RATHFRILAND U15s travelled the short distance to Cheney Park on Saturday past to take on Banbridge Rangers in a friendly match.
Banbridge don’t yet play any league football but plan to enter the Mid Ulster League next season and were sure to provide a stern test to the locals who found themselves without a league fixture this week.
The match started with Rathfriland bossing the opening exchanges and dealing comfortably with any attacks Banbridge had to offer.
The ever reliable Burns was having another good game and linked up well with Patterson with the latter creating a good early chance for Bailie but the home keeper was alert enough to thwart the danger.
Rathfriland had numerous clear cut chances in the first half but did not threaten the goal and with every missed chance the pressure increased on the young lads.
The half ended at 0-0 with the Rathfriland keeper Moffett’s total involvement being only to pick up a few loose through passes.
The second half began with the Rathfriland lads lowering their standards further and the Banbridge team sensed this and began to dictate the play at times.
Rathfriland still threatened and again had chances to take the lead with Mallon missing what looked an easy chance when through on the keeper he overran the ball.
Disaster struck for Rathfriland when a ball from the left caused a bit of concern and when the Rathfriland defender tried to dribble past a striker he was dispossesed and the Banbridge man ran through to slot past Moffett giving him no chance.
To be fair to the Banbridge lads they deserved a goal at this stage for their efforts.
This goal actually shook Rathfriland and they started frantically trying to get the leveller and the chance arrived when Bailie showed a cool head and slotted past the keeper after good work by Byrne and Mallon.
Rathfriland still had chances to win it but squandered each one a the game played out to a draw.
The lads will need to raise their game for the visit of second placed Seagoe next Saturday morning to Iveagh park.
Team: Moffett, Baird, Ryan Clydesdale, Ben Clydesdale, Burns, Patterson, Weir, Pollock, Byrne, Mallon, Bailie, Murray, McAvoy.