RANGERS got off to a winning start on their pre-season campaign as Josh Windass netted on his debut to help Gers defeat Charleston Battery 2-1.
Windass took off the roof of the net to open the scoring just before the hour mark and then Harry Forrester added a neat finish 14 minutes from time.
Battery got one back through a superb finish from Ataullah Guerra who snuck a ball in at the near post.
Mark Warburton utilised all his available outfield players in the game which provided an important workout in the heat of Charleston. The game kicked off over an hour late after an almighty storm hit South Carolina and lightening prevented the teams from taking to the field.
Before Rangers had made their initial impact on the game Danny Wilson had suffered one to his nose and was taken down the tunnel with blood streaming down his face. He was replaced by debutant Clint Hill at centre-back.
With 10 men Gers made their first break through down the right with James Tavernier storming to the by-line to flash a ball across the face of goal. Charleston cleared but it fell to Andy Halliday, 25 yards out, and he jumped on the chance but blazed his shot over the cross bar.
On 13 minutes Battery threatened from an in swinging corner and their striker rose highest to nod towards Foderingham. The stopper fumbled the effort before smothering it and letting the ball roll out.
Gers had strong cries for a penalty when Josh Windass was felled on 17 minutes after latching onto an Andy Halliday through ball but it was waved away. The referee waved to play on and Tom Walsh whipped a nice ball in from the left which Oguchi Onyewu fired goalwards with his head – the offside flag went up.
With 20 minutes gone Kenny Miller had his first shot of the game, Halliday looping a ball over the top for him to run onto. The striker latched on but his strike was blocked and Martyn Waghorn couldn’t provide the touch to turn it home.
Four minutes later Windass looked on course for his first Gers goal after setting himself up beautifully with a sweet nutmeg of Charleston captain Shawn Ferguson. Halliday had threaded the forward in centrally and he let fly but the keeper got a hand to it.
Rangers poured forward and less than a minute has surpassed before Miller was sent a blazing header at Battery keeper Odisnel Cooper. Walsh cut a cute ball back from the by-line and the veteran striker planted his head on it.
Halliday was next to try his luck, dipping a shoulder to slip in from the left and sent a low shot just inches wide of the right post.
Waghorn looked to strike in the minute of his favourite number, 33, but dragged his daisy cutter just wide as the Light Blues searched for an opener.
Battery had Foderingham scrambling on his goal line after Maikel Chang crossed to Ricky Garbanzo and he headed towards the keeper’s near post. The effort bounced off the upright and thankfully into Foderingham’s hands.
The home side hit in close succession and flashed a ball across the face of goal moments later where their striker lay in wait at the far peg. He outstretched his leg but couldn’t get the required touch and Rangers composed themselves.
Despite a hatful of chances Rangers went in at the break level and Mark Warburton changed his team about after the break. Matt Gilks, Barrie McKay and Michael O’Halloran came on while Wilson had recovered from his nose injury to appear for the second-half.
Gilks had to be alert immediately as sub Patrick Okonkwo turned and shot inside the box with a minute of the restart. His effort was high though.
On 52 minutes Tavernier fed in Waghorn with a swinging ball who had come across from the near post to meet it. Last season’s 28 goal man leapt but nodded wide.
Then five minutes later Rangers eventually had their breakthrough as Josh Windass smashed one into the roof of the net. The pacey attacker had been threatening all game and pounced as he stormed into the box to get his left peg onto the end of an O’Halloran cross from the right.
Warburton’s men doubled their lead on 76 minutes through Harry Forrester. The midfielder collected a McKay ball to skip towards goal and drill a low shot beyond Alex Tambakis into the Battery net.
Charleston pegged one back nine minutes from time in fine fashion as sub Guerra hooked a ball just inside Gilks near post. It was the tightest of angles for the forward to convert from but he managed to sneak the ball home.
Ryan Hardie broke free in the final moments of the game to slip the defender but Tambakis got a hand to his low effort.
RANGERS: Foderingham (Gilks 45’), Tavernier (Ross McCrorie 69’), Onyewu (Wilson 45’), Wilson (Hill 12’ (Onyewu 69’)), Wallace (Walsh 60’, Halliday, Holt (Forrester 60’), Windass (Hardie 60’), Waghorn (Thompson 60’), Miller (O’Halloran 45’), Walsh (McKay 45’)
Goals: Windass 57’, Forrester 76’
CHARLESTON BATTERY: Cooper, Griffith, Mueller, Ferguson, Woodbine, Marini, Portillo, Hackshaw, Chang, Garbanzo, Cordoves
Subs not used: Tambakis, Beebe, Lasse, Adjetey, Gulledge, Prince, Guerra, Carleton, Tsonis, Okonkwo
Goals: Guerra 81’