RATHFRILAND Rangers hosted their first game at Iveagh Park in a number of weeks in the form of their Border Cup quarter final match against Premier League team Albert Foundry.
Other than an early spell of possession one would have been hard pushed to tell which team was from the top tier of the Amateur League and which was from Division 1B in this all action cup tie.
Foundry pushed hard in the early stages and twice brought saves out of Rathfriland goalkeeper Shane Harrison.
At the other end Rathfriland had two headers cleared off the line but it took to the 20th minute before a goal was claimed. Unfortunately for Rangers it came to Albert Foundry who went a goal ahead after a great cross and header at the back post into the roof of the net.
The equalizer for the home side came when Ally Wilson was upended in the box and Stevie Coulter done the necessary by cooly slotting the ball into the bottom corner to level at 1–1.
Rathfriland then got their proverbial tales up and offensively offered a lot more with another goal coming within five minutes when Decky Allister powerfully headed home after a cross into the box for a super goal to put the home side a goal ahead.
At this stage Rathfriland were the better side and actually could have went further ahead with Stevie Coulter and Ryan Evans going close.
On the 40 minute mark the home side did extend their lead when Paul Evans cross to the back post found Ally Beck all on his own to tap the ball into an empty net to make it 3–1.
Before the half time whistle there was more drama first of all when the Foundry `keeper pulled off a fantastic save to prevent a 4–1 scoreline but immediately after the visitors broke away and the number 10 was hauled down inside the box with the referee pointing to the spot and within seconds it was 3–2 when the Foundry striker beat Harrison with a firm low shot.
This cup tie got more lively as the game progressed and the second half was exciting for the biggest crowd of the season at Iveagh Park. There were chances at both ends with Stevie Coulter again going close for Rathfriland with Harrison again making a fine save for Rathfriland at the opposite end.
The Albert Foundry `keeper then pulled off a stunning save from Ally Wilson but in the other penalty box on the 70 minute mark Foundry scored a header to equalize at 3–3.
Rathfriland then edged in front when Ally Beck went on a great run down the left and crossed to the back post for Ally Wilson to nod powerfully home and send the Rangers contingent of supporters into raptures with one eye on a semi final spot.
The Foundry goalkeeper then pulled off another world class save from Stevie Coulter but with two minutes remaining Wilson powered home a great strike from inside the box to make it 5–3 and send Rathfriland into the semi final of the Border Cup for the first time in their history.
Overall an exciting cup tie for the supporters with the match going one way and then the other but Rathfriland proved that on their day they can be up there with the best of them.
TEAM: Shane Harrison, Ally Evans, Paul Evans, Connor Larkin, Decky Allister, Kevin Henry, Scott Ward, Ryan Evans, Stevie Coulter, Ally Wilson, Ally Beck. Subs: Johnny Jess, Micky Greene, Ian Weir.