AMATEUR LEAGUE: Evans earns a big point for Rangers against title rivals

Daryl Evans struck late to secure a 3-3 draw for Rathfriland Rangers on Saturday. Pic: Rathfriland FC
Daryl Evans struck late to secure a 3-3 draw for Rathfriland Rangers on Saturday. Pic: Rathfriland FC

A late equaliser helped Rathfriland Rangers to complete an impressive comeback and take an all-important point from a 3-3 draw with title rivals Downpatrick.

The Whites had been two goals down at the break after goals by Peter Telford and Mark Holland but levelled through Ally Wilson and Jonathan Scannell.

That hard work looked like it had been undone when Holland headed in for Downpatrick on 88 minutes, but Daryl Evans struck in stoppage time, meaning the spoils were shared.

After a week without a game, the Whites returned to action without the crucial figures of keeper Shane Harrison and midfielder Ross Black - one injured, the other ill.

And their absence was certainly felt as midfield veteran Telford gave the home side an eighth-minute lead before Holland drilled a shot which replacement keeper Mark Gracey couldn’t save.

Whites winger Mark Teggart missed a glorious chance when he was one-on-one with Michael McKenna - with a more cool, calm head, he would have hit the net.

That forced Rathfriland boss Aaron Black to make a double change at half-time, introducing himself and James Costello to the play.

And the switches paid dividends as the Whites pulled a goal back on the hour mark.

The tricky Teggart worked his way along the left wing before delivering a cross, which Ally Wilson turned into the net.

And the leveller came 20 minutes later, as Costello found Scannell on the edge of the box and the midfielder’s strike skidded into the corner.

But the drama was not over there, and with moments to go, a free-kick was floated into the Rathfriland box, where the diminutive Holland rose unchallenged to nod the ball home for what looked to be the winning goal.

Having seen their comeback wiped out, the Whites’ heads could easily have dropped, but instead they set about trying to score once more.

And with just seconds remaining, a punt forward found Costello, who controlled the ball and laid it down for Evans to poke home.

Downpatrick players surrounded the referee to make angry claims for an offside, but they were waved away, and the final whistle was blown.

The result was an important one for the Whites, as it kept their opponents within reach at the top of the table.

Next up for Black’s side is a double-header against Belfast club Albert Foundry, with the tricky away fixture on Saturday.

But with his side galvanised after their sterling second-half showing, Black will be confident of coming away with the points.