Whites demolish fellow challengers

RATHFRILAND entertained fellow title contenders Sirocco at the Billy Neill Playing Fields and produced their best performance of the year to hammer Sirooco 8-2. 

This game was very much doubt right up to the whistle due to water on the pitch finally got the go ahead after excellent work by Stevie McBride with a brush.

The first 10 minutes was a keenly contested affair, with neither side really threatening.  After a slow start, Rathfriland, increase the tempo of their play and started to pressurise the home defence.

A large travelling support saw the locals play some of their best football of the year.  It came as no surprise when Rathfriland opened the scoring through the impressive Beck.  A neat interchange between Wilson and Weir saw the later release Beck who outpaced the home defence and coolly slot into the corner of the net. 

Moments later Rathfriland went two up when the home keeper failed to hold onto a shot by Wilson, only for Sexton to follow up and score his first in a white jersey. 

Rathfriland were dominant at this stage and against the run of play Sirocco got back into the game when an excellent corner saw Murray head into his own net. 

This was only a temporary set back as Allister soon made it 3-1, taking advantage of a miskick by the home keeper following along ball out of defence to scored into a empty net. 

Beck thought he had scored his second but the referee ruled it offside.   On the stroke of half time the travelling support then tasted a special goal from Wilson.  Wilson latched onto a bad defensive clearance and spotted the home keeper running back to goal.  On his weaker foot produced a exquisite lob from 30 yards beyond the helpless keeper.  Rathfriland started the second half in a similar style to the first. 

Rathfriland, marshalled by Larkin were solid in defence with Sexton and Beck providing an excellent outlet from the flanks. Coulter and Evans in the middle of the park provided the energy and support.

The hard working Beck soon scored his second with a thunderous drive into the corner of the next following a neat flick from the ever-impressive Wilson.  

Minutes later the same player rounded off a fine afternoon’s work with his third and Rathfriland’s sixth.  Harrison, who had been quiet for most of the afternoon, then made an excellent save when the Sirocco winger cut in from the right wing and unleash a shot that looked destined for the top corner.

Rathfriland then introduced Gubba and young Nathan Baird for his first run out in over a year, following a broken leg.  Gubba was only on a few minutes when a powerful shot by Wilson was parried into the path and he coolly slotted the ball home from 10 yards. 

McComish, who had worked tirelessly as a attacking right back in the second half, then scored Rathfriland eighth and last of the afternoon.  A quick corner by Sexton saw McComish cut in for the right and shoot into the corner of the net. 

To their credit Sirocco never gave up and scored a late consolation goal when their centre forward scored from close range after the locals failed to clear their lines.

Overall it was another fine display of attacking football by the locals and this form must continue for the rest of the season.  Next week Rathfriland travelled to Newforge to take on Bangor Rangers.