Rathfriland Rangers ran out 4-0 winners against Abbey Villa in the Tennants Irish Cup Fourth round tie on Saturday in a one-sided game which now sees them face their biggest game in the club’s history.
Rathfriland were two goals to the good on ten minutes and a third before the break allowed them to comfortably progress to the fifth round where they will play the Danske Premiership league and Irish Cup double winners Crusaders at Seaview.
Rathfriland took the lead in the fifth minute when Ally Wilson’s second attempt from 10 yards on the rebound hit the back of the net to give the visitors the perfect start.
The lead was doubled on the 10 minute mark when Wilson added another from the penalty spot after James Costello was brought down in the box.
Abbey Villa did come into the game more in the last fifteen of the first period but never really threatened although Rangers’ Aaron Black made a world class block tackle to prevent a sure Villa goal.
Within a minute Rathfriland played their way to the other end of the pitch with Costello and Wilson linking up well to set up the industrious Marty Havern who timed his run and shot perfectly for a neat finish into the bottom corner under the advancing goalkeeper.
This made it 3 - 0 and confirmed the importance of Black’s block tackle 60 seconds earlier.
Before half time the opposition again had an attempt on goal before the break but it had a similar fate of any previous ones sailing over the bar.
On the restart Rathfriland continued where they left off and were pressed with immediate effect to earn themselves a Ross Black free kick which ended with Marty Havern volleying just over with a great connection.
At the other end Villa managed to hit the base of the post but confirmation that it was not going to be their day came when the striker amazingly blasted the rebound over the bar from such close range.
In the dying moments of the game Rathfriland made it 4 - 0 when after a great run down the right by Lockhart, the ball was centred for Marty Havern to stoop and head the ball home to finish off a productive afternoon for Clifford Sterritt and his team.
Manager Clifford Sterritt was pleased with his side’s display.
He said: “It was a hard-fought game on Saturday, we were 2-0 up within six minutes and that shook them.
“They had a big chance before half-time but Aaron Black made a great goal-saving tackle and then we went up the pitch to make it 3-0.
“It was the first time this season that we had a full squad this season so it’s great to have options there.
“On Saturday we had the likes of Lee Feeney, Tommy Lockhart and Nathan Baird on the bench. We have a solid 17 there and everybody is fighting for places”