Enniskillen Rangers produced some scintillating attacking football as they overwhelmed Lurgan side Hill Street to win this year’s Irish FA Junior Cup.
The Fermanagh & Western side simply blew their Mid-Ulster League opponents away in the first half at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park this afternoon. They were 4-0 up at half-time and eventually ran out 5-1 winners.
The first decent chance actually fell to Hill Street’s Matthew Reynolds but his shot from just outside the area was deflected over the bar for a corner. From the subsequent corner Hill Street’s Adam Carson volleyed into the side netting.
On eight minutes Enniskillen Rangers winger Mark Cutler got on the end of a neat William Burleigh flick-on but he shot over the top, while just a minute later Rangers’ Stuart Rainey ran from deep to trouble the Hill Street defence, however his strike lacked power and drifted wide.
Rangers continued to press and were rewarded in the 18th minute. A superb long ball from left-back Matthew Chambers found captain William Burleigh unmarked just inside the box and he evaded his marker before coolly tucking the ball under Hill Street keeper Aaron Kidd to make it 1-0 to the Fermanagh side.
Five minutes later Rangers were two-up. Player-manager Michael Kerr picked out Rainey with an excellent long range pass. Rainey collected the ball just outside the box and then turned inside his marker before slamming the ball into the bottom corner of the net from 10 yards.
Rangers preserved their two-goal cushion thanks to a great stop from keeper Jerome Carleton from a Kyle Cousins strike before they extended their lead further on 29 minutes. Andrew Johnston held the ball up well before squaring it to Rainey who smashed it past the Hill Street keeper from 20 yards.
On the stroke of half-time it was 4-0 to Rangers. Right-back David Crozier bombed forward and played a neat one-two with Cutler before playing in man of the match Burleigh and the captain neatly tucked the ball home from close range with a deft flick.
After the break Rangers continued to push forward. Cutler produced a great run but his shot failed to test Kidd in the Hill Street nets.
In the 59th minute the Lurgan side pulled one back thanks to an excellent long range strike from Steven Lawson. And not long after Hill Street’s Ian Penny struck a post with a close range effort.
Rangers suffered a blow when the energetic Rainey was carried off on 70 minutes but his replacement, Darrin Simpson, was soon in the thick of the action, forcing a fingertip save with a drive from just inside the area.
The Fermanagh side scored their fifth and final goal on 79 minutes, Johnston racing clear of a static Hill Street defence before neatly slotting the ball past the keeper.
Enniskillen Rangers: Jerome Carleton, David Crozier, Matthew Chambers, Joseph Doogan, Neil Coulter, Michael Kerr, Mark Cutler, William Burleigh, Andrew Johnston, Ciaran Smith, Stuart Rainey. Subs: (used) Darrin Simpson, James Turley, Christopher Currie; (not used) Michael Simpson, Patrick Beresford.
Hill Street FC: Aaron Kidd, Darren Kennedy, Andrew Haggan, Peter Wright, Adam Carson, David Hawthorne, Andrew King, Mathew Reynolds, Ian Penny, Steven Lawson, Kyle Cousins. Subs: (used) Samuel Wright, Stephen White; (not used) Andrew Houston, Jamie Hall, Alex Glenn.