Rangers & Rovers Play Internal Match
By John Woods
GU16 Rangers 7 - 0 GU16 Rovers
Somebody once wrote that all the world's a stage and each player must play their part. Numerous Rovers players have acted on the Rangers stage this season. Ominously, for Rovers, whenever they have done, Rangers have won. Double jeopardy was on the cards for the Rovers as their MVP from last week's hard-fought win was guesting for the Rangers.
Eliza is a game-changer, and it must have been strange for her to line up against her team. One can only imagine even stranger for her teammates. Rovers certainly missed her today.
Both teams set up attacking formations and had early chances to score. Former Rovers player Rosie was on hand to stop any Rovers attacks coming to anything. Sofia and Ilsa were on hand likewise to repel the Rangers.
As the game wore on, it quickly became apparent that Ayda and India were problematic for the Rovers in the wide positions. Rovers missed Lauren's strong runs in midfield, as she had to drop back and help out in defence. Saran had to double her efforts in central midfield without her partner in arms. Gabby and Isla did their best to help out wide. Ultimately, the Rovers couldn't hold back the Rangers' constant threat.
Ayda and India for the Rangers were a thorn in Rovers' side. Louise, a constant menace in midfield, found herself untracked and unmarked in the D and managed to scramble a goal. Another goal quickly followed. The game was heading for a 2-0 half-time score, but Angela got another and 3-0 it was. Some might question whether it was a true reflection of the game, but the scoreboard is the only stat that counts, and it doesn't lie. HT Rangers 3 - 0 Rovers
The second half saw Rovers lose their striker Molly to injury and, with no substitutes, played most of the second half with ten. It's not something advisable against many teams, not least Rangers. Rovers lost their shape at the back by trying to salvage some pride. They threw caution to the wind and tried to get something from the game. Lauren, the hero of Tulse Hill, ventured into midfield, but that just gave Rangers more space out wide. Inevitably, Rangers took full advantage, and Ayda and India gratefully accepted with a brace apiece.
This friendly, just-after-sunrise clash was a wake-up call for Rovers. This one defeat against Rangers is not the end of the world, though. Rangers march on, but Rovers have time to react.
These teams meet again in the Plate Triangular Final in mid-March, and the Rovers will aim to ensure Rangers won't have it their way. But today was Rangers’ day.
In the end, it was just a dominant display by Rangers, and sometimes, you have to walk off the pitch and say, "You know what? The other team were better today".
Behind every cloud, there is a silver lining, though, and with both teams on top of their respective leagues, they aim to get their hands on some silverware before the sun sets on their season. As for who will get the Plate, that is in the lap of the gods, otherwise known as coaches and the players.
Final score Rangers 7 - 0 Rovers