Banbridge Rangers player-manager Lee Feeney rolled back the years on Saturday with two remarkable goals to guarantee his side three points against Ballymacash Rangers at Cheney Park.
Jonny Porter and Coly Cousins also netted as the Gers eased to a 4-0 victory.
The opener arrived as early as the 12th minute. A deep corner made its way to Colin Cunningham who controlled and rounded his marker before pulling back from the byline for Jonny Porter to smashed into the roof of the net.
Both teams had early chances cleared off the line as Ross Elliott saved the Banbridge bacon by denying his former team-mates whilst at the other end a Coly Cousins first time shot from a short corner was headed clear.
In the 25th minute, a Ballymacash clearance saw the ball ricochet to Cunningham unexpectedly near the half way line. Feeney called for his strike partner to lay the ball off into his path and then proceeded to chip the keeper from over 40 yards using the outside of his right boot.
Banbridge Rangers were playing some delightful football and should have added a third only for a great save by the away keeper from a Cunningham strike that looked destined for the top corner. Feeney was the architect for a glorious chance half an hour in, curling into the six yard box for Ross Elliott who was unmarked but sliced his volley wide.
Ballymacash were racking up a number of yellow cards and ended the half with six in the book. Their only chance of the half came from a long throw that was headed towards the far corner but Blevins was equal to the task with a superb punch under pressure.
On the stroke of half time came the next piece of genius from Feeney. A free kick over 25 yards out looked like it was going to be hit by a powerful drive from Coly Cousins but Feeney strode forward to curl the ball with his supposedly weaker left foot and the ball nestled in the top corner.
With the result almost done and dusted, the second half became a dour affair. Ballymacash could rarely afford to keep pressurising as they had so many players walking the proverbial tightrope and Rangers were content to dictate possession.
A fourth goal looked unlikely after Cunningham miscued when trying to find an open net from distance.
In the final few minutes however, Coly Cousins was played in behind the last defender by Stephen Teggart, who was running the show for Banbridge Rangers. Cousins used his electric pace to streak away from the defender before turning back to beat him and then rattled the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar to complete the rout.
This Saturday is Rangers’ biggest game of the season so far with a place in the Premier Cup final at stake. The Gers will travel to take on Valley Rangers at Bignian Park 4G with kick off at 2.15pm.
The club is long overdue a Cup final and has lost out in three semi-finals since the Alan Wilson Cup win in 2012.
RANGERS: Ivon Blevins, Ben Wilson (William Davidson 59), Ross Elliott, Nathan Baird, William Frazer (Matthew McKnight 74), Jonny Porter, Colin Cousins, Stephen Teggart, Jeff Brady, Lee Feeney (Andy Mallen 69), Colin Cunningham.