Captain Ashley Jackson struck the winner to help Ranchi Rays beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards by a solitary goal in a Hero Hockey India League match on Sunday.
Englishman Jackson scored in the 18th minute from a penalty corner to seal the win for the home side and maintain their second spot in the league table.
The first quarter of the match saw a tactical game being played by both sides, trying to have a measure of each other.
The UP Wizards kept Ranchi Rays at bay by holding the ball with their passing play. Their ball possession rate touched over 70 per cent in the first quarter.
The pace of the match picked up in the second quarter and both the teams were seen fighting it out to create goal scoring opportunities.
It turned out to be fruitful for the Ranchi Rays when they secured a penalty corner in the 18th minute and Jackson managed to slice in a magnificent goal, beating UP Wizards goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. The visiting side did manage to create a few opportunities, but failed to convert any of them.
The third quarter of the match witnessed a much intense game with the UP Wizards seen striving to level the scores with Ranchi Rays. The Wizards secured their second penalty
corner in the match, but failed to convert it.
Ranchi Rays held their ground till the end of the match as their defenders were at their best and thwarted all the attacks coming in from the UP Wizards.
Ranchi Rays head coach Harendra Singh later praised his players for their team work.
“As a team we did a very good job and our defenders performed brilliantly today( on Sunday). I won’t say we played extremely well against a competitive team but team-work and a bit of luck won this match for us,” he said.
“We are improving with every match and there are areas where we still need to work on. The boys are now very much motivated after this win and we are confident to play even
better in upcoming matches,” he added.
Jackson said, “I would say we did not play our best game on Sunday but there was good team play and we are happy to have won the match. We created many chances but failed to materialise them into goals. We have to work on our weaknesses and improve our game.