North West Counties League Division One South

Ellesmere Rangers 0

Barnton 5

By Peter Danby

A POOR second half performance by Rangers saw the side slump to a heavy home defeat against their mid-table opponents.

Second-from-bottom Rangers lacked the pace and creativity to make much of an impact on the Barnton goal, and the strain of trying to recover from going behind in the first half told on an overworked Rangers defence late in the game.

There were three goals in 20 minutes in the second period of the game, which rounded off a good afternoon for the visitors.

The first half had been a tight and cagey affair, with Barnton taking the lead with the simplest of moves on the half-hour mark with almost their first opportunity.

Luke Wilson-Jones crossed deep into the Ellesmere box, Leon Wright returned it to the danger area and Jordan Cobley scored the first of his hat-trick from close range.

Rangers had an opportunity to equalise almost immediately, but striker Jack Delgado scuffed a chance wide of the post when a corner kick landed at his feet six yards out.

The hosts started to pick up their performance and looked likely to find an equaliser as they headed closer to half-time.

Rangers dominated the early stages of the second half with substitute Leighton Kendrick forcing visiting keeper Aaron Lyons to make a flying save from around 25 yards with the ball seemingly arrowing towards the top right-hand corner.

But they were undone again on the hour mark when Cobley seized on a through ball to round the keeper and fire into the empty net.

Rangers were demoralised and it showed.

Anwar Olugbon, who had been so dominant in the first half, slipped and allowed Wilson Jones through to fire past the exposed Richard Cowderoy in the home goal.

It was proving to be a very difficult afternoon for Rangers, who looked very unlikely to find a way back into the game as the game progressed.

Another high ball over the top was kept away from Cowderoy by the wind and landed nicely for striker Cobley, who seized upon a good opportunity to beat the keeper and complete his hat-trick.

With just under 10 minutes of play left, Barnton were awarded a penalty after a late challenge in the box.

Wright was the fouled man and handed the ball to the team’s skipper Sam Houghton who fired high and emphatically into the net to seal the victory.

Rangers couldn’t find themselves a consolation goal to reduce the deficit late on, and ended up on the wrong end of a five-goal drubbing.

The Meresiders remain 19th and sit 11 points behind Alsager Town outside the relegation zone in 18th.

With nine games remaining, Rangers will be looking to take vital points against those teams who are also struggling near the bottom of the table in an attempt to save themselves from relegation.

They have a game in hand over Alsager Town meaning a win could take them to eight points behind safety.

On Saturday Ellesmere Rangers take a trip to 13th-placed side Stockport Town for a 3pm kick-off.