An unseasonably mild night saw Rangers serve up a festive feast of football flair against tough opponents Tipton Town in the quarter final of Staffordshire FA youth cup.
Rangers raced into an early lead with the first from Declan Arber on 42 seconds, 4 minutes later first half star man Max Dixon made it 2-0 with sharp shooting Arber netting his second on 7 minutes to make it 3 to a rampant Rangers. Tipton responded battling hard in a bid to get back into the game. Tipton’s Matt Hogg floated a dangerous free kick into Rangers box forcing keeper Craig Pain to meet and punch clear, the second ball was picked up by England schools international Connor Taylor quickly switching play to right back Adam Taylor who raced forward flashing a quick ball right to left across the face of the Tipton goal.
An unfortunate foot injury on 23 minutes saw Ryan Douglas limp off to be replaced by James Black in the heart of defence.
Rangers continued to press a dogged Tipton side. Max Dixon cut in from the right threading a fine pass to Lucas Burnett who’s shot from wide hit the inside of both posts before being cleared off the line by Tipton. Dixon continued to torment the Tipton defence, on 35 minutes Dixon slid an excellent ball to Burnett who cooly recorded his first of the evening. 4-0
Tipton were not to be beaten, on 44 minutes a Tipton break saw Rangers keeper Pain race from his goal to meet the Tipton attack. The resulting clearance rebounded of several players before Tipton’s George Thorpe pounced striking into an empty Rangers net from 18 yards. A few minutes later Thorpe was quickest to another loose ball firing just wide.
4-1 at the break.
A reshuffle at half time saw Christian Blanchette replace in form Max Dixon on the wing and Tommy Wilkinson on for hard working Sam Jarvis in midfield. The second half continued with Rangers showing a fiery passion for goals. On 56 minutes Flying wing back, Tim Khayat broke down the left delivering a fizzing cross for Burnett to claim his second. 5-1.
A tired Tipton side held on to their discipline, a break through the middle earned them a free kick some 25 yards out. The kick was lifted over the wall curling away from Pain and into the Rangers net. 5-2. Rangers response was rapid. On 67 minutes Christian Blanchette latched on to a ball bobbling badly on the deteriorating surface and struck it goalward, Burnett instinctively followed the shot flicking the ball past the advancing Tom Slater for his hat trick. 6-2.
Rangers Josh Moody and Tommy Wilkinson continued to work in the middle of the park as Tipton refused to give up. Marcus Baikie switched wings with Blanchette causing Tipton’s full backs problems with Baikie cutting in and unleashing a shot just over the bar. On 67 minutes Christian Blanchette chased a 50/50 ball into the corner with Tipton’s right back and goal keeper, Blanchette flicked the ball over his head rolling around the keeper into the box before finishing in style. 7-2.
In the last seconds of the game a classy exchange between Arber and Blanchette saw Burnett released into the box to claim his fourth goal of the night. A bumper night for Rangers sees them through to the semifinal draw.
Report by Timothy Turner.