Dann the man as Rangers climb up the league
Hat-trick for top scorer in first win over rivals
Rangers began the day bottom of U18 Division One but climbed three places as a result of a victory that was especially enjoyable in view of recent history between the two clubs.
Last season the two Rangers competed for the Division Two title with the West London team taking the honours after two bruising encounters. The rivalry continued into Division One with a 5-5 draw earlier this season so this was always going to be a hard fought contest.
The visitors arrived with just 10 players but worked hard to deny Thame any advantage. Predictably the opening half hour was fiercely competetive. The Rangers strike pairing Jake Dann and Billy Herbert each saw decent shots saved by the Ruislip keeper but the visitors had a couple of talented forwards of their own and Eddie Hart came to the rescue with an acrobatic stop before Thame made the all important breakthrough.
Once again it was the Dann/Herbert combination that did the damage, Billy's skillfull touch playing in Jake who clipped his shot over the advancing keeper. Matt Wigglesworth then had a header cleared off the line but Rangers were forced to reshuffle after a double injury blow late in the first half. First dependable full back Ed Hickman was forced to leave the pitch with a knee injury then Cameron McLaren who had made a big impact in the middle after coming off the bench fell awkwardly in another tough challenge and was also unable to continue.
It was a day when Rangers were glad to have a strong bench. Matt Gomm did a good job in the back line while George Bennetts played much longer than originally planned after a week under the weather.
At 1-0 going into the second half the game was very much alive. The second goal was always going to be crucial and it came from that familiar source. Roles were reversed this time as Dann's header put in Herbert for an accomplished finish.
Ruislip were already being over-stretched by Thames front two and the width provided by Wigglesworth,Niall Davies and Sam Muscroft so when it was the visitors turn to suffer an injury,going down to 9 men, the game was over as a contest.
Jake Dann took advantage adding two more goals to his tally, a hat-trick and an assist reward for a good morning's work.The only disappointment was a penalty conceded seconds from time from a foul that looked comfortably outside the area which once again denied Eddie Hart that elusive clean sheet.
Special mentions must go to Alex McStay in the midfield battlefield and Tom Darling at the heart of Thame's defence for two towering performances.But this was a day when all 14 were required to step up and they didn't disappoint.Enjoy your Christmas break everyone and best wishes to Ed and Cam for speedy recoveries.We are going to need them in 2017.
Squad: Eddie Hart,Tom Howard,Matt Gomm,Tom Darling, Jack Thurnham, Ed Hickman, George Bennetts, Alex McStay, Cameron McLaren,Sam Muscroft,Jake Dann,Billy Herbert, Matt Wigglesworth and Niall Davies.