There will be a lot of scratching of heads this week at Cheney Park after Rangers exited the Irish Cup last Saturday.
A tough game lay in store against Amateur League side Derriaghy CC but with the Gers leading 4-3 after the 30 minutes of extra time had been played, the away team snatched an unlikely equaliser and went on to win on penalties.
Five goals were netted within a frenetic opening 20 minutes. Derriaghy winger William Elliott opened the scoring with a well worked corner routine but the response was instantaneous. Colin Cunningham picked up a pass from Ben Wilson from the restart and executed a curling effort into the far bottom corner after checking inside his marker.
Cunningham was on the mark again when he intercepted a blind pass back to the Derriaghy keeper and finished with ease. A hat-trick was almost completed for Cunningham in the 19th minute but his header came back off the post.
Jordan Baker levelled at 2-2, scoring a penalty and he doubled his tally soon after with a powerful header.
Just 90 seconds into the second half, the game swung in Rangers’ favour as Derriaghy winger Stuart Clarke was given a second yellow. Derriaghy immediately dropped deep allowing Rangers plenty of possession and Cunningham rattled the crossbar with a superb shot before the rebound was saved by Marc Robinson.
The equaliser arrived in the 70th minute through the most unlikeliest of sources as Derriaghy defender Andrew Dickson hammered the ball into his own net. A phenomenal double save from Robinson denied Cunningham a potential winner before Chris Chambers pulled off a top drawer stop to deny Baker a hat-trick at the other end.
In the 110th minute, Dean Spence linked up with a Cunningham through ball and dispatched at the near post to put the Gers ahead. They were then reduced to ten men with Stephen Teggart taking concussion after a clash of heads.
In stoppage time, Derriaghy made a late surge count by scoring through an own goal just seconds after the Gers felt Cunningham was wrongly pulled back for offside. The penalty shootout was going to plan for Rangers as Chambers pulled off the first save but a double stop from Marc Robinson sealed an early exit for the Banbridge side.