Enniskillen Rangers 5 Kelvin OB 1.

Defending champions Enniskillen Rangers eased into round two of the Irish Junior after overcoming a stubborn Belfast outfit Kelvin OB at the Ball Range on Saturday.

Rangers dominated the opening half but missed a number of chances for a variety of reasons before taking the lead. A rare break by Kelvin won them a penalty which they converted to equalise before the break but two goals in as many minutes after the interval sealed the game for Rangers with Andy Johnston staking his claim for starting berth with a hat-trick in the absence of top scorer Jason Keenan.

All in all, player manager Michael Kerr, who was among the ‘Gers top performers on the day, was delighted to be in the hat for the next round.

“It was the first game back after winning the trophy last season, so it was good to win the game and get through,” explained Kerr.

He added: “It was as comfortable as the scoreline would suggest, we had quite a few chances in the first half and could have scored some more goals. They did not have many chances and we improved in the second half in terms of taking our opportunities.”

So what was the manager’s message at the interval with his team only drawing a game they had dominated.

“To be honest, it was more of the same. I asked the boys to up their energy 20 or 30 per cent and I felt Kelvin would tire. The message also was to keep patient and I felt the goals would come. At the same time, we did not want it dragging into the final 15 minutes all square so it was pleasing when we put the game to bed with two in as many minutes.”

With top scorer Jason Keenan missing, Kerr was delighted to see Andy Johnston hit a hat-trick.

“Andy has been patient and shown a great attitude not only in the game on Saturday but also in training. He has thrown down a marker and is pushing for a start in our next game which is what you want, plenty of competition for places,” said Kerr.

Rangers started really well with much of their attacking play starting from the promptings of Kerr at left back. Indeed, he produced the first save of the day when his low stinging left foot shot from 30 yards was heading for the bottom corner only for Kelvin keeper Jonathan McClelland to save superbly.

The visiting keeper was called into action again when James Turley and Stephen Chambers combined to play in Mark Cutler but McClelland was up to the task to deny the ‘Gers.

A Kerr free from the right found William Burleigh who headed back across goal but the inrushing Darrin Simpson could not apply the finishing touch.

It was a bit like that for Rangers for the next 20 minutes of the game as chance after chance went begging.

Johnston was just wide with two efforts while Burleigh had another shot saved and then could not get on the end of a Cutler shot across the keeper that flew just wide.

At the other end, the Kelvin attacks were fairly sporadic although Michael Surgeon was trying hard and headed one effort wide of Jerome Carleton’s goal from a well delivered free kick.

Johnston then headed wide while for a third time a late arriving Rangers forward could not get on the end of a cross to the back post, this time the ball eluded Cutler after Burleigh had crossed.

McClelland then saved from Cutler again and just as it looked as if it was going to be one of those days, Rangers finally broke the deadlock, seven minutes before the break.

Kerr and Burleigh combined with the latter setting up Johnston who made no mistake this time firing home high into the roof of the net from close range.

If this was the signal for the floodgates to open, Kelvin had other ideas and were soon level before the interval.

A good diagonal ball from William McAllister played in Surgeon and as he went around Carleton, he went down with referee Neil Sinton pointing to the spot.

Surgeon got up and slotted home to leave it 1-1 at the break.

The second half started in a similar vein as Cutler shot wide after a one two with Burleigh and then Simpson hit the post with a left footed shot that had the keeper beaten.

The pressure eventually told as Stephen Chambers played in a defence splitting pass to Burleigh who kept his nerve to coolly slot through the keeper’s legs to make it 2-1 in the 53rd minute.

Two minutes later it was 3-1, Kerr’s quick free played in Simpson who pulled the ball back for Neil Coulter who bundled the home from close range.

At the other end, Craig Martin headed wide with a decent chance before Stephen Chambers pulled a shot wide of the post from 10 yards but it was 4-1 soon after.

Johnston superbly blocked a clearance and burst into the box before rounding McClelland and slotting home for a fine finish.

The lively Surgeon then hit a post for Kelvin before Rangers completed the scoring as Richard Johnston played in Johnston for his hat-trick and a final scoreline of 5-1 to Rangers.