Almost, but not quite. Relegated Clipstone came from two behind to secure their second point of the season after a 2-2 draw at 20th-placed Hall Road Rangers in the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division at the Worksop Van Hire Stadium last night –and, still in the thick of a battle towards the bottom of the table, Rangers Manager Bill Gill wasn’t too surprised by what he saw from the Cobras, writes Colin Muncie.
Chris Spinks put the visitors ahead after just 3 minutes, and doubled Rangers advantage in the 56th, this time from the spot; but two fine finishes form Chanju Mphande (58 and 65 mins) set up a frantic finish, including a penalty miss.
Bill admitted that he had travelled to Clipstone Road with a sense of foreboding. He told the Bootiful Game “To be fair, I haven’t been looking forward to this game. I knew it was a potential banana skin and after seeing them play they thoroughly deserved a point. Our lads looked nervous and tired; it’s our third game in six days and the journey is a long one for lads coming straight from work, so there are various factors which I knew could affect the result. We have picked up ten points in six games now which almost the two points a game we aim for.”
Reflecting on his side’s battle to preserve their Premiership status, Bill told us “There are plenty of twists and turns in football when you’re trying to get results, as we know; but with four games in hand, it’s within our control -and although it feels like a loss, it’s another point towards our target”.
Clipstone’s Manager Alan Widdowson felt his side recovered well from the disastrous early blow. He told us “It was a horrid start to the game -going behind after 90 seconds when we gave Hall Road the freedom of Clipstone. We then began to play some very good interchanging football without testing their ‘keeper. Fair play to Hall Road; they did make it difficult with their direct play”.
Alan told us that his players suffered another early setback after the interval “The Second half started as the first but this time we gave away our fifth spot kick in as many games and now we have a mountain to climb” he admitted “We pulled one back through Chanju and the game changed; we had the momentum going forward and were on the front foot. Our reward was another great finish from Chanju . 2-2 Game On! We had to defend well in the last five minutes as they threw everything at us. Then the killer blow -penalty number six- and we all thought all our efforts would be in vain. But Mike (Ball) saved the spot kick and we ended the game on a high”.
Full credit to the guys for the way they dug deep and played their way into the game and totally deserved to get a point -maybe three. I’m over the moon with the guys. But we have a game on Saturday, so we must focus on that “.