Rangers and Hood finally get chance to finish job

  • Ezekiel Stoneham, the Rangers captain, is confident going into today’s FA Cup Final (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Southampton Rangers and Robin Hood will finally get the chance to finish what they started a week ago when they meet in the rescheduled FA Cup Final at the National Stadium tonight.

Rangers looked the more threatening team during the 15 minutes that were played before lightning forced referee Martin Wyer to abandon the match as a precaution. Now the First Division side will look to carry on where they left off.

After beating two Premier Division sides, Devonshire Cougars and North Village, on their way to the final, Rangers did not looked bothered by either the occasion and their opponents who finished second in the title race. The rescheduled match was postponed on Tuesday after a heavy downpour on the day.

“We’re feeling pretty good,” Rangers captain Ezekiel Stoneham said. “I’m confident in the adjustments we’re going to make. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise that it was postponed, now we get a second crack at it and can see it from a better angle.”

Rangers, hoping to complete a rare feat of going unbeaten in all competitions this season as a First Division side, know that Hood represent possibly their biggest test, although they did hold their own against them.

Rangers got to watch Robin Hood beat Boulevard 7-2 in their final league game, although Hood saw them too, after Rangers beat BAA 4-2 in the opening match at Goose Gosling Field on April 1.

“Everybody knows how Robin Hood play, they attack the flanks, are very direct and pacy,” Stoneham said. “That’s just their game; what they are good at.”

Rangers have three former Hood players in their team, Darius Cox, Donte Brangman and Shannon Burchall.

“The majority of our team has played at that level before so there is really nothing to worry about,” Stoneham said. “I’m confident we can finish the job.”

Rangers did not get to achieve their main goal of promotion after drawing a third of their 18 league matches, including dropping points to Wolves back in a 0-0 draw back in October. They showed against BAA that they can play well against the top teams, having had three other draws against BAA and Paget, the other promoted side.

“We had to win every game, it was the draws that held us back,” Stoneham said. “We had two 0-0 draws and the draw against Wolves was an extremely frustrating game. Credit to Wolves; they did what they had to do. We’re playing for points at the end of the day and they got their point.”