Graham hat-trick seals day as Rangers ring the changes

Junior Football news.
Junior Football news.

Jamie Graham scored a hat-trick as Deeping Rangers Reserves edged out Langtoft United 4-3 in the first ever derby between the clubs in the Peterborough League’s top division.

Graham, drafted in from the first team as Rangers made a number of changes to the side humiliated 9-1 at Netherton three days earlier, provided the star quality at Deeping’s Outgang Road on Tuesday.

However, he might never have had the chance to be the hat-trick hero but for a horrific mistake by Langtoft keeper Nathan Symonds on 65 minutes that turned the match Rangers’ way.

With the sides locked at 1-1, there appeared no danger as a tackle 30 yards out sent the ball spinning back towards Symonds. But, as he bent down to collect the ball, it somehow slipped through him and dribbled almost apologetically over the line eight yards behind.

That stroke of luck lifted Rangers and five minutes later Graham cut inside from the right and brilliantly curled a left-footed effort in off the far post from 25 yards out to make it 3-1.

Langtoft found a way back into the game when Dan Jarman headed home from a corner with eight minutes left. And five minutes later they should have had an equaliser, but Talal Karama headed wide from 10 yards after being found unmarked by a Jobi Froud cross.

Langtoft continued to press, but when Rangers broke out from a corner in the 89th minute, Graham, left unmarked on the halfway line, was able to stroll through on goal and complete his hat-trick.

Former Rangers player Calum Parker, who was immense at centre-half for Langtoft before proving a handful after being pushed up front late on, drove home a consolation third for the Vikings with the final kick of the game.

The defeat marks a fourth straight loss for Langtoft and the second successive match in which they have lost after taking the lead.

That was provided for them when Sam Thompson surged into the area and pulled the ball back for Ben Porter to slot home.

Langtoft created some further half chances as they looked to utilise the pace of debutant Rhys Ford up front, but Deeping drew level with the last kick of the first half when Graham fired into the bottom corner.