U21's Lose Out In 5-Goal Thriller

Last updated : 17 September 2002 By Grandmaster Suck

Played at Dumbarton FC, Monday 16th September, 7pm

Rangers - Paul McHale 36, Tom Brighton 41

Hibernian - Derek Riordan 12, Leslie Byle 76, Gary O'Connor 84

It was a classic case of a game of two halves fro Rangers Reserves last night - getting the best of an frantic first half and losing the game to a couple of pieces of brilliance in a drab second.

Hibs started the scoring in the 12th minute when Derek Riordan scored a cracking goal from 25 yards out, there appeared to be little danger but he fired off a shot which Graeme Smith had no chance to react to. Three minutes later Tom Brighton looked certain to equalise for the Gers when he missed a golden opportunity - the ball was whipped into him in the 6 yard box but with the goal empty he miskicked.

Rangers controlled most of the play until the break with Chris Burke in excellent form. In the 25th he received a through ball on the right and squared it to the onrushing Fortunato who had his fierce shot charged down by Hibs keeper John Hutchison.

Hibs then counter-attacked up the left side via Riordan who crossed into O'Connor whose header went past the post.

Rangers continued to dominate play - a neat interplay between Tom Brighton
and Steve McLean created the movement and space to create an opportunity for Fortunato to collect the cross, turn and shoot in the 31st minute - the keeper saving.

In the 36th minute Rangers gained a free kick just outside the box - Paul McHale stepped up and fired a tremendous shot into the top left corner.

Five minutes later he was joined on the scoresheet by Tom Brighton who raced
into the box from the left touchline before letting off a fierce low shot to put Rangers 2-1 ahead.

HT - 2-1

In the scrappy second half it was Hibs who had the better of the chances. Leslie Byle equalised for the visitors in the 76th minute when a marvellous angled pass from Derek Riordan caught the Rangers defence flat-footed, Byle ran onto the ball and easily beat the keeper.

It was the same sort of move which gave Hibs the winner six minutes before
time - this time Steven Whittaker started the move supplied the pass to substitute Alan Reid who sidefooted the ball through the defence for Gary O'Connor to score.

Rangers had two chances before the end to salvage a point. Ross McCormack
had the ball taken from his toes inside the box by the Hibs keeper after Chris Burke had worked in from the wing before passing into the penalty area.

Right on 90 minutes Rangers were denied a penalty when Paul McHale was brought down just inside the box by Mark Dempsie - the referee and linesman
both struggled to keep up with play and simply waved play on.

The game ended with a fine Hibs move - Riordan providing the cross for an O'Connor shot which was just wide.

RANGERS - Graeme Smith, Alan Hutton, Peter Leven (Graham Dale 13), Fraser
Coyle, Chris McLeod, Daniele Fortunato, Paul McHale, Billy Gibson, Steven
McLean, Tom Brighton (Ross McCormack 84), Chris Burke.
UNUSED SUBS - Sandy Gebbie, Ben Stevens, Richard White.

HIBERNIAN - John Hutchison, Alan Dempsie, James Craig (Alan Reid 69), Matt
Doumbe, Mark Dempsie, Paul Hilland, Kevin Nicol, Leslie Byle, Gary O'Connor,
Derek Riordan, Steven Whittacker.
UNUSED SUBS - Alastair Brown (GK), Scott Brown, Ryan Harding, Kevin McDonald.