Classy Club NI cruise past Everton to lift trophy
Club NI International Cup
Three excellent goals and an impressive performance ensured a home victory in the inaugural Club NI International Cup.
And it was no more than the local boys deserved after a trio of consistent displays throughout the week.
After a penalty shoot-out victory over the French FF's Toulouse Centre, they beat Rangers 2-0 on Saturday to set up a winner-takes-all clash with Everton yesterday, with a 3-1 victory giving them the trophy.
Provided they could avoid defeat for the first time in the tournament, Club NI would claim the silverware and they started the game in perfection fashion by taking an early lead.
Barry Beggley whipped in a cross from the left wing and Ben Wylie got away from his marker to head home the opening goal from close range.
Playing with the lead, the Club NI boys looked confident, while Everton were somewhat subdued.
The Toffees' youngsters did carve out a chance when Troy Parrott and Alberto Balde - who plays his club football with Portadown - linking up, but their final effort went over the bar.
They were left to rue that missed opportunity just before the end of the first 20-minute period when Club NI doubled their lead.
Jesse Carson had pushed forward from right-back and he unleashed a fantastic shot from distance which flew into the net.
The response from Everton was swift as Balde set up Parrott to pull one back for the Merseysiders.
Knowing that they now needed to score three times in order to top the standings, Everton came out strongly at the start of the second period.
Club NI defender Sam McClelland had to block a shot early in the period and Balde shot just wide as Everton began to look very dangerous.
Parrott was then inches away from equalising when he headed off the bar at a corner.
Marito Marcel was introduced by Club NI at the start of the third period and he made his presence felt almost immediately, causing problems for the Everton defence.
He set up Naseem Ouldhamlat, but Everton goalkeeper Jack Barrett rushed off his line to snuff out the danger before the Glentoran striker could get a shot away.
Everton began to push forward in numbers in search of an equaliser.
That left gaps at the back, but despite carving out a couple of chance the Club NI boys couldn't take full advantage.
That was until the final few minutes when the ball was fed through to George Tipton.
He found himself in space and sent a sweet chip over the head of Barrett to kill off any threat of an Everton comeback and ensure victory in the tournament.