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HONOURS EVEN FOR BIG TWO IN CHAMPIONSHIP STAKES

Match Report  Wednesday, April 18, 2001  08:08 GMT

Two-goal Treanor is the equaliser

League fixture - Tuesday 17th April 2001
St Marys & St Johns Celtic 2-2 Orton Rangers (HT:1-1)


It’s a case of ‘as you were’ in the title race as honours finished even in the championship head-to-head thanks to two equalisers from Brian Treanor. The game was a tense, nervous affair with little football on show. Orton Rangers will be much the happier of the two sides as their games in hand mean they are still in the driving seat.

This was a game neither side wanted to lose and the Rangers management selected a side to reflect this. There was one change in personnel made from the side that secured that memorable last-gasp victory over Med Bar on Thursday evening. Centre-half Michael Bolton made a return from a three-match absence with a back injury and came back into the side. James Marrett was on the bench along with Dean Billingsley, Craig Smyth, Mark Seymour and Stuart Taylor. Ryan Farrell, who had been deputising in Bolton’s position, went into midfield and Simon Jennings was given a role behind centre-forward Brian Treanor.

As anticipated both sides were keen not to let their old adversaries gain the initiative and the early part of the fixture featured little action of note. St Marys were kicking down the slope in the first half and had most of the play. Fifteen minutes to go before half-time they took the lead when slack marking from a corner allowed a shot on goal that gave ‘Gers keeper Alan Lynham no chance. Soon after it could have been disaster for the travelling Orton side as St Marys struck the post. Thankfully Rangers reacted positively and forced a corner after good play between Steve Baird and Chris Giles on the right. The Rangers set piece followed a familiar pattern. Captain Gregg Marrett’s flighted corner was flicked on by Paul Thatcher but no one was able to take advantage as it went across the goalmouth.

Soon after the same routine did bring the away side success. Peter Cheshire, who enjoyed a fine game went on a positive run from defence that ended with a corner on the left flank and Gregg Marrett’s measured cross was once more met by a Thatcher back-header. This time though Brian Treanor was on the end of it as he headed home the first equaliser of the night. The ‘Gers were beginning to find themselves more and Ryan Farrell broke forward to try his luck from the edge of the area. His low shot was saved uncomfortably by the feet of the home goalkeeper. That was the last piece of action in the first period.

The second half began in the same way as the first with the home side having the majority of the attacking pressure. Midway through though Orton went behind through their own errors as they gave the ball away in midfield and Bolton then failed to clear. The Celtic forward made no mistake. Rangers had it all to do again and had to come back fighting. Simon Jennings went on a couple of dangerous runs on the right hand side but generally failed to receive enough of the type of support his role justified. He did earn his side a free-kick on the right wing that brought Orton back into the match. Baird sent over a firmly driven effort that Brian Treanor met with a good header which found it’s way into the net via the bottom of the left-hand post. The game was level again.

St Marys, who had beaten their biggest rivals twice before this season in league and Challenge Cup matches, set about trying to find a way through again but were met by the resilience of Rangers who were determined to keep hold of what they had battled to earn. The Orton midfield was full of bodies and they were backed up by a defence stubbornly keen not to be breached again. Behind them keeper Lynham was sharp and alert. Rangers were on the backfoot but almost surprised their hosts when Gregg Marrett tried his luck with a free-kick from distance. The St Marys goalkeeper didn’t expect the shot and had to scramble to his right to tip the ball onto the bar and away. With ten minutes remaining Rangers made a change as Craig Smyth came on in place of Baird on the right. He made a couple of important challenges as his side held out for a valuable point.

The draw leaves St Marys still on top but with Rangers neatly poised in third. This evening’s game was far from a classic but Orton came prepared and carried out a professional performance. For the third time this campaign Rangers failed to beat their main rivals but they won’t be too concerned about that if they get their hands on the much sought after title come May.


Starting Team (3-5-1-1): Lynham; Baird (Smyth), Cheshire, Bolton, Thatcher, Noakes; G.Marrett (c), Giles, Farrell; Jennings; Treanor

Booked: Farrell, Treanor

Sub not used: J.Marrett, Billingsley, Seymour, Taylor

Referee:- R.Fleming

Management M.O.M:- Alan Lynham
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