It’s four wins and a draw now out of the last five outings for Nortel after Saturday’s 6-3 Intermediate Cup victory over 1A Lisburn Rangers at Stanley Park.
It was Nortel’s first action since their last round victory over Rosario at the Factory Grounds three weeks ago. Manager Lee McCartney conceded: “We were that bit rusty, we could have been better and only played well in spells.
“The scoreline sounds like a romp but it wasn’t. With just 10 minutes to go, it was 5-3 and Lisburn on the attack. Another one then and it could have been uncomfortable enough before Craig Caughey’s goal really put it to bed. I was just relieved we got the result.”
It was far from comfortable early on; Hayden Murray pulling off a fine finger-tip save inside the opening seconds, only for Paul Kirk’s side to forge ahead on three minutes.
Nortel were tossed an unexpected lifeline on 15 minutes when a Davy Freyne effort, more cross than shot, crept in at the far post.
Now they did stamp their authority on the proceedings through two Jordan Clarke goals, only to relax their grip slightly with Lisburn’s second just before the break.
Clarke completed his hat-trick just after the changearound before Elliott McKimm added a fifth on the hour. But with Rangers pulling one back, there might have been some mileage left in this one until Clarke’s replacement Caughey ended the debate seven minutes from time.
Out though, go Larne Tech Old Boys, beaten by Newry City AFC at the Showgrounds.
Tech boss Johnny Hastings told the Times: “With all due respect to the players who came in from the Seconds, it was the day we really started to notice all the players we have missing - especially up against a side of that calibre.
“We were warned about their big striker Sean McMullan – but he scored a hat-trick against us. But we’ve bigger fish to fry – onwards and upwards!”
”It hardly helped the Tech’s cause either when Neil Webb was shown a straight red card for a mistimed challenge right on half-time, with Newry holding a slender one-goal lead.