Rangers boss says his team should have tried harder
RIDGEONS LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION Norwich United 2 Soham Town Rangers 2 WITH nearest challengers Needham Market in FA Vase semi-final action after two shock league defeats, Soham missed the chance to go 12 points clear at the top. Rangers had the majority
Norwich United 2 Soham Town Rangers 2
WITH nearest challengers Needham Market in FA Vase semi-final action after two shock league defeats, Soham missed the chance to go 12 points clear at the top.
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Rangers had the majority of play in the first half, but created little before taking the lead in the 43rd minute.
Michael Simpson squared the ball to Charles Libam, and Soham's leading scorer lifted a first-time shot over the goalkeeper to score from 10 yards.
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Norwich improved after the break, however, and scored twice in quick succession to establish a 2-1 lead. "We found ourselves chasing the game again," groaned Rangers boss Ian Benjamin.
As the second half wore on it looked more and more likely that the visitors would return home empty-handed, but in the 90th minute they managed an equaliser.
Darren Jimson laid Scott Carter's free-kick off to Stuart Williams on the edge of the six-yard box, and he slid the ball home to make it 2-2.
Soham might have grabbed a winner in stoppage time, but as Paul Jones raced clear of the Norwich defence the referee's assistant made the mistake of flagging a retreating player offside.
Benjamin remains concerned about certain aspects of his team's recent performances, particularly in terms of going forward.
"We've dropped our work rate up front," said the Greens manager, "and we've consistently had to chase games. I think they [the forwards] have let themselves down over the last couple of games since we beat Wroxham.
"It's not just about scoring goals; it's about creating them as well. I've put a lot of pressure on the back four and they have been defending really well, but we're not working hard enough up front, and it's not good enough."
When asked about the likelihood of his players being tired or jaded, Benjamin dismissed the possibility. "They perhaps think it's just going to happen for them," he said, adding: "We can't afford to relax and think we've done it."
Soham are now 10 points clear of Needham Market, who have four games in hand owing to the fact that they were in cup action at Kirkham & Wesham.
Needham Market led 2-1 at half-time in the first leg tie, but eventually lost 3-2.
There nevertheless remains the remarkable possibility of an all-Ridgeons League FA Vase final, because Lowestoft Town crushed Whitley Bay 4-0 in the first leg of the other semi-final and are almost certain to go through to Wembley.
Rangers meanwhile had a couple of injury worries before their next match at CRC.
Martin McNeil limped off after 25 minutes at Norwich with a hamstring strain, and Libam suffered a calf-injury and had to be replaced just before half-time in the same match.
Ely City's match at Debenham LC on Saturday was postponed because the pitch was unfit.