Rangers blow demons away with double
13 April, 2017 — By Steve Barnett
Crouch End Rangers
THE prosecco was popping at the weekend as Crouch End Rangers finally exorcised their cup demons to score a double in the Camden Sunday League.
The odds were heavily stacked against Rangers as they stepped out on the pitch at Hackney Marshes hoping to add the Senior Cup to the Division One title that they had captured just seven days earlier.
But it was going to be far from easy. The haunting memories of losing 4-0 against Auld Shillelagh in last season’s final was still fresh in the memory.
And standing in their way this time around was Clerkenwell Old Boys, the team that had beaten them 3-1 in the Challenge Cup final in February.
To make matters even worse, on the hottest day of the year so far, Rangers had just 11 players – so there would be no super substitutes to come on and save the day.
But, despite the 24-degree heat, Rangers proved that they could handle the pressure of the battle.
In his first game as captain, Sud Sivarajah starred at right-back, while Matt Rich, back in the starting line-up for the first time this season after being sidelined with an injury, was named man-of-the-match following an all-action central midfield display.
Together they helped protect and preserve the 1-0 advantage given to them early in the second half when midfielder Wally Downes’s dangerous in-swinging corner somehow managed to find its way into the back of the net.
Wally Downes and skipper Sud Sivarajah
Delighted Rangers manager Declan Taylor, who was still beaming after seeing his side crowned Division One champions for the second season running, said it was a historic day for the football club.
“We have been chasing that elusive double for the past three years,” he said.
“To finally get it in these circumstances, with only 11 men on the hottest day of the year, makes it extra special.
“Before the game, we looked over at Clerkenwell warming up and they seemed to have about 20 players.
“We came up with a system to frustrate them, making ourselves hard to beat. The players gave it everything, and left it all out there on the pitch. In the end, we managed to nick an ugly, ugly, win.
“That’s four trophies in just three seasons,” added Declan. “I couldn’t be prouder of the boys.”
For Clerkenwell, there was still the consolation of having won the Camden Sunday League Challenge Cup this season. That, and the free sausage and chips that the league put on afterwards for all the players!
Clerkenwell manager Paul Ferguson said afterwards: “Congratulations to Crouch End, the better team on the day won. We didn’t play well at all. We are still a young club and we will learn from this disappointing result and become stronger for it.
“I want to thank my players for all their efforts this season, they have been brilliant.”