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Match Report  Wednesday, April 11, 2001  08:52 GMT

Marrett hat-trick doubles winning margin

League fixture - Tuesday 10th April 2001
Orton Rangers 6-0 PH Cardinals (HT:2-0)

Orton Rangers continued their assault on the Premiership with a resounding win against the division’s bottom side PH Cardinals on Tuesday evening. The fact that the visitors played with nine-men meant that the game was almost farcical as a contest but Orton will be grateful to add the points to their tally. An early strike from Dean Billingsley and two goals from Ryan Farrell set Rangers on their way before James Marrett came off the bench to notch a swift hat-trick.

Following the postponement of two successive league matches Orton were in the surprising position of having not played for a whole week, when they defeated Hardy Spicer 3-2 at The Park. The Rangers management trio of Blain Parker, Nick Parker and Kevin Nicholls kept the same team that
triumphed in that game. Craig Smyth was back from a two-match absence and was named as a substitute along with James Marrett, Mark Seymour and fit-again Stuart Taylor.

With the opposition fielding two less players they never going to be adventurous and were clearly intent on keeping the score down. They were to have the worst start possible however when Rangers scored in the first minute. A ball over the top found Simon Jennings running unmarked in the box and he beat the keeper to the ball to nudge it goalwards where Dean Billingsley made sure by prodding it into the empty net. Rangers were having unconditional possession of the ball and were allowed plenty of space in the middle of the park. However they were met by a wall of white shirts on the edge of the box as they attacked. It was not easy for the home side despite the numerical advantage. They tried to utilise wingbacks Peter Cheshire and Steve Baird into advanced positions in order to create space and Baird especially was to see a lot of the ball. He swung over a fine cross at one stage after a good piece of play but Brian Treanor’s header was just wide.

The Rangers captain Gregg Marrett was also involved a great deal and he jinked inside and tried his luck with a chip that was turned over for a corner. Treanor then had a couple of long range shots but without increasing the score. Rangers were finding further goals hard to come by as Cardinals defended resolutely. They did manage to score before the break when Gregg Marrett’s corner was half-cleared and found it’s way to the edge of the box. Centre-half Ryan Farrell came through to a pack of players to find the net with a low shot. It was the player’s first goal in Rangers colours. It was Marrett’s last piece of action as he requested to be removed from the action due to illness and with one eye on Thursday’s match away at Med Bar.

The referee disappointed The ‘Gers by deciding to play only 35 minutes each way as they tried to increase their goal difference. They were additionally frustrated by the fact that they were only two goals to the good against the side they had crushed 9-0 in the Rowley Cup semi-final nine days previously. There seemed a little frustration in the play of the blue shirted side and they were not playing with a great deal of nouse or intelligence considering the circumstances. A number of long raking balls were sent towards the direction of the strikers but they were not causing Cardinals to panic. Eventually Orton started to move the ball around and use the flanks. Ryan Farrell pushed forward a number of times in the knowledge Neil Noakes and Paul Thatcher were under no pressure defensively.

Ten minutes into the half Rangers made their second substitution as Dean Billingsley was replaced by James Marrett. He was to have a very positive impact and was involved immediately. Jennings and Farrell combined on the right wing and Farrell’s firm cross was met by Marrett but he only managed to divert it wide of the post. Marrett then became involved in a neat interplay as he combined with Cheshire to set up Treanor for a shot. However the hustling centre-forward’s shot went over the bar. Another home substitution followed when hardworking Chris Giles was given a rest and Craig Smyth came on to play wide on the right with Baird moving inside.

Rangers eventually got the third goal and it owed a lot to good fortune. Farrell received the ball on the right wing and his cross eluded everybody and went past the goalkeeper for his second of the night. Orton then stepped up a level and finished up doubling their advantage. Again the move stemmed from the right. Jennings took a pass from Baird and his pass set the silver-streaked Smyth away inside the area. His low cross was blocked at the near post by a defender but James Marrett was on hand for a tap-in. Rangers keeper Alan Lynham was understandably redundant for the majority of the game but when sloppy play by his side enabled a white-shirted forward to take a shot he was alert and made a good save.

It was to be the last piece of action in the Rangers half of the pitch. Orton kept probing for further goals and number five soon arrived. Jennings was involved again and collected ball just outside the box. As the defender arrived the Rangers midfielder executed his trademark scoop over the top to James Marrett who hit the ball over the advancing keeper with the outside of his right foot for his second. All the play in the last few minutes was being played in or around the visitor’s 18-yard line as Rangers tried to force their way in further reward. The home crowd had one more goal to cheer as their side made it six before the end of the game. Seymour slipped the ball to Jennings and his shot looped off a defender into the area where James Marrett turned swiftly to shoot low into the net. It completed the strikers first treble for his club and it came in a matter of minutes. The remainder of the match saw Orton force a couple of corners on the left without adding to their tally.

Rangers finished the match content with the points in the bag despite a less than perfect performance. More importantly there were no injuries to report in the face of the crucial league double-header with second placed Med Bar on Thursday and Sunday. Tonight’s game will not go down in the annals of Orton Rangers history but as another step on the ladder of their ascent to potential success. Should they succeed it will be looked upon as an important three points as any achieved throughout the season.

Starting Team (3-5-2): Lynham; Baird, Cheshire, Farrell, Thatcher, Noakes; G.Marrett (c) (Seymour), Giles (Smyth), Jennings; Treanor, Billingsley (J.Marrett)

Sub not used: Taylor

Referee:- C.Hennity

Management M.O.M:- James Marrett
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