Rangers lose to Queen’s as relegation battle rages on

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Grange Rangers suffered another away defeat against high-flying Queen’s II at The Dub as the Division 2B relegation battle rages on.

Rangers were on top for most of the first half with goalkeeper David Brown a spectator, due to the excellent defensive work of Mark Deegan, Ally McNair, Jason Leitch and Aaron Gault.

At the other end, Grange went close through both Stephen King and Jonny Harkness, but the game was scoreless at the break.

The Ballyclare lads started the second half with a spring in their step, only to be hit with a sucker-punch four minutes in.

Breaking out smartly from a Grange corner, the students counter-attacked quickly, and their pacy striker rounded Brown and slotted into an empty net.

Stunned by this reverse, Rangers lost concentration and conceded another three minutes later when a corner wasn’t dealt with properly.

Showing plenty of commitment and spirit, the Ballyclare boys were still well in contention and created several chances.

Harkness saw a snapshot flash wide, before Derek McComb found himself one-on-one, but the keeper made a splendid save.

Continuing to press, Rangers mounted a flowing move that resulted in Harkness crossing to Jonny White, whose header brought another outstanding save from the Queen’s keeper.

The pressure eventually told in the 88th minute when Davy Thompson scored from the penalty spot following a foul in the box.

Searching for an equaliser in stoppage time, McComb’s cross clipped the bar, but there was nobody on hand to tuck home the rebound.

The result means Rangers remain at the foot of the 2B table, but manager Stephen King was delighted with the effort from his players in a match they mainly dominated, but bemoaned the need for a regular goalscorer.

Grange Rangers: Brown; Deegan, Gault, McNair, Leitch; Cooper (c), White; M King, Harkness, Thompson; S King. Subs Gregg, McComb, Donnelly.

This weekend Rangers host league leaders Greenisland in an east Antrim derby at Foundry Lane.