HARBOROUGH TOWN 1 DEEPING RANGERS 2: First-half goals from Spencer Tinkler and Dan Flack fired Deeping Rangers back into the top three of the UCL Premier Division on Saturday.
The defensive duo struck inside the opening 25 minutes at basement boys Harborough, rendering Jon Mitchell’s late strike as mere consolation.
Deeping leapfrog Cogenhoe United in the table as a result – and are now level with second-placed AFC Rushden and Diamonds, 16 points behind leaders Spalding United.
Boss Tuncay Korkmaz said: “It was a tough pitch, but the same for both sides of course. It was scrappy, but sometimes winning these kind of games gives you more satisfaction afterwards.
“Harborough have certainly improved and have added a few new faces. The pitch was a bit of a leveller, but a couple of early goals really did the job.”
Rangers set out in a positive manner and had the better of the first half, with Kev Gilbert shooting straight at Glen Giles after good work from Alex Beck.
They got their reward on 11 minutes when Ryan Oliver was fouled in the box from a Scott Ginty corner. That allowed the ever-reliable Tinkler to step up and fire home the penalty.
Gilbert then fired over and David Burton-Jones tested Giles as Deeping continued to dominate, before adding a second goal. The lively Gilbert delivered a 25th-minute cross for Flack, who slotted home.
More Deeping supremacy followed up until half time, as Alex Beck saw two efforts saved and Flack fired a deflected effort past the post.
It was a similar story in the second half with Rangers unfortunate not to add to their advantage with both Beck and Gilbert sending strikes wide.
Deeping never looked in any danger of losing their lead, but did ship an 88th minute goal to Jon Mitchell, who slid a strike past James Doughty.
Next up for Rangers is a tasty-looking Lincs FA Senior Trophy quarter final with higher-graded Grantham Town at Outgang Road tonight (7.45pm). Mitch Griffiths returns, but Joe Braithwaite (cup tied) and Kev Gilbert (unavailable) miss out.
Korkmaz added: “I’ve made no secret of the fact we’re targeting the cups this year.
“I feel we have a side that can compete with most around here. It will be tough as they play at a higher level, but we’re at home and will give it a really good go.”
Meanwhile, Deeping are hopeful of fending off interest in three of their players. Huntingdon Town have a seven-day approach in for striker Ryan Oliver, while Boston Town are in for Simon Ashton and Wisbech Town are trying to re-sign Stacy Cartwright.
Korkmaz told the Free Press that all three players had indicated a desire to stay at Outgang Road.
Deeping: Doughty, Braithwaite, Parker, Tinkler, Ashton, Burton-Jones, Flack , Ginty (Simpson 81 ), Oliver (Heron 66), Beck , Gilbert. Not used: Cartwright.