Ten man Scarva lose out against old rivals Ballyoran

As this latest league encounter between these two long established rivals entered its final ten minutes it remained delicately poised.

The hosts were trailing by a single goal but still harboured hopes of sneaking an equaliser and claiming a share of the spoils.

Then disaster struck for Scarva; a red card followed immediately by a sublime free kick that struck the back of the home side’s net to give Ballyoran a 3-1 lead.

The visitors from Portadown had scored a stunning early goal in Saturday’s match at a sunny Scarva Park but the home side produced some admirable passages of play and created enough chances to be going in level at half time.

They couldn’t capitalise on them, however, and after the interval the visitors extended their lead to 2-0.

Scarva’s response was swift. Within three minutes substitute Andrew Boyce had forced a corner. Greg Douglas’s delivery was exceptional and William Morrison rose powerfully and sent his towering header crashing into the back of the Ballyoran net.

At 2-1 Scarva gained fresh hope but when Ballyoran, by now with a man advantage, scored their third it was game over.

Rangers should take significant encouragement, particularly from a bright first half performance but Ballyoran were the better side in the second half.

Scarva didn’t play badly but it was telling how under-employed the Portadown keeper was in the second 45 minutes of the match, in stark contrast to Scarva keeper Mark Gracey, who was required to produce some crucial saves. He was equal to the task, with a string of outstanding saves when a goal seemed unpreventable.

Best for Scarva Rangers were William Morrison, who was commanding at centre half and Gary McCune, who passed cleverly and with composure in the centre of midfield.