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BIG MATCH VERDICT AND PHOTO GALLERY: Deeping Rangers' dream ended in Devon defeat




Down and out - now it's all about quickly finding the right response.

Despite this devastating defeat in Devon, there is plenty for Deeping Rangers to achieve over the next three months.

The dream of going to Wembley Stadium was ended on Saturday when the Clarets narrowly missed out on a quarter-final place in the Buildbase FA Vase.

Willand Rovers v Deeping Rangers
Willand Rovers v Deeping Rangers

Scott Mooney's double was not enough to continue their best-ever run in the national knockout competition.

The striker twice put the Clarets ahead in the first half at Willand Rovers who hit back before the break then won it just 13 minutes from the end of a pulsating last-16 tie.

As the hosts celebrated a historic moment, there was no consolation for Deeping in defeat - even though they can reflect with pride on getting so far from the first qualifying round in September.

The number one priority for Rangers must be ensuring that they don't even enter the FA Vase at the start of next season.

Promotion via a top-two finish in the league - also putting them into the FA Trophy - is very much possible with 15 games to play.

Deeping have already reached the Lincolnshire FA Senior Trophy final and earned home advantage in the UCL Knockout Cup semi-final - offering more opportunities to collect silverware.

They have come so close previously but Michael Goode's management team must take the next step.

They prepared professionally with an overnight stay in Taunton - despite concerns over whether they would need to go back for a rearranged tie due to the wintry weather in the south-west.

On a bumpy and slippery surface - hardly helpful for Rangers' style of play - it came down to fine margins between victory and defeat because this certainly could have been a different story.

A team of volunteers had worked hard to clear snow off the Silver Street pitch on Friday, allowing the game to go ahead.

Deeping started brightly as David Burton-Jones and Cameron Johnson were denied in the first of many goalmouth scrambles before the deadlock was broken.

Mooney started the move by winning a header, Dan Schiavi knocked a floated pass towards Johnson, keeper Mike Searle slipped and the ball broke kindly for Mooney to finish.

Mooney's tap-in was disallowed for offside when Schiavi struck the crossbar from a free-kick.

Angus Wilson hit the woodwork at the other end and Deeping somehow kept the ball out but Brett Worbey's deflected effort made it all-square.

Within a minute, though, Mooney turned and fired into the bottom corner of the net to restore Deeping's advantage.

It could have been 3-1 as Schiavi was denied by Searle at the base of the post.

A controversial equaliser five minutes before half-time was credited to Wilson despite claims of handball plus protests that the ball hadn't even crossed the line.

Dean Stamp hit the post at the start of the second half and Lewis Elsom grabbed the ball on the line after the rebound bounced off Luke Andersen.

Dan Flack cleared off the line, Elsom kept out Luke Mortimore with a low save and Willand piled on the pressure.

The Toolstation Western League leaders were rewarded when Stamp raced clear of Luke Hunnings and coolly slotted past Elsom.

Dan Jarvis went agonisingly close to a last-gasp leveller and Rangers appealed for handball when Mooney's shot was blocked - but they couldn't force extra-time.

So the dream is over. Deeping must recover from this knockout blow to focus on a huge prospect of success in three other competitions.

WILLAND ROVERS

4-2-3-1: M Searle; J Searle, Hill, Gould, Guppy; Worbey, Curtis; Mortimore (sub Bickle 84 mins), Wilson, Alden; Stamp. Subs not used: Ausden, Western, Steele, Dearing.

DEEPING RANGERS

4-2-3-1: Elsom 7; Flack 7, Burton-Jones 7, Hunnings 7, Andersen 7; Dunn 7, Coulson 6 (sub Lockie 80 mins); Johnson 6 (sub Simpson 67 mins, 6), Schiavi 7, Jarvis 7; Mooney 8. Subs not used: Carter, Marsden, Bircham.

REFEREE

Dan Lamport.

GOALS

Mooney (14 mins, 0-1); Worbey (34 mins, 1-1); Mooney (35 mins, 1-2); Wilson (40 mins, 2-2); Stamp (77 mins, 3-2).

BOOKINGS

Coulson, Mooney, Hill (foul).

ATTENDANCE

776

STAR MAN

Scott Mooney - magnificent in the first half when he struck twice and saw another effort ruled out for offside. Limited support after the break but kept battling for scraps.

WHO'S NEXT

Sleaford Town (H) - UCL Premier Division, Tuesday.



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