Youth football match of the week: Lytham Maroons U13 5 FC Rangers U13 5
This season's third match between the Under-13s of Lytham Maroons and FC Rangers has plenty to live up to if the first two encounters are anything to go by.
After Rangers edged the first meeting 5-4, the rematch in the Blackpool and District Youth League’s Alpha Silver division at Lytham’s Ballam Road home ended in a 5-5 draw.
The prolific Matthew Guy scored a hat-trick for Rangers, who twice recovered from two goals down to share the spoils in this silver division thriller.
The Maroons made the brighter start and were two up after 17 minutes through Finlay Best and Kyle Costin.
But the visitors pulled level by half-time thanks to a determined double by unstoppable striker Guy, who has taken his remarkable goal tally for the season to 39.
It got even better for Rangers after the break, when Justin Smith put them ahead for the first time with a shot on the turn from just inside the penalty area.
But then the game was turned on its head again as the Maroons pulled 5-3 clear.
The home side’s goals were shared between five different scorers and those second-half strikes from Kallum Illingworth, Leo Rodikis and Liam Eunson looked to have sealed the three points for the side sponsored by Mark Wilson.
But again Rangers refused to surrender as the outstanding Carl Wallace cut the deficit to one and then Guy completed his eighth hat-trick of the season to tie the game up.
There were still around six minutes left and both sides had chances to win it, though honours ended even.
Harrison Robson made a fabulous double save for Lytham, who had outstanding contributions from left-back Jenson Glover and from Dion Latham on the right of midfield.
That earlier 5-4 defeat to Rangers was the match in which Pat Illingworth took charge as Lytham boss and he reflected: “It’s been an up and down season.
“We’ve beaten the top two but lost to teams below, but hopefully things are on the up.”
His Rangers counterpart Colin Cardwell has won three promotions without quite managing a league title and he expects to have to wait a little longer.
“Layton should win the league,” he said, “but we are one of four teams fighting for second.
“We’ve scored a lot but conceded a lot too. It’s been a good season, with a lot of evenly-matched teams.”
Jenson Glover was named the Maroons man of the match for his exceptional work rate and never missed a tackle.
Carl Wallace was the Rangers star man. Ater a solid man-marking job in the first half, non-stop Carl came into his own after the restart with a goal and two assists.