Hello and welcome back to Lofty Heights after what has been a very nice break away from the football with an apparent distraction called the world cup passing us by, which a few of us took interest in, but now is the time we have been waiting for, Rangers are back and we begin with four weeks of pre-season friendlies before another season begins.
Lofty Heights are going to try and cover as many pre-season games on home soil as possible, work depending, so hopefully we can give you an insight into how things are looking as we prepare for the 7th August when we entertain Barnsley in the first game of the new npower Championship season.
Today a last minute decision to take to the road and attempt to make the trip to Tavistock but it wasn't until a last minute check that we realised the kick was in fact at 7pm, not the conventional 7.30/7.45 kick off time, so we were up against it from the start and started off with an arrival time of 7.35, so time was needed to be made up on the motorway and quickly.
Sam and Luke joined me on the road for this journey that was going steadily until we reached the M5 and got stuck in traffic caused by an overturned horsebox and by the time we got through that we had an even later arrival time of 7.42 showing up on the sat nav so if we were going to make it a worthwhile journey then I had to really put my foot down and get us to Tavistock by doing the 114 remaining miles in 70 minutes before kick or as close to that as possible. Surprisingly despite hitting a few short delays caused by slow drivers we arrived outside the ground with just 5minutes on the clock and just needed to find somewhere to park before dashing into the ground to get our first glimpses of Neil Warnock's squad.
As we approached the entrance to the ground an ambulance made its way to the car park and sparked fears that one of our players had been seriously hurt, it turns out that one of our fans fainted in shock as Fitz Hall had made it through the opening 15 minutes without picking up an injury.... (Sorry Sam, I had to joke about it!)
We took our places inside the ground about 15-20 minutes late and found out that the score was already 2-0 courtesy of two goals from Akos Buzsaky.
His first was scored within 12seconds of the start when Mackie whipped in a centre for Akos to clip home and then his second was apparently an absolutely wonderful free kick from just outside the area...... trust us to miss that!!
Two minutes after Luke and me got in the ground the third goal was scored, Clint Hill headed a deep cross back towards goal and evaded everyone before seeing the ball rustle into the corner of the net. 3-0 and that goal was scored just as Sam made her way through the gate so she also missed that goal.
We noticed that Rangers' were playing a new style of formation, its pretty reminisant of the formation that Spain use in their internationals, with two holding midfielders and then one just behind the front man and two men out wide.
The first half team was; Kenny, Leigertwood, Hall, Gorkss, Hill; Derry Faurlin; Mackie, Buzsaky, Clarke; Helguson.
The front 3 of Mackie, Helguson and Clarke looked to be working very well with Mackie providing width down the right and Clarke down the left hand side, but they also provided a threat in central positions as well and this gave us a very good balance. Derry, who looked much smaller than we remembered, alongside Faurlin provided a steely midfield holding pair that protected the defence but Derry allowed Faurlin to join the attack and give us a further option in the attacking third and gave us 5 players in and around the area to create problems for the opposition.
Rangers enjoyed large spells of possesion and it was only a matter of time before a fourth goal was added.
The impressive Mackie grabbed the goal he deserved on the half hour as he cut in from the right and curled his effort in from 20 yards and leaving the poor Tavistock 'keeper wrong footed and having to pick the ball up from the back of the net once again.
Rangers' continued to knock the ball around on the floor but when chances fell to Helguson and Clarke they were unfortunately unable to take advantage of their openings.
Half time appeared and we made our way over to the solitary food facility in the ground and spent all of half time queuing until we got to the front and found out there was a 15minute wait for the food, so we left without food and still starving but on the plus side the second half had just started so we had more football and more goals to enjoy.
Seven changes were made at the interval and this was the team that took to the field for the final 45minutes.
Cerny; Ramage, Stewart, Connolly, Borrowdale; Leigertwood, Faurlin; Parker, Buzsaky, Ephraim; Clarke.
Rangers' continued where they left off in the first half and carried on knocking the ball around very comfortably and when the fifth goal came it was a great team goal.
Borrowdale had the ball on the left and he played the bal into centre midfield for Hogan to pick the ball up and play a delightful one-two with Clarke before lifting the ball over the Tavistock goalkeeper into the back of the net.
It wasn't long before a sixth goal arrived either.
Gary Borrowdale, who didnt put a foot wrong in his 45minutes, attacked the left hand side and put in a great cross and Josh Parker leaped above everyone to divert the ball into the corner with a well taken header.
When the sixth went in it was the end of Akos Buzsaky's game and he was replaced by Antonio German. This meant that German moved to the right forward position and Hogan moved into the role just behind the stiker and he seemed to revel in that area.
Hogan was very vocal during his time on the pitch and was always looking to receive the bal, although he didnt on many occasions, but it definitely looked as if postioning has been on the agenda for our attacking players.
It was Hogan's quick thinking that set up the seventh goal.
Rangers' won a corner and Hogan got over and spotted Faurlin on his own outside the Tavistock penalty area so he swiftly got the ball over to Faurlin and last years player of the season took a touch before unleashing an effort that was only going in one place, the back of the net!
Clarke went in search for the goal that his performance deserved and when he was put through one on one with just the 'keeper to beat you felt it was destined that he would score, but unfortunately as Clarke went to go round the keeper the ball was fingertipped away from him and took him wide of goal and forcing him to pas out wide to Parker before the ball was cleared to safety.
There was one more goal in the game and it fell to the hard working Hogan Ephraim.
Clarke once again went on the atack and fed the ball out to Parker on the Rangers' left and Parker fed the ball into the feet of Hogan and he made no mistake from 12 yards out and bagging the eighth Rangers' goal of the night.
We started to take the walk around the edge of the pitch towards the exit and as we got to the exit the final whistle was blown and an easy 8-0 victory was secured.
Players to stand out today included Mackie, Derry, Buzsaky, Clarke, Faurlin and Hogan but you cant say that anyone in a blue and white hooped shirt played badly tonight. Both R's goalkeepers had one save each to make, both sets of back four looked comfortable and going forward we were always a threat.
Fitness levels looked pretty good as Faurlin, Leigertwood and Clarke all completed the 90 minutes, which is very rare in the first friendly of the pre season build up.It would be harsh for me to go and grade each player for todays eforts as this was only a Tavistock team and they provided a good workout for us and there was plenty of attacking practice there for us, there are stiffer opposition to come up against before the season begins, but all in all we should be pleased that a professional job has been done and hopefully this will continue going into Wednesday's game at Bodmin, and hopefully a few of us will be there to give more feedback from that game.