Sydney Rangers FC

After a great season for the Rangers across the board in 2019, resulting in our highest player retention number ever, the club added a new all age team to the mix. 

This meant a lot of reshuffling of players across our all age squads. Last year’s B team formed the basis of our AA13s, continuing in the same division with seven returning players from the B’s, supported by four C’s players, two Silvers players and three new Rangers.

After only two preseason games, the team went into the season in Division 11-turned-13 with high hopes.

 

Contact training after the COVID lockdown in NSW re-started with a ‘friendly’ training game against the AA14s. A self-destructive red mist descended over the team, and a combination of an unlikely Chris Hicks goal against us and probably our worst team performance all year meant we started the season badly. More INTENSITY was needed. 

We re-grouped, re-set and although we ultimately lost our opener 0-2 against former Div10 Enfield at home, the performance was good. On the day we were just unable to score any goals in a dominant first half, before the momentum went against us.


The team fought back in Round Two, dominating and defeating Burwood, the other former Div10 team in the league, 2-0 at Blair Park, on the best surface we got to play all season. It was a great way to finish the week after a stunning mid-week training game performance against our Div9 team. It was also the only game Dean Hathaway played in the first half of the season, who the team was going to miss a lot.

The Round Three game against Marrickville which was moved to Beaman Park last minute – (Blick was closed due to wet weather, shocking) – was a game to forget. We did however give our A’s a good run for their money after their opponent didn’t show up, drawing 1-1 with a goal from Enrico.

Round 4 saw our Golden Boot winner David Manuca get tangled up with one of the Canterbury players, and the Canterbury player was sent off. Despite being 2-2 at half time we managed to lose 4-2 against the worst team in the league.  

Captain Shaun more than ably stepped into the goal for a few weeks this year when Goalie Jon was battered and bruised, including in Round 5. In a very tight and strong performance, Leichhardt edged us out 1-0.

Approaching the end of the first half of the season we went to play Balmain at Callan Park, the defending champions of Div12 who in the end won the league this season too, the club which so kindly allowed us to play under their umbrella for years. In a thrilling game where we came back from being 3-1 down to equalise and only lose 4-3 to a controversial last minute goal where the assistant referee unfortunately missed a clear offside.

The second half of the season started the same way as the first. A loss against Enfield, this time with Ale’s first goal of the season being a consolation and another win against Burwood. This was followed by a 4-2 win against Canterbury playing in our white away kits – probably should’ve worn them all season!

In our last game of the season, against a team looking to win the title with a win against us, we came to park the bus after conceding a number of goals in the previous few weeks. The performance was our best one of the season and not only did we slow the goals but we scored some great efforts of our own as we beat Ashfield Pirates 4-2 at Croydon Park. There were great disciplined performances all across the pitch, and there were some stunning saves from goalie Jon.

Our team photo of our full squad on the last game day (before the game/win) is reflective of the great season we had, which brightened our year up and brought back some normality while we all faced the challenges from Covid and the restrictions on our lives which followed. We may have been limited to four wins and one red card this year, finishing 6th, but there were many strong performances even in defeat and it was a season to remember.

It was a pleasure to play with the team and it wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work from co-coach Mark put into the season and the training sessions he ran and I’m looking forward to the years ahead with this amazing bunch of guys. {Mark: Same goes to co-coach Kenan from me! Legendary statistical and administration skills rivalled by none, and great co-contribution to our coaching for the season} 

A special thank you also to the other members of the committee for their support, Div 14 coach James Cardall for loaning his players on our days in need and our supporters who managed to come along to our games where the rules permitted

Our AA1s Manager and Coach Charlie reviews an exceptional first season in Division 1 for our boys

After a Top-Of-The League performance in Div2 last season, promotion into Div1 had us excited for a new and tough challenge ahead – and boy did all the team deliver an AMAZING season for us! I couldn’t be prouder of them! 

We welcomed 5 new players into the squad this season. 4 were drafted up from the Bs + Cs due to outstanding seasons and impressing at trials as well as Daniel Paredes, who has had a terrific first season with us in goal. Duncan was so excited to finally be out of the big bird costume of last season, only to get 1 match (and 1 goal that he made sure we didn’t forget) with us out on the field before going on holiday to the UK and not being able to make it back to Aus – Damn you COVID! 

With this, our squad size went down to 14 for the rest of the season, and it took hard work and dedication from the lads to turn out a strong team every week! Special shout outs to Dan W for multiple weekends calling in sick to work, Bagus + Michael driving 5 hours back from Tamworth on a Saturday morning, and also a number of players across the AA9’s + AA13’s for stepping up to help us when we were short on men!

Even with a smaller squad size, a non-existent pre-season and myself being the only player/coach in Div1, we still started off the season so strong. You would not have thought it was our first season playing in this division…

A solid 4-1 win against 10-men Earlwood on our first ever evening match under the lights at the fortress (Blick Oval) ; A slightly unlucky 2-2 draw against Leichhardt Tigers; a no-show 3-0 win walkover against Abbotsford, and a 1-0 loss against Cooks River Titans (our only game all season where we didn’t manage to score at least 1 goal).. This had us sitting in 3rd place place after week 4, 1 point behind Cooks River… Highlights from these matches included back to back MOTM wins from Bagus, Aaron + Duncan’s 1st and only goals of the seasons against Earlwood, and a goal of the season contender from Dan Wilson with a screamer into the top bins against Leichhardt to even up the scores.

Our next 2 games followed a very similar pattern – Scoring first and starting on a roll, dropping our heads and letting them come back to take the lead, before sheer determination and passion drove us to fight back and win in style! We won 4-3 against Ashfield Pirates, and 4-2 against Strathfield. Highlights of these games included 5 goals for Lawrence across both matches (hattrick against Ashfield, and a brace against Strathfield), and the rotating Left-Wing threat of Seb, Philpot, Gabe and myself that neither team could handle! 

We were then sitting in 2nd place, 5 points behind Balmain, who we were up against next… Needing to close the gap and keep within touching distance of 1st place, we started amazingly and caught them off guard to take a 2-0 lead within 30 minutes (Another 2 incredible goals from Dan and Lawrence.) Sadly we were unable to close out the win, but a masterclass from Goalie Dan and our Defensive Divas ‘Latoya’, ‘Kelly’ and ‘Beyonce’ (Paul, Dan + Thomas) meant we were able to hold onto a 2-2 draw. These were the only points that Balmain dropped all season, which I take as a great achievement against a team that will no doubt be a strong contender in the BBC Premier Division next season.

Onto the 2nd half of the season – we were back to winning ways and still keeping the pressure on Balmain with a 3-1 win against Earlwood, another 3-1 win against Leichhardt, and a thumping 6-0 win against Abbotsford. My highlight of these matches was for myself and Gus, who came up to help from the Div9’s. Both of us broke our goal droughts and bagged 3 goals and 2 assists between us against Abbotsford. The low-light of these matches has to be Bagus + Thomas in the match against Leichhardt, both going for the same header and Thomas definitely coming off the worse, splitting his head open and ending up in hospital! 

The final 4 games of the season included another 2 walkover wins against Cooks River Titans + Strathfield (we must have scared them off!), a very close 3-2 loss against Ashfield, and final 3-1 loss against Balmain, with us already having locked in 1st and 2nd place in the league. Highlights from these has to be Mitch coming back from retirement to play in his first and last match of the season against Balmain, and also Paul stepping up to don the pinks and play in goal with Dan picking up an injury (if you haven’t seen the death drop free kick save from Paul already, please check it out, it’s sickening!)

All in all, what an absolutely amazing result for us to come in runners up for our first season in Division 1! The team played fantastic football week in week out, ground out some crucial wins against tough competition, and deserve every bit of praise for an outstanding season! Being my first season stepping into a coaching role, I couldn’t have asked for a better team to step out onto that field with, they made my job so much easier than I thought it would be! Also a huge shout out to Aaron and Paul for all your help along the way, I couldn’t have done it without you!

I’m already looking forward to next season, when we’ll be winning both the league and the grand finals!

Thoughts from the Coach, by Gus Davidson

Well what a great first season for a newly formed B team (AA-09). Following year-on-year growth of the Rangers, the new B team was created to sit between our AA1s and AA13s. 

We welcomed 9 new players this year, and some returning players from different Rangers teams, so it took a few training sessions and warm up games to work out exactly how we all played! (we will forget the first warm up game…)

With a new format to training (enforced to due to COVID restrictions), the As and Bs were training together and it is safe to say that a few people were not too happy at the amount of running in the warm up, and even more unhappy about having to do the infamous ‘Sally’ squat challenge… 

With a couple of COVID-Safe sessions (non-contact) and only one contact session before the season started, we weren’t in the best of shape for the first game. 

However, the team really came together for the first game of the season, with a solid 4-0 victory over Concord… In my head, a Leicester City 2016 underdog challenge was on the cards.  

Sadly, things didn’t turn out that way exactly, with a run of games which had great goals, ‘clangers’ and injuries. We lost our infamous injury prone keeper after game week two (shock… his knee went again), so had stand in keep Ben Bagshaw doing half a game, combined with some great stand in performances from Jackson and Nathan! 

Highlight from the first round of games has to be the 3-1 victory over Enfield with 10 men, following Chris getting his head smashed in, a Nico hattrick against the eventual league winners (and getting the win against them!) and having a defence which seemed to be getting stronger and stronger through the game weeks (without a regular keeper behind them). 

The second half of the season saw our crippled goalkeeper return, and the addition of Ellis in midfield, meaning the squad was back up to 16 players, with the Rangers sitting in 3rd spot, still in with a chance getting promotion. 

The positives from the second half of the season were the lack of losses (only losing one game against Belmore, who won the league), but a few too many draws cost us pushing onto the top spots. 

The mid table of the league was also exceptionally tight, with a win taking teams from second bottom to 3rd

Although we had a few too many draws, some of these results felt like a win! Two goals in the last three minutes from myself (bundled home from a collective distance of four yards out) snuck us a draw against Enfield. 

On a baking hot day against Strathfield (who had comfortably beaten us 4-0 in the reverse fixture), Rangers scored two great team goals in the second half and fought hard in defence, which led to another 2-2 result, with the last 20 minutes feeling like the longest 20 minutes of football in my life… 

In our final game at Blick, from a long throw and flick on, Fraser fired home at the back post to make it 1-1 ending the chances of Balmain winning the title, with the final kick of the game. 

In the second half of the season, the team really came together, especially for the final few matches, with suspensions (I won’t discuss that here…), injuries and people heading away on holidays. Ending the season in fourth place, with a great 5-2 win on the final day was a fantastic way to close out the season. 

Given the COVID disruptions and having so many new players, the team really gelled both on and off the pitch, meaning we were playing some silky football at times (when I wasn’t involved as I seemed to lose the ability to pass a ball towards the end…). From speaking with the team, it seems that we should have a great retention of the squad for next year and building the team further. 

I need to give thanks to both Jackson (manager) and also Jacob (captain… for most of the games…) for their help this season, and also to the other ‘louder’ players, who helped bring the team together… you know who you are!! 

Look forward to playing with you all again next year!  

James Cardall aka #CoachCardall aka #CaptainCardall reviews our Div14s best ever season

Looking back 4 months ago, the thought of starting the 2020-21 season was a nothing but a pipe dream, let alone completing it. But, fast forward 16 weeks and here I am, reviewing what can only be described as a fairytale story by our team.

Out of a squad of 18, the Division 14’s welcomed 11 new players, so on paper it looked like a tough challenge lay ahead. The reality was quite different! We started our campaign against Enfield with a 3-0 win thanks to some cross come shots from Bucky and Rob, and a tidy finish from Chris. (website editor Chris would like the reader to know it was a screamer which got the season off to a cracking start). Happy days!

Next on the chopping block were Inter Lions; a nervy 4-3 win there thanks to a brace from new boy Lewis and a goal apiece for Carl and Tom meant the winning start continued. Cooks River Titans followed and we earned a hard fought 1-1 thanks to another goal from Lewis. 3 games in and we were sitting in second place, undefeated with a game in hand. What could go wrong….?

Top of the table Strathfield were up next and they’d won every game beforehand by approximately 12 goals! Unfortunately an untimely 30th birthday occurred on 1st August which meant we could only field 8 players. This resulted in our first loss of the season (7-0 vs Strathfield) but from what I’ve been told, it was a gallant performance!

With a full squad of players and absolutely no hard feelings towards the birthday boy, a draw and 4 wins followed. Special shout outs to Roderick, Josh and Plibs on their first goals of the season. And not forgetting the efforts of our back 4 who were incredibly solid all season. Cheers to Ian, Michael, David and Cherrie, and a special shout out for the Cherrie Bomb in nets who claimed his first clean sheet of his Rangers career this season!

Having said that… our second defeat of the season followed with an 8-1 defeat to top of the table and eventual premiers Strathfield (sensing a theme here…)

Things were set right a week later with a 1-0 win and another goal from Lewis, despite a red card for Carl. What have we told you about that potty mouth Carl?! This left us needing one more win to secure second place. That win occurred in the shape of a 3-2 win against (another) Strathfield despite being 1-2 down at half time. Thumping headers from Michael C and Tom D and a tidy finish from Josh alongside battling performances from Lachlan and Bryce, and a half time team talk from Sean (which most of us could understand) left us finishing season 2020 on a high.

Over the course of the season we had 11 different goal scorers and as many man of the match awards. This is a testament to the effort put in by all players, new and returning, who showed quality and determination in equal measure throughout the season. We finished with 26 points from 12 games despite playing four games less than a regular season which has been cut down due to COVID. We also scored more goals than this team has ever managed over the course of the season. All in all an excellent effort!

Training attendance was also often in the double digits too, although I think that was just an excuse to get Maccas on the way home.

Special shout out manager Daniel Hall for managing remotely this season, we want you back amongst it in 2021!

Golden boot – Lewis (6)

Golden boot runner up – Josh (5)

Our Silvers Manager Mark Sharp delivers his verdict on a hard-fought season for our Silvers.

It was a slow start to the season while our new look team got used to playing together, not helped by last seasons top scorer picking up an injury in round 1 which kept him out for several weeks, and our talisman Roland suffering a season ending injury in round 3.

Injuries were a recurring theme throughout the season but the team battled through, and although the first half of the season saw some strong performances, we were ultimately unable to register any points on the board until a rollercoaster 4-3 win in round 5.

An entertaining 1-1 draw was played out in round 7 before a hard-fought 1-0 win over Marrickville, This was pretty notable as our last 2 results against them were 8-1 and 6-1 losses. This also registered our keeper Steven’s first ever clean sheet for the club!

Confidence was high as we entered the second half of the season, but again luck was not on our side as lots of hard work and determination were not rewarded with points.

We were back on form for the wooden spoon match, thumping 4 past Balmain. It could have been 5 but the “Bruno Fernandes” is not for everyone…

Although the season ended with a 7th placed finish there were some great moments of individual skill and teamwork to look back on, and a really strong base for next years push for the title!