By Simon Cheshire
Following the summer departure of Alex Smithies to newly promoted Premier League side Cardiff City, the question on many R fans lips was ‘Who’s going to be number 1 next season?’
The season started with Matt Ingram between the sticks, but due to an accumulation of factors Ingram was dropped and youth academy product Joe Lumley was given the nod. Since Lumley made his debut for Rangers in 2016 he has been on many loan spells, with most recently a stint in Blackpool, where he made 17 appearances for the Seasiders.
However, this season Lumley seems to have made the goalkeeper jersey his own, with Saturday’s performance against Derby County epitomising how far he has come in such a short space of time.
It was a hard-fought game, with both sides having chances to nick all three points, but the conditions were a goalkeeper’s nightmare, with the ball skidding and sliding all over the place, making the most routine save difficult.
Throughout the match, Lumley pulled off a string of saves, which kept Rangers level, but it was a moment in the 73rd minute, for which Saturday’s performance will be remembered. Harry Wilson, for Derby, had a wonderful long-range effort: which was dipping and swerving all over the place; but somehow Lumley managed to leap to his right to get a strong hand to the ball and push it away for a corner.
This was a save of which many top keepers would be proud, and it showed the confidence starting to ooze out of a forever improving Lumley - as he helped Rangers hang on to what was a respectable point.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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