TROWBRIDGE & DISTRICT LEAGUE DIVISION THREE: Late goal earns Stiffs a deserved draw

First published in Sport

THE Stiffs' match at St Augustine’s School in Trowbridge was the only league fixture that beat the elements.

Ade Giles' hosts, currently bottom of Division Three, were looking forward to their encounter with Trowbridge Rangers as it their first game for over a month and it gave them the perfect opportunity to avenge their 6-3 loss from the last time the teams met.

Rangers went into the game on the back of a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of leaders Westwood News, but they would have been confident that their first-ever league double would have been in the bag.

Their hosts had not won any of their eight previous games, but James Goddard’s side had to settle for a point from a thrilling 4-4 draw that saw Darren Brewer score a late equaliser to earn the Stiffs a deserved share of the spoils.

Rangers started much the stronger of the two sides and Dan Moore who scored a hat trick put them ahead when he opened the scoring on five minutes.

Dave Carroll equalised for the Stiffs in the 20th minute and they grew stronger as the game went on and were far the better side throughout the first half.

Striker-come-goalkeeper Chris Giles made some excellent saves but they were undone by some poor defending which allowed Rangers to retake the lead on 27 minutes, courtesy of a second from Moore. 

Only some brave defending and two goal-line clearances from Rangers kept them in front until the break and after the interval the Stiffs started to dominate.

Had in not been for poor finishing and more resolute defending they would have been out of sight and they had to wait until the hour mark to draw level, Jason Lucas spotting the Rangers keeper off his line and finishing superbly from the left wing after robbing a defender.

Five minutes later the Stiffs took a 3-2 lead, Adam Freeland latched onto a loose ball and from 30 yard unleashed an unstoppable strike into the right hand top corner, leaving the Rangers keeper with no chance and drawing recognition from both teams.

In a hectic climax to the game, Lucas gave away an unnecessary free kick on the edge of the Stiffs penalty area, the free kick was drilled into the area and an own goal from Scott Ball left keeper Giles with no chance in the 85th minute.

Two minutes later after the Stiffs gave the ball away Rangers would have thought that they had won the game when Dan Moore netted his third of the afternoon to give them a 4-3 lead.

With the clock ticking down, manager Giles had one last throw of the dice.

He threw on substitute Darren Brewer up front and after Simon Lunt had flicked on a 90th minute corner Brewer’s header looped over the Rangers keeper to draw the game level at four apiece.

The Stiffs had one last chance to grab a win in the dying seconds but were again denied by Rangers Mike Coll, who had been brilliant all game.       

MATCH OFF: Bratton Reserves v United FC.

TROWBRIDGE & DISTRICT LEAGUE ROUNDUP, STATS AND PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES AND FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @gazsport and @WTSport

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