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First win of the season

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Valley Rangers kicked off the new season at Bignian Park hosting Hanover.

Valley Rangers FC...1
Hanover FC...0 .

This was a fixture both teams probably didn't really want on the opening day and Valley were missing several players including Brendan McVeigh, Gary McKee, Aaron Parke, Jonny Cranston (injured) and new signing Lee Newell (suspended). The group of lads in the squad today deserve huge credit for the way in which they tackled today's difficult task.

As often is the case against Hanover, they had good possession with dangerous forwards, this was a test of stamina and concentration for Rangers. Neither keeper had a lot to do in the opening quarter of the game. Valley then began to grow into the game, the dangerous McCartney forced Matt Shortt into a great save as he turned McCartney's stinging shot over the bar.

Four minutes before half time Andy Graham scored what turned out to be the winning goal with an excellent low drive into the bottom corner. Valley tails were now up and we reached half time in front.

The second half tempo increased, Hanover playing hard to get back level. McCartney sprung the offside trap but his touch was heavy when one on one and Shortt saw him away from goal. The Rangers back four were superb with the midfield trio of Johnny Newell, Stuart and Stevie Patterson working tirelessly to compete with the talented Hanover side.

McCartney again raced clear on goal with the keeper to beat his shot went agonisingly past the post. McNeill started today and the big Co. Antrim man put in strong display. Valley made changes introducing Tommy McKee, Matty Ardis and McCullough bringing youthful fresh legs for Valley.

Richard Annett had another sound match with good kicking and handling. He made a brilliant block save to deny Hanover. Then the Portadown men hit the post with a scuffed shot and Raymie Hanna throwing his body literally on the line to clear.

Stuart Patterson almost made it 2-0 but his header was scrambled clear. Valley were delighted to hear the final whistle to start the campaign with three points when the squad was stretched and a clean sheet. Annett and his defence of Johnston, Ardis, McCoy and Hanna displayed great concentration to see the game out.

Next up is an away league fixture over the mountains at Moneyslane tonight.

The season is up and running!

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