Enniskillen Town Reserves 4 Enniskillen Rangers Reserves 1 Enniskillen Town United won the Reihill Cup for a record 11th time in 31 years of this cup for Reserve teams following a decisive second half showing against local Enniskillen Rangers Reserves.
The game was pretty evenly poised at the break at a goal apiece with Jarno Glass cancelling out Ethan Beresford’s opener as Town shaded matters in the opening half hour before Rangers finished strongly.
Indeed, with the breeze at their back, Rangers would have fancied their chances in the second half but Town had other ideas and never looked back after Callum Jones headed home unmarked from a corner to make it 2-1 after which the experienced Gary Beckett added two goals to seal a merited 4-1 victory at the final whistle.
Town simply had the better mix of experience and youth which combined perfectly to win the cup.
Overall, Enniskillen Town Reserves manager Mark Connolly was delighted although somewhat disappointed with the first half performance but he felt that his side’s quality shone through in the end as they secured the victory.
“In the first half we were poor but that was how I expected it to go, especially with it being a cup final. You have to give Rangers credit, they worked hard, they didn’t let us play and our attackers got very little quality ball in the first half. However, we played well in the second half and our quality told in the end.
“I’m delighted for the players and I also want to thank Coa O’Dwyers for their co-operation with players on the night.
Connolly was able to call on an experienced spine to his side but he felt that it was also a good exercise in exposing a number of younger players to a bigger stage.
“It was good for the club to get silverware but it was also important from our point of view to give four or five younger players the chance to play in a final at Ferney Park and that will only help to bring them on,” he said.
The game took a while to settle with neither team threatening a real shot at goal as rangers battled hard and the Town probed, trying to get Beckett and Rory Connolly into the danger zone.
Midway through the half, Town took the lead when an excellent left footed Callum Jones free into the heart of the Rangers box was flicked home from close range by Ethan Beresford past Rangers’ keeper Nathan Noble to put Town ahead.
Indeed, they could have added to their lead when Gary Beckett controlled the ball on his chest before firing a superb volley just over the bar, showing a hint of his class from yesteryear.
At the other end, Lee Glass had a couple of sniffs at an opening but shot weakly with the first and then Damian Wardman was out smartly to intercept as he bore down on goal.
Lee’s brother Jarno was, however, to get Rangers back on parity when his shot from wide on the left flew into the top corner to make it 1-1.
Town were almost back in front immediately as Jones almost scored direct from a corner as his inswinging left footed effort crashed off the inside of the far post.
Level at 1-1 at the break, all was to play for in the second half, but it was Town who were to raise their game and take the cup.
Rory Connolly fired in a free from the left side and Jones rose unmarked to head home to make it 2-1 as the Town took control.
Not surprisingly it was former Derry City star Gary Beckett who was playing alongside his son Nathan in the team, who was to make seal the game.
First he fired wide after trying to latch onto a ball over the top but soon after he was to make no mistake as combined with Neil Love to find space on the right hand side of the box and fired low into the corner of the net.
With Ciaran Beacom in fine form at the heart of the Town defence, Rangers struggled to create chances and it was game over soon after.
Another good delivery from a Jones corner found Gary Beckett at the back post and he headed the ball into the corner of the net for 4-1 with 20 minutes to go.
Rangers never gave up Leigh Jones had a shot saved and William Armstrong fired a 25 yard shot just over the bar but it was to be Town’s cup as they deservedly won by a scoreline of 4-1 at the final whistle.