THE NORTHERN IRELAND CIVIL SERVICE (NICS) scored twice in the final seven minutes to take a point from the Royal & Prior this afternoon.
Raphoe 2-2 Northern Ireland Civil Service
After a scoreless first half in the Premier Division, when they got their full of it, hosts Raphoe looked to be on their way to victory when Luke Witherow and George Patterson struck goals to establish a 2-0 lead.
However, the visitors pulled on back on 63 minutes when Peter Johnston tucked home and then levelled with just two minutes left through Stephen Armstrong to take a point.
It was a frustrating afternoon for the hosts, who lined out without the injured Alexander Tinney, Matthew Lecky and Alan Meehan, then lost skipper Ian McGonigle to a hamstring injury before the break.
Despite that, at half-time the Raphoe management team of Rodney Bates would’ve been content enough.
The opening 10 minutes were played in torrential rain with gusting winds and both teams struggling to settle into the contest.
Although Raphoe went close through 10’s blistering effort, which was well saved by goalkeeper Sam Brown and McGonigle shot inches wide, soon NICS were creating chances.
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As the first half drew to a close, they had pressed Raphoe in and Ross Anderson twice drew decent stops from Johnny Rankin.
Raphoe came out with more emphasis in the second half but were made fight for every loose ball.
After a poor NICS clearance though, Patterson set up Witherow on 47 minutes and he made no mistake to drill the opening goal.
There was more freedom from Raphoe and on 52 minutes they doubled their advantage when Patterson a ball from Alan Lyttle broke his way before an instinctive finish.
When it seemed as though the monkey was finally off their back, Johnston slotted home at the back post for NICS and suddenly there was nervous energy again for Raphoe.
Witherow broke away and had a chance to make the game safe with a third but Brown stood up.
Then, in the 68th minute, with NICS piling men forward, Armstrong swiveled and shot past Rankin for a share of the spoils.
Raphoe: Johnny Rankin, Simon Goudie, Willian Kilpatrick, Ben Wallace, Ian McGonigle, Kit Regan, Keith Meehan, George Patterson, Luke Witherow, Alan Lyttle, Vincent Devenney, Stephen Cleverly, Evan Lyttle, William Wauchope, Adrian Crumley.
Northern Ireland Civil Service: Sam Brown, Thomas Priestly, Stephen Symmington, David Bradley, Guy Harrison, Ross Anderson, David Whittington, James Thompson, Peter Johnston, Conor Gilmer, Stephen Armstrong, Matthew Willis.Tags: