THE Macleay Valley Rangers hung-on to win against Port Saints on Saturday for the first game of the FFA Cup clash.
In a game that showed post holiday jitters, the match started at a quick pace with both sides trying to settle play early.
Daniel Saul made a break down the right wing, getting behind the defence providing a good low cross for Andrew Potter who scored by the near post, after eight minutes.
The Rangers next goal came after sixteen minutes from a cross on the left which the Port keeper fumbled leaving it open for Rangers Daniel Saul to lightly tap in the net.
The remainder of the half was reasonable even with Port slightly stronger in the last ten minutes; their performance may have been hindered by having to make two early substitutions through injury.
Port came out strongly in the second half with a slightly different formation and more purpose, however the Rangers defence held strong.
For fifteen minutes, both teams cancelled each other out, then Liam Applegate made a strong break though the left hand side of midfield, but was bought down seconds later by a Port defender inside the box awarding the rangers a spot kick.
Liam Applegate at the 17 minute stepped up and coolly put the ball to the right of the keeper into the side netting. Rangers led 3-0.
In a decisive game changer, Port applied some real pressure to the Rangers defence and eventually they cracked with Port scoring.
The heat and lack of match fitness was now showing for Rangers, with Port finishing much stronger, and with 12 minutes to go Port score a second.
At 3-2 Port saw that the Rangers were vulnerable at the back with the Rangers having numerous of chances to score, but didn’t. They did however hang on, to record a good victory over a fellow competition rival and will play Tuncurry – Forster Tigers in the next round.
Goal Scorers: Rangers- A Potter, D Saul and L Applegate. Port Saints-I Khodary and L Rogers.