Match Preview

Hall Road Rangers are back in NCEL Premier Division action on Saturday as Maltby Main are the visitors to Haworth Park. This will be a very difficult test for Rangers as Maltby are 3rd in the league table and have only lost once in their last 8 league games.

Bill Gill is full of praise for his side’s opponents and points out Maltby’s fine recent form. He said:

Maltby have hit good form recently which has been shown in the league table. That has moved them up into the top 3 this month

The Visitors

Maltby have been excellent travellers so far this season with 8 wins from their 15 away games. They have drawn 3 and lost the other 4 so they will certainly be relishing the chance of going to Haworth Park. Furthermore, they have won their last 3 games on the road and will undoubtedly feel they can add to that tally but it won’t be that easy for them. They will have to be careful of complacency as any sign of that on Saturday will encourage Hall Road that they can take something from the game. Maltby’s last league game was at home against Parkgate last Saturday where they won 3-2. Ryan Smyth scored twice and Bradley Kilmer got the other goal.

The previous league meeting between these sides at Muglet Lane in September produced a very entertaining match. Maltby won 2-1 thanks to a Steven McDonnell goal and a very late winner from Dean Smith which gave them all 3 points. Chris Spinks had equalised for Hall Road from the penalty spot but they couldn’t hold onto a point. Rangers will look to put this right on Saturday and they need a good win to bring some positives into both the current league position they are in and the overall confidence of the players.

Disappointing Previous Meeting

Gill remembers that game very well and is disappointed that Hall Road didn’t come out of Muglet Lane with at least a point.

The reverse fixture was a tough encounter which we lost out on with the last kick of the game. That shows Maltby never give up and they always go to the very end. We were unlucky not to take something from that game with clear chances in both halves which we didn’t convert

If Hall Road are to pick up anything in this game they need to eradicate the defensive fragilities they have shown in recent games. Their 4-1 home defeat to Penistone Church was a clear example of this. Poor defensive mistakes cost them the game. There was also an element of this in the NCEL League Cup defeat at Liversedge last Saturday. Inadequate defending cost Rangers another game. The one positive to take from both these games is that the attacking play was very good and scoring goals isn’t a problem for this side.

Working On Defence

Gill complemented his players for the attacking prowess they have shown in front of goal in recent games but also admitted that he will be working on the defensive side of his team. Gill said:

Last week we showed once again going forward we are unplayable at times and I’m hoping we can continue this again on Saturday. It is disappointing to score 3 goals and not win the game which is why we are working on stopping things at the other end this week in training

Hall Road won’t be the favourites to win this match but this will be a benefit to them. They can play their own game and catch Maltby out. The most important factor will be if Maltby are switched on as they would be expected to get the job done. If they show any complacency they will end up being punished by Rangers.

Gill is also pleased to welcome a couple of new players into his side. However he doesn’t think they will be able to feature in this Saturday’s game.

We have a couple of new players in this week but it is maybe too late for them to feature in this fixture. Both of them are very positive signings and they will help to push us on in the last part of the season

Match Preview by Oliver Harsley