Underbank player-coach Richard Knight took matters into his own hands to score the match-winning try with just five minutes remaining to secure a 20-16 National Conference League Third Division and end a run of four successive defeats.
Returning half-back Neil Barrett added the conversion in his first game since April to give Rangers a narrow lead and set up what was to prove a thrilling finale.
With the match officials ‘finding’ an extra six minutes of stoppage time, Underbank had to withstand a nervous last 10 minutes as Heworth threw everything at the Underbank line in search of a win.
But the Rangers’ defence stood firm and they returned to winning ways for the first time since beating Heworth at home in mid-May.
All had appeared fine for Rangers in the first half as they led 10-0 after 25 minutes.
Winger Courtney Allette opened the scoring in the seventh minute after Barrett put through a kick that Heworth full-back Christian Pollock couldn’t handle and Allette side-footed the ball over the tryline before winning the race to touchdown.
Barrett couldn’t convert, but made no mistake after 25 minutes following centre Alex Chatterton’s try. Knight chipped over the defensive line for right winger Corey Noel to collect the bouncing ball and pass to the supporting Chatterton to score under the black dot.
Rangers were in complete control throughout the first half to create several good chances, but poor handling and execution by the backs undid the build-up by the hard-working forwards to create the opportunities, and Heworth punished the visitors with a try just before the break to prop Connor Page that stand-off Danny Allan converted to leave the game delicately poised at 10-6 at the interval.
Indiscipline and poor handling was costing Rangers dear and, following a conceded penalty, the York side evelled the scores with left winger Deighton crashing over after 44 minutes.
Underbank regained their composure and the lead six minutes later as full-back Tom Eidson broke from deep and off-loaded to Chatterton to race over and complete his brace to put Rangers back in front at 14-10.
Five minutes later Heworth were level as the impressive Pollock linked into the line to crash over in a three-man tackle, and then Underbank were penalised for kicking out in the tackle and Allan converted the easy penalty to give the hosts an unlikely lead with 20 minutes left.
Rangers had tries disallowed for Allette and Dan Farrand as they tried to build pressure, but it needed a wonderful ball steal from Eidson on Allan with the Heworth stand off looking certain to score with 10 minutes remaining to keep Underbank in the game.
They marched down the field once more and after Luke Karolczuk had gone close to scoring, hooker Stephen Berry fired the pass from acting-half to Knight who attacked the line and reached out in a two-man tackle to score the match-winning try.
Tireless prop Dave Valentine was selected Rangers’ Bengal Spice man-of-the-match as he led the team superbly from the front to complete an amazing 77 tackles, and he was well supported by fellow pack man Luke Karolczuk, Berry, Michael Murphy and Chatterton.
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