The first long evening of the year, it was a full house at Millworth Lane and the atmosphere was fraught with tension and excitement. I’ve never seen the chairman so nervous, but with the Community Award on the same evening it made for a great occasion.
An early evening kick-off meant the Rangers started on full stomachs and in the first half it showed. Rangers had much of the play but Darby Green were breaking at tremendous speed through their strikers. Late on in the first half Will superbly took the ball down and rifled it into the net.
At half time there was an air of complacency about the boys and they were told so in no uncertain terms. For all the work rate this team has shown this season I can only compare them to a steam engine, it takes quite a while to get them stoked, but once they get up and running they are virtually unstoppable.
Pretty soon we had a 2-0 lead, but Darby Green superbly fought back twice to level the match, and it takes quite some finish to beat JZsiah, on the first on a clinical finish gave him no chance, whilst a poorly defended corner lead to their second.
But over the last few weeks Shinfield have shown great resilience when their back have been against the wall. The Darby Green goalkeeper was unlucky with a spilled shot which was adjudged to have crossed the line.
But minutes later there was no doubt which way the game had swung. Luke received the ball on the edge of the net, rode 2 challenges and smashed an unstoppable shot to the net from a tight angle.
Late on Rangers added a fifth. Great performances where on display from Joe and Liam, who both kept their heads superbly, when it would have been easy to crumble under pressure. Josh and Ashmin gave there usual excellent standard of performance.
But special mention goes to Will who according to the records we have has smashed the Shinfield Rangers single season goalscoring record and now stands on 43 goals with four matches to play.
All focus now turns to Saturday and an away game against Hearts of Teddlothian.
Despite the scoreline this was a magnificent performance from Darby Green. A great performance was given by their goalkeeper who produced a string of fine saves. Up front they were lightening quick and this is not the first time we have encountered a team for whom one of the stand out performers was a girl, Bianca, who showed great technique and a blistering turn of pace.