Video: Rangers put one past stand-in keeper
Soham Town Rangers 1 Stanway Rovers 0 Stanway played an emergency goalkeeper on Saturday after keeper Michael Church was delayed in traffic on his way to the game. His place was taken by defender Keith Emerson, and he was soon called into action to gathe
Soham Town Rangers 1 Stanway Rovers 0
Stanway played an emergency goalkeeper on Saturday after 'keeper Michael Church was delayed in traffic on his way to the game.
His place was taken by defender Keith Emerson, and he was soon called into action to gather Darren Jimson's cross at the second attempt.
The impressive Callum Kearns - twice - Jimson and Michael Simpson were all well off target in the opening exchanges, and Scott Carter shot too high after turning his marker well.
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The visitors had their moments too, with Thorne firing over and Burch directing his shot straight at Lea Jordan before Turner squandered the best opportunity of the game after 35 minutes, curling his shot wide of the far post with only Jordan to beat.
Emerson was frequently tested at the start of the second half and was finally beaten by a controversial penalty kick with 21 minutes remaining.
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Curtis was adjudged to have handled the ball on the edge of the box, and Charles Libam sent Emerson the wrong way from the spot for his 50th club goal.
Stuart Williams then fired into the side-netting for Soham, but it was Stanway who finished strongly and the hosts were grateful for a number of saves from Jordan in the closing stages.
Barnsley's free-kick was punched clear in the 73rd minute, and Newson's follow-up was kept out by the goalkeeper's legs.
The Rangers 'keeper then denied Thorne in similar fashion, and was then a helpless spectator as Turner's shot cannoned off the post.
The resulting corner saw man-of-the-match Jordan produce a fine double save from Turner and Kirby to preserve Soham's slender advantage.
"We made it very hard for ourselves," said Rangers boss Ian Benjamin in the wake of his side's 1-0 victory. "We got the goal, but got a little bit nervous after that."
Championship rivals Needham Market closed the gap to 10 points after beating Kings Lynn Reserves 2-1 to follow up their midweek 3-1 win at CRC, and the last day clash between Soham and Needham Market may turn out to be a title-decider.
"It's certainly heading that way," concluded Benjamin.
Soham travel to FA Vase finalists Lowestoft Town on Saturday, and the Rangers boss hopes that the Trawlermen will have other fish to fry.
"They may be wary of getting injured," suggested Benjamin, "but there's all sorts of ways of looking at it. There may also be players coming in looking to do well.