Soccer: Rangers on top of league ladder, even with injuries

The Forest Rangers remain undefeated and on top of the ladder after a thorough four goal to nil victory over Ballarat Red in round five of Ballarat and District Soccer Association’s Division One Open competition. 

DISCUSSION: The match referee has a chat with Ballarat Red's Dylan Thurgood.

DISCUSSION: The match referee has a chat with Ballarat Red's Dylan Thurgood.

After leading one goal to nil in the first half, a spray at half-time prompted two quick goals from the Rangers in the opening six minutes of the second. 

SKILLFUL: The Forest Rangers' Luke Moodley controls the ball during the match against Ballarat Red.

SKILLFUL: The Forest Rangers' Luke Moodley controls the ball during the match against Ballarat Red.

Rangers vice president and goalkeeper Travis Johns said it was a dominant performance.

“We dominated possession for pretty much all of the 90 minutes, created opportunities and the boys were rock solid in defence,” Johns said. 

DESPERATION: The Forest Rangers' William Koerner attempts to head the ball during the round five match against Ballarat Red at Wendouree West Reserve.

DESPERATION: The Forest Rangers' William Koerner attempts to head the ball during the round five match against Ballarat Red at Wendouree West Reserve.

The win was all the more impressive with the club’s injury woes, which included four starting players. 

Johns said with no bench, all players had to play the full 90 minutes but each pulled their weight. 

He mentioned the makeshift defensive three as a standout, with captain Callum Best stepping up into centre of defence to cover the absence of Robert Esposito. 

“Our defensive unit is made up of the youngest guys in the team and they are beating grown men, who have been playing the sport for a long time, quite easily,” Johns said.

CONTEST: Ballarat Red's Adam Bogers clashes with Forest Rangers' Christopher Aldridge for the ball.

CONTEST: Ballarat Red's Adam Bogers clashes with Forest Rangers' Christopher Aldridge for the ball.

Forest Rangers won the cup two years ago, and ended the season on top of the league ladder last year. 

This year Johns said the club was after the “league, cup double”.

He attributed the club’s impressive progress and fast-tracked development of young players to coach and player Sam Muscat.

“He has been an absolute masterstroke,” Johns said.

“He is a bloke all the young guys look up to and he leads the way for us all.”

Johns said with the next four matches against second, third, fourth and fifth respectively, it was set to be a tough month for the Rangers. 

DETAILS

Pictures: Dylan Burns

Pictures: Dylan Burns

Division 1 Open

Buninyong 4 d Creswick 2

Warrnambool Rangers 6 d Bacchus Marsh 1

Sebastopol Vikings 1 d Victoria Park 0

Daylesford v Ballarat North United (results not submitted)

Forest Rangers 4 d Ballarat Red 0

Ladder: Forest Rangers 16 points, +23 goal differential; Buninyong 15, +8; Warrnambool 13, +12; Sebastopol Vikings 13, +8; Ballarat North United 9, +16; Ballarat Red 5, -2; Daylesford 5, -3; Victoria Park 5, -5; Bacchus Marsh 1, -26; Creswick 0, -28.

Division 1 Women

Warrnambool Rangers 4 d Forest Rangers 0

Bacchus Marsh v Ballarat (results not submitted)

Sebastopol Vikings 0 drew with Ballarat North United 0

Vic Park BYE

Ladder: Sebastopol Vikings 13, +14; Vic Park 12, +17; Warrnambool Rangers 12, +14; Ballarat North United 10, +7; Ballarat 9, +18; Forest Rangers 6, -10; Bacchus Marsh 3, -42.