UHLSPORT-RANGERS registered their first win of the campaign but were given a huge fright by unfancied Eastern in a shaky 3-2 victory at Mongkok Stadium yesterday. The reigning Senior Challenge Shield and FA Cup holders hung on by the skin of their teeth to open their account in the Hong Kong First Division - their first win in four games. Rangers are still sixth in the table on four points, one place above Eastern on three. Rangers had lost their Asian Cup Winners' Cup second-round, first-leg tie against Yokohama Flugels last Tuesday and fans were expecting a backlash against the champions, who have become one of the weaker teams in the senior league after their upheavals in the summer. But even though Eastern are no longer the force they once were, their opponents found it hard to get by them and the champions showed they still have plenty of fire left in them. Rangers led 3-0 by the 48th minute but Eastern stormed back with two second-half goals - and finished the stronger of the two. 'We played one bad game,' admitted Rangers' team manager Tony Siew. 'Our first win was the most difficult for us. But the bottom line is that we got the three points.' Former Happy Valley midfielder Sergei Volkov made his seasonal debut for Rangers having served a four-match ban imposed late last season. And he made a strong impression, scoring his team's second with a cracking left-footed drive in the 38th minute. Australian striker Alistair Edwards gave Rangers a 1-0 lead with a superb first-time volley after Eastern defender Richard Lant headed the ball into his path in the 22nd minute. After Volkov gave his team a 2-0 lead, midfielder Tam Siu-wai scored from the penalty spot three minutes into the second half with a highly-disputed penalty after Rangers' midfielder Leung Kam-fai was brought down by Eastern defender Poon Man-tik. But Eastern reduced arrears with a Loh Wai-chi goal two minutes later after the former South China winger broke through on the left side of the box and cheekily lobbed advancing 'keeper Peter Guthrie. Eastern midfielder Geoff Cooper then came agonisingly close after shaking off Tam in the box, his fierce shot curving away from the left-hand post. Dale Tempest also came close, pulling his shot wide in the 81st minute moments after Volkov had rifled wide. But the champions were rewarded with a second goal four minutes from time after Loh was fouled by former Eastern defender Philip Chan Chi-keung inside the box. Tempest converted the spot kick for his second goal of the season as Eastern threw themselves forward for the equaliser. Rangers held on grimly until the end, preserving their precious one-goal lead despite some anxious moments in the dying minutes and a last-minute run-in between Guthrie and Tempest which earned the former a yellow card. 'Eastern certainly gave us a fright. But we got the points and hopefully this will be the beginning of something good. Football can sometimes be very cruel,' said Siew. Eastern trudged off the pitch disappointed that they did not come away with a draw. The match proved costly as defender Tong Kin-ming and Brian MacNicol came off injured, Tong with a suspected dislocated shoulder and MacNicol aggravating his right ankle injured against Club earlier in the season. 'The boys played very well and we almost pinched a point,' said Eastern coach Raymond Ng Wai-man. 'We are giving the bigger sides a good run for their money. We will strengthen our defence by importing either a Brazilian or Colombian centre back.' TEAMS Eastern: Iain Hesford; Chan Kwok-fai, Wong Kwok-on, Poon Man-tik, Richard Lant, Keung Heung-fai (Michael Dunn 80); Geoff Cooper, Yeung Ching-kwong, Loh Wai-chi, Brian MacNicol (Tong King-ming 45); Dale Tempest. Rangers: Peter Guthrie; Yan Lik-kin, Wu Yiu-kwok, Philip Chan Chi-keung, Dimitri Kalkanov (Alan Reis 61); Leung Kam-fai (Hugo Gimenez 74), Lee Wai-man, Tam Siu-wai, Sergei Volkov (Cheung Kam-wa 74); Alistair Edwards, Marko Kraljevic.