NFC Kesh 0

Enniskillen Rangers 2

Enniskillen Rangers moved back to the top of the Mercer League table with a 2-0 victory over last season’s title rivals Kesh on Saturday

Second half goals from James Turley and Mark Cutler secured the win and player-manager Michael Kerr believed it was a deserved win for the reigning champions.

“Going down to Kesh isn’t easy but we put in a good performance at a good high intensity,” said the Rangers boss.

“We brought a physicality and a bit of bite because I thought we had lost some of that recently. It was terrible conditions but it was one of those days where you had to try to adapt to the weather and try to put in a good performance, which we did.

“At 0-0 Kesh had a chance and if that had gone in it could have been slightly different, but if we had taken our chances we would have been out of sight.

“We had four headers off the line, missed a penalty, and missed an open goal. We hit the bar in the last few minutes and their keeper got man of the match, which tells its own story.

“I was delighted to get the win and go into the break with three points. We had a couple of draws recently and we are always disappointed when we drop points, but we still haven’t been beaten since the start of the season.

“We are on top at Christmas and that is where you would want to be. Yes, there are a few teams with games in hand but we will just keep worrying about ourselves.”

For the Kesh manager, it was the sending off of Clint Thompson an hour into the game that proved to be the pivotal moment of the match.

“I thought the sending off changed the game,” said Nicky Noble.

“I thought it was an even first half. They started off better for the first ten minutes but we got to grips with them and we were the stronger team going in to half time.

“Then we had a man sent off and you can’t play against them with ten men. If we had kept eleven players on the pitch we might have deserved a point. It’s hard enough chasing after them with eleven players, never mind ten.

“I wasn’t disappointed by the boy’s performance. I thought they fought right to the last minute. We will not play a team like Rangers every week, and if we were playing anybody else on Saturday we would have beaten them.”

Rangers started brightly in terrible conditions and James Turley had a great opportunity to notch an early goal when he was through on the goalkeeper, but he was forced wide and on his wrong foot his shot only found the side netting.

Turley then won a penalty for the away side, but Jason Keenan’s spot kick was saved.

For Kesh Josh Fleck was denied by a well-timed tackle, and Mark Jones than had a chance but fired wide of the post.

Ranger’s player manager Michael Kerr was making his return to the starting line up from injury and he almost scored with a header but it was cleared from off the line as the game reached the half way mark goalless.

In the second half Rangers’ earned a succession of corners, and they reaped the rewards when Kerr cut the ball back for Turley on the penalty spot. His initial shot was blocked, but he ran on to the rebound and fired through the crowd to open the scoring.

Kesh were trying to press for an equaliser, but before they could get any momentum they were reduced to ten when Clint Thompson received a straight red card for a mistimed challenge.

This allowed Rangers to dominate the rest of the match, with Mark Cutler heading in after a flowing team move to seal the win.

Ciaran Smith almost added a third in the dying moments with a long range effort coming back off the crossbar, but Rangers’ held on comfortably to return to the top of the league.