TICKNALL RANGERS 0, LKS 3
JOSH Johnson scored twice as LKS beat Ticknall Rangers in their bottom-of-the-table clash at the Grange in Burton & District Sunday League Division One.
Earlier, Ian Chadwick had given the visitors a first-half lead.
The hosts started well with three chances in the first 10 minutes.
First, a long throw-in from Mark Nixon reached Matt Archer, who blazed over.
Then the same player glanced a header wide from a John Mills free kick.
Visiting keeper Chris Smith also denied Alex Slater with a decent save.
LKS settled down and Rangers keeper Finn O’Brien did well to keep out a vicious shot from Johnson. The striker pounced on the loose ball and pulled it back to Keiran Bexon, only for the midfielder to drive wide.
Bexon then hit Josh O’Brian, who fired just wide.
A mistake from Smith nearly proved costly for his side when his mis-kick went straight to Slater, who returned the ball with interest, but the keeper scrambled across to recover the situation.
A minute later, though, the visitors took the lead.
A routine ball forward to O’Brian was laid back by the striker to Chadwick in midfield.
The powerfully built anchor man strode forward and as the Rangers defence backed off, he kept going and smashed the ball into the top corner.
Next, Johnson and O’Brian combined to release Mark Shorthouse but he pulled the ball wide as he slid in at the near post.
O’Brian was a real handful up front but he wasted a decent chance when he dragged a shot wide.
At the other end, Slater twisted and turned in the box before his fierce shot was brilliantly turned around the post by Smith.
Then Slater worked a short corner with Archer and went for goal. Although Smith spilled the ball, Jamie Wood cleared off the line.
As the hosts pressed for the equaliser, a Nixon throw-in was only partially cleared to James Perry, who pulled his shot wide.
With both sides badly in need of a win, this was no place for the faint hearted and after a crunching tackle by Chadwick on Mills, the midfielder escaped with a yellow card.
Rangers continued to attack, with Archer firing wide from a Mills free kick and Slater’s goalbound effort acrobatically tipped over by Smith.
On the restart, a slick move involving O’Brian, Shorthouse and Johnson saw the visitors looking to double their advantage but O’Brien raced out of goal to boot the ball clear.
The keeper did well moments later to keep out a vicious drive from Johnson.
On 62 minutes, Archer sent a header inches wide.
This proved expensive as a minute later the visitors doubled their advantage with an unusual goal.
A huge clearance from Ball was chested down by Johnson.
O’Brien saw the danger and raced from his area to challenge the striker, who just got their first as they both went up to head the ball.
Johnson got the slightest of touches before they clashed heads and hit the ground together.
The ball trickled almost apologetically into the net and both players climbed somewhat shakily to their feet soon afterwards.
Tricky winger Miller then went on a surging run before beating O’Brien but Nixon cleared off the line.
Rangers kept going, with Steve Byram prominent. The full-back whipped in a terrific cross from the right and Archer met it well on the volley, only for Smith to make a fine reaction save to tip over.
Kevin Earp twice went close with decent headers which were just off target and Byram pulled wide from a promising position.
But the visitors were far from finished, with O’Brian firing wide from the edge of the box.
On 87 minutes, LKS got a third goal with the best move of the match.
Workaholic Wood won the ball before releasing Bexon down the right and his inch-perfect cross to the unmarked Johnson saw the striker sweep the ball past O’Brien.
It could have been worse for Rangers when Miller hit Johnson but the striker’s diving header was shovelled away by O’Brien.
In injury time, a tricky cross from Slater was pushed out by Smith to Hall, who, with the goal at his mercy, somehow put it wide.
This just about summed up Rangers’ day.
GOALS: Chadwick 20, Johnson 63, 87 (LKS).
RANGERS: O’Brien, Nixon, Perry, Harvey, Hall, Byram, Mills (Lakin 73), Slater, Armstrong, Earp, Archer.
LKS: Smith, Saunders, Barnett (Adams 68), Chadwick, Wood, Ball, Bexon, Shorthouse, O’Brian, Johnson, Miller.
STAR MAN: Jamie Wood (LKS) – outstanding example to his team-mates. Inspirational.
REFEREE: K Clarke (Newhall).