Holders Rangers come out on top in first round of Cup.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

RATHFRILAND began the defence of their Border Cup with a very tasty away affair against a resolute Rathfern side but fortunately managed to overcome their opposition to progress into the next round with a 3-2 victory.

Rathfern Rangers...2
Rathfriland Rangers...3

The Whites made a couple of changes to the lineup with Jack Graham and Johnny Black returning with manager Black and Johnny Roy making way. The game started off at a sluggish pace for both sides with the Whites again failing to come bombing out of the traps.

As like previous weeks they found themselves shell-shocked early on by conceding a sloppy goal to give the hosts the lead inside the first 10 minutes.

Rathfriland were struggling to settle to the aggressiveness of the game early on and fell victim of a few rash challenges, which saw both sets of players feature in the referee's notebook. The goal line of 1-0 could easily have become 2-0 were it not for the acrobatic saves from Harrison in the Rathfriland goal.

Rathfriland did manage to pull a goal back just before half-time when a cross into the box was glanced on by Aidan Sheeky into the path of in-form Johnboy Scannell who finished from close range.

Manager Black certainly wasn't impressed with his side's lacklustre performance in the first half and produced the infamous hairdryer treatment at half-time which seemed to gee his players up.

The second half started positively for the Whites with them going in front after 10 minutes of the second half. Scannell won a free kick on the edge of the box and Costello stepped up to curl his side into the lead for his 10th goal of the season.

The Whites were spurred on by this goal and quickly grabbed a third when Jack Graham made inroads up the left hand side and crossed for Costello to control and clinically finish from inside the box. With 25 minutes of the match remaining Scannell pulled up with an injury and manager Black quickly threw on Shea McConville for his second appearance of the season.

Indeed McConville nearly had an instant impact when he found himself unmarked from eight yards out but his maiden goal for the Whites didn't come as the keeper pulled off a fantastic save.

With 10 minutes remaining of the game a Rathfern player saw red for a scissors tackle on the impressive Evans in midfield but Rathfern did manage to pull a goal back before the final whistle to leave the final score at 3-2 to Rathfriland.

Man of the match: Michael McAlinden.

Team: Harrison, Sheeky, McAlinden, Clydesdale, J.Black, Coulter, Edgar, Evans, Graham, Scannell, Costello:

Subs: McConville, Bird, A.Black.


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