TWO goals each from Rathfriland Rangers strikers Ally Wilson and Darren McGrath helped their side to a 5-2 away win over Carickfergus side Barn United on Saturday.
The Whites took all three points to climb to sixth position in NAFL 1A, continuing their good league form ahead of their Clarence Cup First Round tie against Forde FC this weekend.
Early on in the game at Haslett Park, Wilson sent a free-kick just over the bar and Barn’s Andrew Kane forced goalkeeper Kieran Maguire to make a sharp save.
Wilson struck on 25 minutes to give the Whites a lead, curling a shot in from the corner of the box for his first goal for Rathfriland since re-signing for the club.
On 38 minutes, Barn’s David Lakeham was dismissed for a poor challenge on Stevie Coulter and things went from bad to worse for the home side when Wilson won a penalty after being pushed in the box. McGrath stepped up and scored from the spot for the third time in three games.
Rathfriland made it 3-0 one minute later. McGrath rounded the keeper but couldn’t get a shot away and laid it off to Wilson who fired into the net. Barn pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time when Kane’s shot deflected off Omar Attisbaad.
In the second-half, Barn battled well despite being a man down and Kane struck the bar before they scored their second soon after. Kane and McKee exchanged passes on the right and McKee finished off an excellent move to reduce Rathfriland’s lead.
Any hopes that Barn could complete their comeback were extinguished when Rangers midfielder Johnny Gibson struck a low drive into the corner of the net from 20 yards to restore his side’s two-goal lead just at a time when it looked like they were vulnerable.
And the Whites killed their opponents off on 86 minutes. Maguire’s long kick up the field was latched on to by substitute Jason Gibson. He hit his shot straight at Barn keeper Brennan but the rebound came to McGrath who bent the ball into the net, giving his side a 5-2 win which was comfortable in the end.
RATHFRILAND RANGERS: Maguire, McComish, McCourt, Evans, Weir, Evans, Coulter, Gibson, Beck, Wilson, McGrath.
Subs: Cobb (McComish 46), Gibson (Wilson 77), Murray (Beck 87).