Amateur League, Division 2B: Grange Rangers welcomed table-toppers Newtownbreda to Foundry Lane on Saturday and were very unfortunate to lose by the odd-goal-in-five.
When the visitors went two up after an hour, all hopes of Rangers getting anything from the game seemed to have vanished, but late strikes by Matty King and Phil Gregg set up a nervy finish.
Rangers started the match brightly, and worked the away keeper a number of times, before ‘Breda took the lead on 17 minutes with their first effort on goal - a free header from a corner.
This rattled the hosts for a period, but keeper David Brown was rarely tested again in the first half, whereas Marc Campbell, Ally Bell and Matty King all spurned opportunities to equalise.
The second half followed a very similar pattern, with Rangers on top, and Campbell missed another chance before a ‘Breda sucker-punch doubled the lead with only their second attempt on goal.
Clearly shaken, Rangers then conceded a penalty two minutes later when Brown fouled a striker, and it was duly despatched to make it 3-0.
Undaunted by the score-line Rangers showed great fighting spirit, and Chris Bell was unlucky when his 20-yard effort struck the bar, before King converted an 84th-minute penalty after Gregg was upended.
Three minutes later home hopes soared when Gregg buried one in the top corner to make it 3-2, and in a rousing finish Jason Leitch had the ball in the net, but the referee had spotted an infringement.
Manager Stephen King was delighted with the effort and fighting spirit shown by his team, but rued missed chances to take vital points off the league leaders.
Grange Rangers: Brown; Deegan, Leitch, McNair, Reid; Cooper (c), Thompson, A Bell; M King, Campbell, Gregg. Subs McCoy, C Bell, Donnelly.
Weekend football results here