Promotion is going to be a tall order now for Rathfern Rangers after defeat in a second successive ‘six-pointer’, edged out 1-0 by 1st Bangor Old Boys at the Diamond having lost at leaders Newcastle the week before.
Bill Campbell’s side are now 19 points behind Newcastle in Division 1B, with two matches in hand, while Saturday’s visitors are four points adrift with seven fewer matches played. And also throw into the mix, second-placed East Belfast, five clear of Rathfern, with four games in hand.
Rangers manager Bill Campbell said: “1st Bangor have a lot of quality; they had more possession but we had the two best chances. Gary Orr hit the post and then David Moore screwed one just past the post after rounding the defender, with the keeper stranded.
“It was always going to be a case of whoever took what little chances they had. I don’t think either keeper had to make a save all match, both defences were so much on top.”
Instead it was 1st Bangor who took their one chance 15 minutes from time – the centre-forward doing the needful from a back post corner.
However, it wasn’t without a tinge of controversy, as Campbell explained: “Everyone at the Diamond knew it was a throw-in, except the referee, who gave a corner. It was disappointing in that we were still aggrieved about the corner and we weren’t prepared right, we should have been more professional about it and made sure we were switched on.
“1st Bangor got away with a one-nil. You could see their relief when the final whistle went - but the character we showed, especially in the second half, we deserved something from the game. It was a match that could have gone either way; one chance was always going to win it.”
It was the first time this season that Rathfern Rangers have failed to score.
n Division 1A: UUJ are back in the dropzone after a 4-2 defeat at home to Dundonald.
The students’ manager, Shane McCullough, said: “We just didn’t get the ball down and pass it around the way we can. Maybe it would have been different had what I thought were two good goals, from the Magennis brothers, Dee and Jonny, not been disallowed.
“But we played too much long ball and lost our shape. I’ve no objections; they were the better team on the day though it’s getting fairly urgent now that we get points on the board.”
UUJ’s marksmen were Kevin O’Neill and recent recruit Jason Devlin.