RATHFRILAND Rangers made the short journey to Warrenpoint Town on Saturday to lock horns with the Championship club who have scaled new heights in local football in recent years.
This quarter final clash between represented a derby fixture in the Bob Radcliffe Cup but the game never quite lived up to the billing it got in the last number of days
Despite Rathfriland`s early possession it was the home side who took the lead when they broke up field leaving McKeown to slot home from close range for Warrenpoint.
The visitors continued to have good share of the possession and could have equalised but the referee blew for a free kick just as Ally Beck powerfully headed wide.
‘Point were always a threat but neither team really seemed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and take control.
Rangers then drew level on the 20 minute mark when a great run and shot by Ally Beck was saved by the Warrenpoint ‘keeper but the ball broke to Johnny Jess who turned and thumped the ball into the roof of the net to level the scores and this cup tie at 1–1.
The home side soon regained the lead when Warrenpoint broke away and McKeown scored at the near post to make it 2–1 – a goal that on hindsight was probably the turning point of the game.
Rathfriland had a penalty shout waved away and Ryan Evans had a shot charged down which looked destined for the net.
Before half time Warrenpoint grabbed a third goal when that man McKeown garbbed his hat trick from close range to leave the half time score at 3–1.
On the restart the Championship club turned the screw and took more control of the game with some good football with Johnston going close. Hat trick man McKeown then had to go off injured with Ashley Gregg entering the scene.
Ally Wilson And Johnny Jess had shots fired over the crossbar but the home side extended their lead when Gregg broke free to clinically fire home from the edge of the box with a well drilled shot with a fifth goal coming soon after when Johnston eventually got on the scoresheet to make it 5 – 1 after the ball spilt to him six yards out.
Kevin Henry and Ally Wilson both forced fingertip saves from distance with Mooney at the other end having a goal disallowed.
Wilson did eventually get on the scoring chart for Rathfriland after he thumped home from close range to leave the final score at 5 – 2 to Warrenpoint.
Overall this fixture never really got into full flow with the Championship side always looking on top and eventually running out winners reaching the semi finals of the Bob Radcliffe Cup.
TEAM: S Harrison, A Evans, P Evans, S Munn, G Waddell, K Henry, S Ward, R Evans, A Beck, A Wilson, J Jess. Subs: I Weir, M Greene, A Bell.