A Carl Murray winner just three minutes from time gave Rathfern a much-needed victory over Ballywalter, writes Alan Hall.
Ballywalter had clawed back a two-goal deficit against a Rangers side who had to play over an hour with just 10 men, following the dismissal of Ronnie Hamilton for his ‘save’ on the goal line.
As UUJ discovered the previous week, Ballywalter have narrowed Davidson Park due to a drainage problem, though, to be fair, it does mean they are at least getting matches played.
Rathfern boss Bill Campbell classed this one as a six-pointer – one that Rangers needed to win to prevent them being sucked into the battle at the wrong end of Division 1B.
Rangers, remember, had lost four league games on the spin, but they got off to a flyer with two goals from the on form David Moore.
Ballywalter would have pegged one back but for Hamilton’s ‘save’, though the real netminder, Blain Sinclair did equally well in keeping out the resultant penalty.
Rec did claw one back before the break and seemed to have secured a point with an 85th-minute equaliser, only for the 10 men to bounce back with that Murray strike which squirmed underneath the keeper just two minutes later.
Meanwhile, 18th Newtownabbey have now won four of their last five in 1C, after a 5-2 victory at Saintfield, thanks to a Mark Marshall hat-trick and one a piece from Mark Conn and Ross Miskimmin.
Eighteenth were five up before a stirring strike and a generous penalty made the scoreline a little more respectable.
However, spare a thought for poor Newington Rangers, who were hit for double figures for the third match in a row, losing 13-0 at Bangor Swifts.
In the last five league matches, the sorry statistics show just one goal for and 56 against!