Saturday’s encounter with Ambassadors produced two halves of starkly contrasting fortunes for hosts Scarva Rangers.
Scarva found themselves trailing 5-0 when the half-time whistle sounded and had their keeper to thank for ensuring the deficit wasn’t even more emphatic after a nightmare start to the game.
As the home players gathered for the half-time team-talk in the middle of a Scarva Park pitch that was being lashed by gusting winds and driving rain, they can’t have been looking forward to a second half which threated to be even more difficult than the first.
They might have capitulated completely; a crushing defeat that ran into double figures was far from fanciful.
Instead, they rolled up their sleeves and against the odds prevented their Portadown opponents from adding to their tally and also grabbed a deserved goal of their own to at least provide some form of consolation.
Their play was characterised by admirable resilience. Greg Douglas’ introduction provided an added injection of quality and winning the second half was a just reward for the side’s collective effort in the second period.
Mark Baird whipped a dangerous cross into the heart of the Ambassadors penalty area but none of his team-mates could apply a finishing touch to get Scarva into the score-sheet.
Another superb delivery, this time from a Greg Douglas corner, resulted in the ball being scrambled off the Ambassadors goal -line.
Having scored five goals before the break, Ambassadors hadn’t lost their attacking prowess but they found the Scarva Rangers defence in stubborn mood.
David Morton was a commanding presence, repeatedly gaining the upper hand when the visitors pressed forward, and his centre half partner Derek Patton made a crucial goal-line clearance to prevent their net bulging in the second period.
The goal Scarva Rangers’ second half display merited arrived when Wes Baird crossed to the back post and Gareth Anderson skilfully guided the ball into the back of the net.
The best for Scarva Rangers on the day was Mark Baird.