ALL season Scarva Rangers have been taking steady but assured steps towards the Mid-Ulster Division Two title.
Over the past week those steps became monumental strides. Two vital victories, secured in the space of four days, mean Mo Brown’s team is on the cusp of lifting the club’s first league title since 1995.
Second placed Ballyoran are now six points behind Scarva and have only two games left. If they win both their remaining games the Portadown can draw level at the top of the table but Scarva’s goal difference is 15 better than Ballyoran’s.
The village club also have four games left to gain the single point that would remove any lingering doubts about the destination of the title.
Not that there were any doubts in the home dressing room on Saturday afternoon, as jubilant celebrations erupted following a barnstorming victory at Ballyoran’s expense at a rainswept Scarva Park.
The weather conditions were horrendous but the quality of the Scarva performance was exquisite. The local side underlined how richly they deserve to be crowned champions with this comprehensive rout of their closest rivals.
Within six minutes of the kick off they were already two goals ahead and they never slackened until the final whistle sounded.
Dean McCammon scored the opening goal of the increasingly sodden afternoon, meeting a Wes Baird cross and steering the ball underneath the goalkeeper.
Greg Douglas raced onto a long ball over the top of the visiting defence and unleashed a pinpoint shot that flashed low into the corner of the net to make it 2-0.
Douglas laid the foundations for his side’s third goal of the game, sweeping the ball nonchalantly out to Dean McCammon on the left and his cross was fired home from close range at the far post by the onrushing Glen Moffett.
Ritchie McGivern made an outstanding save when Ballyoran seemed certain to reduce the arrears to 3-1 and it took some top quality defending at the subsequent corner to protect the home side’s clean sheet.
There was still time in an incident packed first half for Kyle Jennett to jink past an opponent and send a swerving shot towards the top corner but the Ballyoran keeper reacted superbly to palm the ball away for a corner.
Scarva were certain they had scored from the resulting corner but the referee didn’t share their conviction that the ball had crossed the line and waved play on.
At the beginning of the second half Ritchie McGivern produced another excellent save and the ball was scrambled off the Rangers goal line from the corner that followed while Jennett sent another beautifully crafted shot bending just wide of the Ballyoran goal.
On the hour mark Scarva went 4-0 up. Neil Anderson’s perfectly judged pass dissected the visiting defence and Glen Moffatt skipped past the onrushing keeper before crossing for Dean McCammon to hammer home from close range.
Four minutes later McCammon was embarking on a fresh set of goal celebrations. Substitute William Morrison was the creator of the goal with some neat footwork inside the penalty area before picking out McCammon and he drilled the ball between the keeper and his near post.
With 14 minutes left McCammon capped an immense individual display with his fourth goal of the game, accelerating clear of the defence and keeping his composure to steer the ball into the corner of the goal.
Saturday’s triumph followed in the wake of a 2-0 victory over Portadown BBOB in midweek. Gregory Douglas gave his side the lead last Tuesday night at Kernan Park from the penalty spot after a foul on Stephen Hendron.
Having won the penalty that led to the game’s opening goal, Hendron was the scorer of his side’s second and final goal of the evening.
A Mark Baird cross was headed goalwards by Glenn Moffatt and the home keeper produced a save but could only push the ball into Hendron’s path and he finished decisively.