A MIX of first-team and young Academy players were beaten by League Two outfit Carlisle United at the Hummel Training Centre this afternoon – but it was a good exercise for the younger members of the team in particular.
It was an excellent test in particular for the two Rangers centre-halves Leon King and Lewis Mackinnon, who, aged just 15 and 16, will seldom have faced a side with strikers as physical as that of Carlisle.
Goals either side of the break from Elias Sorensen and Ryan Loft gave the Englishmen a cushion before Barjonas handed Gers late hope with a wonder goal nine minutes from time.
Gers began the game on the front foot and were handed a great chance to go ahead after just four minutes. Barjonas showed good skill and strength to pick up the ball in midfield and drive forward, holding off a number of Carlisle challenges in the process.
His eventual shot from just inside the area was adjudged to have struck the hand of Aaron Hayden, with the referee having no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Up-stepped Eros Grezda to take, but his effort cleared the top of the crossbar to leave the scores still ties at 0-0.
Barjonas always looked the most likely for Gers, and he sent a ripping volley wide of the upright soon after, before being denied by a good block from just inside the area from another effort.
Greg Docherty tested goalkeeper Louis Gray with a good effort from the edge of the box, before, just a minute before the break, the visitors took the lead.
Elias Sorensen found himself in space to the right of Andy Firth’s goal, with the angle seemingly closing against him. He managed to find an excellent finish, however, into the far bottom-corner.
Gers began the second-half on top, and after further attempts from distance from Barjonas, he really should have levelled matters on the hour mark, turning inside Hayden superbly before poking his final shot into the arms of Gray from around 15-yards out.
Ryan Loft missed a good opportunity for the visitors, shooting wide when played-in by goalscorer Sorensen before the visitors were handed a penalty of their own on 71 minutes.
Loft was fouled in the box by MacKinnon as he looked to skip by the defender, with the referee again having no doubts when making the award.
Loft dusted himself down to take the spot-kick and blasted the ball straight down the middle, with Firth diving to his right.
Gers kept going, and with nine minutes left, Jamie Barjonas was rewarded for a hardworking and strong individual showing with a wonderful goal.
From fully 25-yards, he shifted the ball onto his right foot and sent a superb drive into the top–right corner to give his side some late hope.
It wasn’t to be, however, with United holding on to take the victory back to Cumbria.
RANGERS: Firth; Butterworth, Breen (Mackinnon, 30), L King (Lowry, 75), Shiels; Polster, Docherty, Williamson; Barjonas, Grezda, Lyall (Ritchie-Hosler, 75).
SUBS NOT USED: Miller, Devine, Anderson, Budinauckas.
CARLISLE UNITED: Gray, Branthwaite, Mellish, Armstrong, Charters, Carroll, Scougall, Birch, Loft, Sorensen.
SUBS: Wilson, Kerr, Lightfoot, Walton.