo’ness produced only one realistic chance during the second and that came late on. Even then, the ball luckily fell to Michael Weir after hitting Craig Heath but he was denied a second goal by the bar.