Gass blows up Castlecaulfield as Scarva edge a five goal thriller with a late winner

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Scarva Rangers made the long journey to Cookstown for the second week in a row on Saturday.

But there were starkly contrasting emotions on the homeward journeys.

The previous week there was only despondency after the village side slumped to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Donaghmore.

On Saturday though, they travelled home delighted to have recorded an impressive 3-2 victory over a Castlecaulfield side who sit third in Mid Ulster Division Two.

Scarva suffered the worst possible start and must have feared a repeat of the previous week’s defeat when they conceded in the opening minutes.

They responded well to the setback, Kyle Foster firing in a low shot that was saved by the Castlecaufield keeper.

Sam Boyd put his side back on level terms with a clinical finish and Rangers then took the lead when a Foster strike, aided by a deflection, flew past the helpless home keeper and into the back of the net.

Castlecaufield forced a series of corners that could easily have yielded an equaliser but Scarva’s slender advantage remained intact until the half time whistle.

Scarva made a purposeful start to the second half, Stephen Gass driving into the Castlecaufield penalty area and shooting from a narrow angle, with the keeper making the save close to the post.

Gass then skipped past a couple of players and played the ball to Alex Hammond, who unleashed a ferocious shot that the keeper did well to tip over the crossbar.

The visitors also had to defend resolutely, with Derek Patton and then Jason McClelland doing well to keep the hosts at bay.

A long range strike, aided by the gusting wind, brought an equaliser for Castlecaufield and Scarva once more had to defend determinedly to prevent the County Tyrone side retaking the lead, including an excellent Philip Magill tackle inside his area.

An incisive move involving Greg Douglas and Kyle Foster ended up with a Stephen Gass shot being saved.

Then, with the game apparently destined to end in deadlock, Scarva grabbed the winner. A quick free kick found Sam Boyd on the wing and he crossed for Stephen Gass to steer home from close range.

This was an excellent all round team display, with every player contributing to the victory and the performance of Alex Hammond worthy of special mention.