Another Cup win.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

WITH a welcome break for the Whites last weekend, it was back to cup action this week in the shape of the Intermediate Cup.

Rathfriland Rangers...3
Strabane Athletic...2.

The original fixture would have seen Rathfriland travel to their opponents but due to a fixture change the tie was played at Iveagh Park.

Rathfriland named an unchanged lineup from the previous game against Dromara and started this game brightly and zipped the ball about on the lively surf ace.

First to threaten on the Strabane goal was Stevie Coulter when he shot from inside the box but the visiting keeper made the save. In a move against the run of play the visiting number ten 'had a pop' from all of 25 yards which slipped under Harrison's grip and squirmed into the net to give the visitors the lead.

Without panicking the Whites kept playing their brand of attacking football and agonisingly came close to the equaliser when James Costello's free kick came off the bar and back into play.

The Whites did get the equaliser soon after though when Ross Black sent Costello chasing down the left and he cut inside and squared for Coulter to sidefoot home past the keeper. That goal was quickly followed by another for the Whites when Jack Graham fed the ball into Costello and continued his run, Costello backheeled the ball to him inside the box and Graham drove a fierce shot under the keeper and into the net.

With Rathfriland's tails up they had additional chances to increase the lead, including a shot from Costello inside the box which the keeper well saved. Strabane got an equaliser before half-time when their energetic midfield moved the ball about well before sending their left winger into the box, he sold A.Black with a lovely dummy before finishing past Harrison.

Rathfriland got their composure back at half time and stared the second half like a team on a mission to progress to the next round of the cup. Chances were carved open for Coulter and Costello but neither could get the final touch when well placed. Rathfriland's back three were defiant in their quest to keep the opposition out and Harrison's recovered from that first goal with a string of confident catches and showed good handling in wet conditions.

The game went until 70 minutes before another goal came along. Jack Graham broke up the left and swung a delicious cross into the area with Coulter unmarked at the back post he headed down into the net.

Rathfriland then introduced Teggart and McConville in place of Edgar and Roy and both substitutes put in sterling performances.

Teggart was playing an unusual role in midfield but showed touches of brilliance when in possession. Rathfriland had one more big chance before the end when Costello broke free in the left channel and when racing towards goal played the ball to young Shea McConville whose shot was magnificently saved by the Strabane keeper.

The final whistle came with Rathfriland happy to see off a young impressive Strabane side.

Team: Harrison, Sheeky, A.Black, Mc-Alinden, Roy, R.Black, Edgar, Evans, Graham, Coulter and Costello.


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