Deeping Rangers were beaten 4-2 away Eynesbury Rovers on Saturday as they continue to search for their first win of 2016.
Rangers were on fire before the turn of the year, shooting up the UCL Premier Division table to fourth, where they still sit. But so far 2016 has brought a narrow 2-1 loss to Cogenhoe United and a pair of postponed matches.
Rangers started brightly at the Alfred Hall Memorial Ground, full back Tom Smith looked to have got in behind the home defence but the assistant referee deemed him offside.
Eynesbury opened the scoring after just six minutes, Rob Ducket drove forward, he fed Lee Bassett who in turn played in Alex Marsh whose shot beat the efforts of Deeping custodian Danny Bircham to bobble over the line
Rangers responded, Chris Hibbitt won the ball and fed David Burton-Jones whose shot from 20 yards flashed just wide of the post.
The game was being played at high pace but it was the home side who increased their lead on 19 minutes.
A shot from a Rovers player saw the ball strike the arm of the defender and referee awarded a free kick for a hand ball, from set-piece James Freshwater produced an unstoppable shot that beat the dive of Bircham to clip the post and go in.
Deeping were still showing their prowess, Scott Mooney collected on the edge of the box to turn and shoot wide while the home side’s Freshwater had another free kick that had Bircham struggling, but this time failed to find the back of the net.
Mooney had a pair of chance to get Deeping back in the net but his first strike hit teammate Burton-Jones and his second effort was saved by the feet of home keeper Olly Sutton.
Rangers were given a killer blow in additional time in the first when the impressive Joe Bradbury stole the ball from Hibbitt to send Lee Bassett into the box and he blasted the ball past the helpless Bircham to give the home side a 3-0 advantage.
Rangers were on the offensive from the start of the second period as they tried to claw their way back into the game and Smith went close to reducing the arrears after some nice build up play but he could only find the woodwork.
Eynesbury added to their tally on 64 minute, substitute Matt Bannister smashed a shot against the post, the ball was retrieved by Tim Coles whose cross was met by Marsh and his touch clipped a defender and looped over Bircham into the net for 4-0.
Another goal was only thwarted by a good Bircham save as Bassett collected Rob Ducket’s cross-field ball and shot for the near post.
Deeping substitute Olly Humphrey’s had a good dribble to find space for a shot only for Sutton to save with his legs, fellow sub Will Bird then crossed for Mooney whose header was taken under the bar by the keeper, Bird exchanged passes with Coupland only to curl his effort wide.
Deepngs’ Henry Dunn had a shot which brought a good save from Sutton but he could not stop Rangers getting a consolation goal; skipper David Burton-Jones drove a shot through the crowd to beat Sutton from 20 yards with four minutes to go.
Buoyed by this the visitors added another in the final, Humphrey’s sent in a free kick for Mooney to apply the finishing touch at the back post.
Eynesbury: Olly Sutton, Ben Hickling, Elliott Bentley, Darren Woodend, James Ducket, Rob Ducket (Jamie Blackwell), James Freshwater (Matt Bannister), Joe Bradbury, Lee Bassett (Rhys Thorpe), Alex Marsh, Tom Coles. Substitutes not used: Ryan Vale, Mark Van Denberg.
Deeping Rangers: Danny Bircham, Dan Flack, Tom Smith, David Burton-Jones (c), Spencer Tinkler (Joe Hood), Luke Hunnings, Luke Avis (Ollie Humphrey), Chris Hibbitt, Scott Mooney, Scott Coupland, Henry Dunn. Substitutes not used: Jack Marsden, Liam Hutchings