South made the long trip to Donegal to face a team which in recent times have had the upper hand over the Lisburn side.
Despite beating Raphoe to the Senior 1 title last year, South lost all four league and cup encounters against their Donegal rivals.
With Raphoe missing two of their key players through injury and South back to full strength following the return of captain Lee Marshall and Chris Redpath, they were confident of turning the form table around in this fixture.
South began the game in control, enjoying lots of possession and showing good attacking threat.
They won their first penalty corner following a mazy run down the left by Chris Henry. The resulting Adam Glass drag flick agonisingly found the post before the ball was cleared to safety by the home team.
Twenty-five minutes in and against the run of play, Raphoe won their first short corner of the game. The ball was switched left and slapped low towards Huthinson’s net, who was quick to hit the ground and the block the ball.
However, the South defence switched off and failed to clear his pads and Raphoe’s Regan was on hand to easily lift the ball over the stranded Hutchinson to make it 1-0 to the hosts.
South’s persistent build up play eventually paid off in the 50th minute, when Chris Redpath attempt from South’s 5th short corner of the game was blocked by the onrushing defender before Paul Maguire stepped up to fire a rasping reverse into the back of the net.
The game turned into a midfield battle and Raphoe began pressing high up the pitch, which unsettled South’s rhythm and tempo.
This cagy period of the game saw both Raphoe’s Meehan and South’s Getty binned for rash tackles. Both cards seemed to have a negative effect on South’s passing game and Raphoe were now the team pressing for a late winner.
With five minutes left on the clock, that is exactly what they got. A wayward pass from the back was intercepted deep in South’s territory.
The ball was eventually switched to Lyttle who had the easiest of finishes to give the home side a late advantage.
As South threw caution to the wind to find an equalizer in the remaining minutes, a Raphoe counter attack again found Lyttle in acres of space at the top of the circle and he made no mistake in firing the ball past Hutchinson to put the game to bed.
South will be disappointed that despite spells of dominance and promising play, again basic mistakes has cost them their first points in their maiden Premier League campaign.
Next week South host another of their fellow promotees, North Down, which provides an ideal opportunity to kick start their season into gear.
South Antrim 2nds 3 Kilkeel 2nds 2
Saturday saw the start of the League Campaign for South Antrim’s 2nd XI.
After a loss the previous week to Newry in the cup, South were looking to bounce back with both a better performance and hopefully 3 points against Kilkeel 2nds.
The team fell behind early in the first half through a long Kilkeel pass. However, South quickly found their feet and got back into the game with a goal from Neil Wilson after some lovely play from Nathan Alister on the wing.
The equalizing goal seemed to settle South Antrim as they began to play more freely.
The second goal came in the form of a slick short corner routine which was neatly finished off by Mark Conn at the back post. South didn’t stop there, they added a third just before half time. Darren Hutchinson this time scoring from a short corner variation, which saw him waltz past two Kilkeel players in the circle before lobbing the keeper.
The second half saw a different type of performance from South, one of grit and determination. Kilkeel very much stepped up their game and after a good spell of pressure got their 2nd of the game. With 15 minutes to go and their lead only one goal, South dug deep and with the help of some excellent goalkeeping from Ian Glass and some excellent defensive play all across the pitch South managed to hold onto their narrow lead and record a win in their opening game. After going 1-0 down to an experienced Kilkeel side, South deserve great credit for coming back and holding out for their win.
South Antrim 3rds were on top form as they hit Cookstown for six. The Lisburn men took a deserved early lead against through George Glass.
A second from Glass shortly before half time put South two goals up. With the South defence rock solid this was then a platform for the attackers to find more chances and score more goals.
John Deane fired in two goals in quick succession in the second half. Shortly after, Darren Hutchinson stepped off the bench to beat four men and fire home from a tight angle.
Neil Wilson got on the score sheet as he found himself in the circle on his own with the keeper and scored.
South Antrim 4ths began their league campaign with a home game against Antrim 3rds.
South began well and dominated the first half but goals were hard to come by with Junior Hamilton scoring the solitary goal of the first half, a trademark finish into the bottom corner after good work in the D to create space.
With the match still in the balance, South needed to continue with the same effort, knowing that the next goal would be of the utmost importance to deciding the victor.
In the second half, South’s luck in front of the net changed and they got the second goal by way of Chris Black, scoring a thunderous hit.
Jonny Taylor added a third from a short corner and provided an assist for Junior who guided into the net after a hit into the D with such guile that is to be expected from a proven goal scorer.
Stuart Glenn rounded off a fantastic second half with a fifth goal, a shot into the bottom corner.
South Antrim 5ths had no game as North Down 5ths couldn’t field a team and conceded the points.