Eagles play their part in a riveting encounter

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Matlock Town Eagles 2

Manor Rangers JFC 2

A CAGEY opening to this Under 18s League One game sprang to life in the sixth minute when Charlie Britner cleared off the line and a combination of Sam Boam and Jack Johnson averted the danger.

Clearcut chances were few but a beautiful move midway through the half catapulted the home side into the lead.

Thomas Evans’s harrying in midfield was critical before Ben Harrison fed Jacob Gunton. Sweeping into the box, he stroked the ball across the goalmouth, where it was expertly controlled and dispatched into the back of the net by Jack Crossley.

The teams changed ends with all to play for and, within minutes, three pivotal moments changed the course of the contest. First, Jack Wilson’s endeavour enabled him to deliver a fine cross which just evaded the onrushing Jake Hatcliffe. Moments later, a pinpoint header by Scott Lester was tipped over by the visiting keeper. Immediately, Rangers swept upfield to earn a penalty, duly dispatched.

Running to the byline in response, Gunton somehow managed to deliver a cross which deceived the retreating defence and fell to Harrison, who struck with some relish.

It should have been a moment which determined the outcome but Rangers, although a player short by this stage following a sending off, simply refused to wilt and were in raptures when a vicious drive hit the back of the net with six minutes to go.

For a full report from this game, go to www.matlockmercury.co.uk