RANGERS Colts progressed to the quarter-finals of the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup with a win on penalties against Solihull Moors this evening.
Goalkeeper Lewis Budinauckas saved two spot-kicks as the Gers won the shootout 4-3.
The game was tied 3-3 after 90 minutes with the young Rangers side coming from behind three times with a strike from Jamie Barjonas and a double from Eros Grezda forcing the tie to penalties.
Over 430 Rangers fans turned out in Solihull to back the young Gers.
Solihull had an early chance in the second minute as a corner swung in by Terry Hawkridge fell for Paul McCallum who hit it on the volley but his effort was well over the bar.
There were a number of corners for Solihull in the opening stages of the game as they pressed the young Rangers side from the start.
Their early pressure paid off as a long throw into the penalty area was headed beyond Budinauckas by Callum Howe.
However, Rangers had the game level with 11 minutes gone as a quick free-kick saw the ball break for Jamie Barjonas on the edge of the box with the midfielder fired a fine effort into the bottom corner.
The young Gers side gained confidence from their goal and Nathan Patterson done well to win the ball back before releasing Eros Grezda but his shot was saved by Ryan Boot.
In a lively start to the game Solihull continued to show their threat going forward as they won the ball back in midfielder before McCallum fired a shot just over the bar.
Rangers showed patience as they passed the ball about and tried to break through the Solihull back line. Daniel Finlayson fed the ball out wide to Eros Grezda who fired a dangerous ball into the box which was diverted towards goal by Dapo Mebude but was held by Ryan Boot.
It was end to end stuff at the SportNation bet Stadium as Lewis Budinauckas denied Callum Howe blocking his close-range effort.
The Vanarama National League side were back in front on the 36th minute as Darren Carter swung a free-kick into the box which was knocked back across goal by Callum Howe into the path of Adi Yussuf who headed beyond Budinauckas.
Graeme Murty made one change to his side at the break as Serge Atakayi replaced Ben Williamson.
The Rangers sub had a chance just before the hour-mark as good build-up play resulted in Atakayi picking the ball up on the right-hand side and getting a shot away from inside the box but it hit the side netting.
Solihull had their third on the 60th minute as Darren Carter curled a free-kick from the edge of the box into the net.
The Gers were back within a goal of the fifth tier English side as Kai Kennedy won the ball back well in the middle of the park before finding Eros Grezda who cut inside to get a powerful shot away which beat Ryan Boot.
Rangers were using their pace to their advantage as Grezda shot just wide before Atakayi hit the side netting with a powerful shot.
Shortly after Kai Kennedy broke for the Gers before playing out to Grezda on the left with the Albanian driving forward and getting a cross into the box aiming for Dapo Mebude in the centre but it was just too high for the Rangers number nine to get a touch on.
The Gers were level with 5 minutes remaining as Nathan Young-Coombes shot was blocked by the Boot but the rebound fell to Grezda who fired into the back of the net.
With it all level at full-time the game went to penalties.
Solihull were up first as Lewis Budinauckas saved Hawkridge’s penalty before Jamie Barjonas, Nathan Patterson, Eros Grezda and Kai Kennedy all netted for Rangers.
Gael Bigirimana stepped up to take the fourth penalty for the hosts with Budinauckas diving the right way to make the save and send Rangers into the last round of the competition.
Solihull: Boot, Williams, Carter, McCallum, Hancox, Hawkridge, Blissett, Neufville, Howe, Ball, Yussuf. Subs: Rowley, Reckford, Wright, Beesley, Bigirimana.
Rangers: Budinauckas, Patterson, Maxwell, Williamson (Atakayi, 46), Breen, Finlayson, Grezda, Barjonas, Mebude, Dickson (Young-Coombes, 80), Kennedy. Subs: Kinnear, Butterworth, Miller, Lyall, McClelland.