Firsts share spoils in feisty encounter
Only time will tell if Colts seniors draw with Killough on Saturday was a point gained or two points lost.
The pitch at the seaside village is the worst in the league with its hills and valleys and the surface is a mud bath in large parts. Add to that, Saturday’s biting cold and a feisty, experienced team who always make it difficult, this was a performance of some character but understandably lacking in the usual quality.
Colts like to get the ball down and play football but even though they managed to do it in periods of this game, the conditions did not lend itself to the usual style so a more direct and combative approach was required.
Killough, who have the advantage of playing every other week on this quagmire, came out all guns blazing at the start and took the lead after just seven minutes, when the their most dangerous player, a pacey winger, raced through the middle and fired home with some aplomb.
They continued to threaten and broke though in the same fashion on a couple of more occasions in the first 20 minutes and could easily have added to their opener.
But Colts gradually got a grip on the game with Fergus McBride and Michael Deeny in midfield getting on the ball while the outstanding Sparky Hegney marshalled the defence and got them ripping into tackles and defending further up the park.
Colts fashioned an equaliser on the half hour mark when Stevie Doherty was released on the left but his shot was blocked by the defender and Darragh Brownlee stepped up to expertly drill the ball into the corner of the net for the equaliser and his 11th goal of the season.
It was all Colts at this stage with Sean Irwin, Calum McSorley and Brownlee all coming close to scoring but they went in at half time level.
The second half began the way the first had ended with Colts in control although Killough still looked dangerous on the break and Rory McDonnell and Conor Cassidy had to be on their toes for quick breaks. And that was how the home team took the lead against the run of play on 65 minutes. As Colts were pressing for the second goal they broke on the left hand side and the winger fired home a wonder goal with the outside of his right foot.
Colts suffered a further blow when the consistently good Paul Maguire picked up an injury from a bad tackle and was replaced by Paul Murphy whose introduction gave the side a real impetus and Colts started to look dangerous again.
Jordan Toal came on for Sean Irwin and went close straight away when he headed a cross over the bar, while Arron Waddell replaced Stevie Doherty and immediately put the right back under pressure leaving him for dead with a great run to the by-line but was unable to get in a cross.
Just when it looked like the game might be running away Calum McSorley stepped up and scored with a fantastic finish. The ball seemed to bob around the penalty box for an age before he somehow hooked the ball into the far corner for his 9th goal of the season, and third in the last four games. Tempers got frayed as Colts went for the winner but they were unable to get that elusive goal that they badly needed and deserved.
There was almost a sting in the tale when Killough fired in a ferocious shot in the last minute but Odhran Devlin made a breathtaking save, pushing the effort on to the crossbar and the ball was cleared to safety.
Colts narrowed the gap on leaders Ballyvea to 10 points but now have only one game on hand and will be needing other results to go their way to keep the title challenge alive.
Colts: Devlin, Hegney, Maguire (Murphy), McDonnell, Cassidy, McBride, McSorley, Deeny, Irwin (Toal), Doherty (Waddell), Brownlee.