Enniskillen Rangers 3 Beragh Swifts 4 Sloppy defending proved costly for Enniskillen Rangers as they made their exit from the Mulhern Cup following Saturday’s 4-3 defeat to Beragh Swifts at the Ball Range.
Rangers went into the game on the back of securing their place in the Junior Cup semi-final the previous Saturday but any thought of an extended run in the Mulhern Cup were extinguished by the Tyrone outfit who punished Rangers mistakes to put their name in the hat for the next round.
It was a performance that angered ‘Gers boss Michael Kerr.
“We gave away four shocking goals on Saturday. Every goal that Beragh scored came from our mistakes and it was not good enough. They say that goals win games but mistakes cost you games and you cannot make the mistakes that we made and expect to win. This was a competition that we really wanted to have a run in and we have nobody to blame but ourselves for going out of it,” he said.
Rangers suffered an early blow when they lost Neil Coulter to an injury, the defender replaced by player-manager Kerr.
And it was the away side who were to draw first blood in the encounter.
A long ball caused a mix up in the Rangers defence and Jamie McKeown was on hand to slot home past Jerome Carleton in the Rangers goal.
The home side though were soon back on level terms as Ciaran Smith fed Danny Dunbar and he showed some tidy skills before arrowing a low drive from the edge of the box to back of the net to leave it 1-1 at the interval.
Five minutes into the second half though the visitors edged back in front from some slack Rangers marking.
A free kick into the box picked out an unmarked Chris Leathert who slotted home to make it 2-1.
And it got better again for the away side when they stretched their lead further in the 55th minute when a Craig Breen corner was headed into his own net by Darrin Simpson.
The home side though responded to this set back and moments later they were right back in contention as Kerr’s racking pass picked out Mark Cutler and he delivered a cracking cross to the front post which was headed in by Willie Burleigh.
Rangers pushed hard for an equaliser after this but they were undone by a comedy of errors at the back that resulted in Stephen Browne firing to the net to make it 4-2.
Rangers were not done yet though and they again cut the deficit as Kerr and Cutler combined and although Cutler saw his shot blocked after he had rounded the goalkeeper, the ball broke to Joe Doogan who tucked it home to set up a tense conclusion.
The home side also had a goal disallowed with Burleigh having been adjudged to have been offside but it looked as if they may send the game to extra time right at the finish.
Cutler fed Davy Crozier and he played the ball across the face of the goal but with Kerr about to tap home, it took the faintest of deflections of Burleigh which took it through Kerr’s legs and away to safety as Beragh held on for the win.
The full focus for Rangers now will be on that Junior Cup semi-final against Newry Celtic on Monday April 3.
“The only thing we have left to play for is the Junior Cup and it is all about preparing properly for that from now to then. We’ll be doing everything we can to try and win that game and get through to the final,” stated Kerr.