Costello adds to hat-tricks and goal tally in win over Village.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Costello adds to hat-tricks and goal tally in win over Village. thumbnail Rathfriland Rangers lined out in their new black away kit for their Border Cupclash with Dromara Village.

HOTSHOT James Costello took his remarkable scoring run to a 10th game in a row, as Rathfriland Rangers marched on in their defence of the Border Regiment Cup with victory over Dromara Village.

Dromara Village...3
Rathfriland Rangers...6

His third hat-trick of the season - taking his goal tally to 18 overall - secured the Whites' place in the quarter finals of the competition in what was a thrilling derby clash.

Rathfriland and their supporters made the short trip through the Dromara Hills to the Bell's Bridge ground on Saturday, expecting a tough encounter against Gerard McMahon's young guns.

And the Rangers were almost caught out right from the off, with an inswinging cross just evading the Villagers' frontman.

Perhaps that gave them a shake and, lining out in their new black away kit, they started to play with the style to match their sharp shirts.

Firstly, a Costello volley went narrowly wide after a goalmouth scramble.

But he netted his next effort, heading in a fierce Ross Black free-kick to give his side an early advantage and take his goalscoring run of games into double figures.

Soon after, Rathfriland doubled their lead, again through Costello.

Stevie Coulter challenged for the ball inside the Villagers' box and it broke to the frontman, who coolly rounded the 'keeper to finish.

The visitors' back three of Aidan Sheekey, manager Aaron Black and Michael McAlinden easily dealt with all the Villagers had to offer, and the lead soon became equally as comfortable.

With 10 minutes to go until the break, Costello burst away from the home side's defence and cut the ball back to Jonny Roy, who fired home from inside the box.

And that wasn't the end of the first-half goals - Rangers added a fourth when Coulter headed in after the 'keeper kept out another effort by Costello.

Surely the second period would underwhelm after such an action- packed first 45?

Well, it somehow managed to eclipse it, with the balls hitting the net a further five times! With Rathfriland cruising, they took their foot off the pedal and that allowed Dromara to find a lifeline in the tie, with the striker ignoring offside appeals to finish the chance well.

One goal for the Villagers was followed by another - the winger broke into the box and had his strike saved but a teammate slid in to knock home the rebound.

Fresh legs were called for from the Rathfriland bench, with Ryan Clydesdale, Shea McConville and Mark Teggart replacing Aaron Black, Daryl Evans and Coulter.

And Teggart made an immediate impact, powerfully heading home a Costello cross at the back post after the big striker dummied a defender before delivering.

But Dromara reduced the deficit again, with the striker capitalising on a defensive mistake to pace through and score.

But the best goal was saved until the last - a hammer of a strike from the man Costello.

Rangers 'keeper Shane Harrison punted the ball long for Costello to race on to before volleying it left-footed high into the net, a stunning way to clinch his hat-trick.

His white-hot form has been key to Rathfriland's success so far this season and he will surely soon start to fancy the challenge of breaking Ally Wilson's all-time record of 53 goals in a season.

Team: Shane Harrison, Aaron Black, Michael McAlinden, Aidan Sheekey, Jonny Roy, Ross Black, Graeme Edgar, Daryl Evans, Mark Teggart, Stevie Coulter, James Costello.

Subs: Ryan Clydesdale, Shea McConville, Mark Teggart.


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