RATHFRILAND made the short trip to Banbridge’s Cheney Park on Saturday past to play their second derby game in two weeks.
Following on from last weeks considerably average display the pressure was on to get back to winning ways and the swifts did not disappoint
Lining up against the Rangers for kick off it looked like an uphill task was ahead as the home side had no fewer than four first team squad players in their match day selection.
The Swifts were not to be deterred thoough and from the whistle they made their intentions clear by immediately putting the rangers under pressure.
The deadlock was broken early on when Johnston played a sweet diagonal 30 yard ball into the path of Heslip on the right hand side. He took a touch before firing across the keeper into the bottom corner to send the Rathfriland team and bench into raptures.
Banbridge were being restricted to long range efforts as the swifts defensive display was organised and well disciplined.
However when Curran was called into action he was equal to everything fired at him.
Rathfriland were handed a great chance to extend their lead before half time when confusion in the rangers backline allowed Heslip to nip in front of the keeper who inexplicably tripped Heslip handing the Swifts a penalty. Up stepped McComish however the keeper was equal to his effort with the same player firing against the post and wide.
Heslip then had a great chance to double the scoring however he fired over when it seemed easier not to miss. The half ended with the rangers beginning to threaten more frequently and with greater purpose.
The second half began with Rathfriland in determined mood and they continued to battle well. They got reward when the ever dangerous Joey Toal dispossessed the defender before running through and calmly dispatching his effort low into the corner of the net to double the lead.
Rangers kept their game up and continued to threaten and where handed a lifeline when former Rathfriland player Ryan Weir was dragged over in the box to win a penalty. Rangers first team star Neil Clydesdale stepped up and expertly fired low into the net giving Curran no chance.
They continued to threaten the swifts goal but the visitors held out for the remaining minutes to seal their opening league win adding to the two previous drawn games to remain unbeaten in three.
The Swifts effort and commitment levels were exemplary and the three points were thoroughly deserved.
Team: Curran, McComish, K.Megaw, Murray, Lawson, Johnston, A.Megaw (capt.), Gilmore, Hollingsworth, Heslip, Toal, subs, McConville, Faulkner