Coach Gary Doctor voiced all too familiar frustrations after second half goals sank Accies at New Tinto Park. We had looked well in the game, but conceding early in the second half meant Accies were forcing things once again, and in sweltering conditions. Rangers punished lapses and space at the set piece to wrap things up late on, giving the coach and his players plenty of food for thought over the Summer break.
“It’s been a long six months and the players know they need to respond when we start again. There’s a lot of work to do.” He says.
“Today our second half just wasn’t good enough. We lost the ball at our own throw in seconds in, and Rangers took advantage. We had a few chances but our decision making was really disappointing. I think 3-0 is maybe a bit unfair, but we’ve only got ourselves to blame in the end.”
Sandwiched between a Rangers double header was the defeat to Glasgow City in midweek. It has been a challenging time for the squad, and the coach made two changes, with Lyons and Hay returning to the starting line up in place of Fitzsimmons and Quigley.
Rangers meanwhile made just the one change from their midweek win over Spartans, as Davidson replaced Robertson as they sought to continue their good recent home form.
Neither side was able to take limited chances on offer in a scrappy opening period. Accies had the first real moment of magic 17 minutes in, Hay controlling an Inglis free kick on the edge of the box, swivelling and unleashing a powerful effort which had to be tipped over by McGregor.
The hosts’ main threat was to come from the set piece, with Accies gifting free headers to Davidson on 22 minutes, and then Clark just before the break. Rangers couldn’t take advantage, but were to benefit from Accies lapses in the second half.
Whatever was said at half time was for nothing as we fell behind moments after the restart. Sloppy play lost Accies possession from a throw in their own half, and Hayley Sinclair burst into space on the edge of the box to blast past Grant form 25 yards.
But we should have been back level 10 minutes later, as determined play through the middle by Gardner laid the ball on for Rice clean through, but McGregor was able to tip the shot away.
It was important to take these limited chances on offer, and Rangers doubled their advantage on 74 minutes, from a Muir corner on the left. The Accies defence didn’t track Leah Eddie nicking in at the front post to fire past Grant, leaving Accies to chase the game once again.
Just like a week ago, Accies changed their shape and threw numbers forward, with Inglis getting into advanced areas. But, we weren’t finding the same space or composure in the final third, as Rangers looked comfortable for their lead.
They were able to add a third in injury time, again from the set piece, Jade Gallon getting up to nod home from the corner kick.
Defeat leaves us second bottom, with a mini league emerging for the second half of the season. The coach knows we have a fight on our hands for the right to top division football.
“We’re perhaps where I thought we might be, but it’s just disappointing given the manner in which we’ve thrown games away this season, particularly in the second half of games. It’s doubly frustrating given how well we played last week in the cup against the same opponents.”
Rangers LFC: McGregor, Muir, Eddie, L Gallon, Clark, Gemmell, O’Hara, B Hay, Napier, Sinclair, Davidson; Subs Unused: Baillie, Brown, Donnelly, Swanson, Watson, Gordon, Coakley
Accies: Grant, Inglis, Quinn, Ross, Connolly, Fitzimmons, Anderson, Lyle, Gardner, Rice, K Hay; Subs Unused: Hopkins, Fitzimmons, McCormick, Quigley, Rennie, Shearer