THE Swifts Reserves played host to a strong Tullyvallen team in what would be their toughest test of the season.
The home side were fired up from the first minute and the work rate was brilliant from the entire team, denying Tullyvallen time to settle into the game.
The home side’s efforts were rewarded on the 20 minute mark when great attacking play down the right hand side ended in spectacular fashion, a great cross was met by a Rooney like bicycle kick by Gary O’Reilly to give the Swifts Reserves the lead. Rathfriland had to deal with the long ball game being employed by the visitors for most of the first half, but the strong rear-guard of Jacksons and Scott were equal to any threat.
The midfield quintet of Rathfriland were dominating the battles and supporting the forward line brilliantly, Paul Hillen setting Gary O’Reilly free with a super through ball, but O’Reilly was denied his second by some great goal keeping. The half time whistle sounded with Rathfriland being the much stronger side.
The second half started in similar vain to the first, with Rathfriland pressing hard to find a second while limiting Tullyvallen to the long ball tactic.
Derek Curran stood up, literally, when called upon, saving with his feet to keep the lead. Ten minutes into the half Daryl O’Reilly took the ball out of defence and switched the play superbly to Ryan Hillen, his quick feet beat the right back and he lifted his head to cut the ball back to the edge of the area where Hynes strolled onto the pass and side-footed with pinpoint accuracy into the top corner.
With the second goal the Swifts Reserves grew in confidence and with it came some brilliant football, quick interchanging of passes in midfield launched attack after attack.
Rathfriland were unlucky to have a goal disallowed for offside when Gary O’Reilly fed Hillen who found the net from a tight angle only to have the celebration cut short. There was no repeat moments later when Hillen controlled well on the edge of the area and fired a strong shot into the top corner.
Gary O’Reilly got his second of the day ten minutes from time when he pressed a shell shocked centre half and nut megged the keeper on his way to celebrate.
Jordan Mark came off the bench looking to make an impact and struck strongly from 25 yards forcing a good save from the impressive ‘Vallen goalkeeper.
The only blot on an impressive performance was a goal conceded from a corner in injury time, Tullyvallen using their height dominance well and the ball fell kindly to the striker who converted from close range.
The Swifts Reserves continue to play an attacking brand of football and against stronger opposition the battling mentality was also there.
The dominance and control of the game from the startmeant that the three points were never in doubt. With another six pointer away to Banbridge AFC next week the same commitment and team spirit will be called upon, however right now the games just can’t come quick enough for the Swifts Reserves