Junior Shield Round 3
Carryduff Colts 3 – 5 Willowbank
Match report sponsored by Fraser Homes – Senior Teams sponsor.
Colts lost out in an eight goal thriller in one of the best games of football to be seen at Lough Moss in years.
These two teams, who are both in 2C of the Amateur League, served up a pulsating contest and only poor finishing and bad luck prevented the home side from progressing to the next round.
Both sides began at a fast pace and there were some early opportunities but it was Willowbank who took the lead following what can only be described most generously as a very dubious penalty award by the referee on 12 minutes.
But Colts showed their mettle and equalised within five minutes with a team goal that would not have looked out of place at the highest level. A series of one touch passes opened up the defence with Fergus McBride finding Stevie Doherty on the left. He knocked it into striker Jonny Henry who laid it off to Darragh Brownlee who found Doherty bursting into the box and he finished superbly – a goal of breathtaking quality.
And within three minutes they had taken the lead in another fine move ended with Brownlee picking out Niall McArdle who cooly slotted home his first goal since returning to the club.
Doherty caused problems down the left hand side throughout the first half with Joe Sweeney on the other side putting in a great shift as wing back.
And with the outstanding Conor Cassidy putting in a man of the match performance against a really top drawer striker, supported by the also excellent Rory McDonnell and Kealan Devlin, Colts looked like they would extend their lead when Henry was put through only to see the keeper make a great save with his legs and Brownlee also went close with a fine shot.
Just as it looked like the Colts would get to half time in front, Willowbank equalised and then got in front with another penalty.
Colts came out in the second half and dominated from start to finish with Michael Deeny getting his passing going and McBride bursting runs forward to support the excellent Henry and Brownlee.
Sparky Hegney was introduced early in the second half for a tiring McArdle, who had put in a great shift, and Paddy McEvoy replaced Sweeney and both gave a fresh impetus.
But completely against the run of play Willowbank extended their lead against the run of play firing past Odhran Devlin who had been left exposed to a one on one on the hour mark.
But the character of this Colts team means they never know when they are beaten and Henry earned a penalty on the 70th minute. But Doherty’s spot kick was well saved by the keeper and as Henry followed up to fire in the rebound the ball bobbled and he fired it over the bar.
Then the keeper came racing out and lost his bearings and Brownlee shot only to see it cleared off the line and he had another great chance but his lob failed to clear the goalkeeper.
But with 10 minutes to go it was game on as they got their just desserts when McBride bounced on a defensive clearance and hit a shot with such power that the keeper didn’t move and the ball nearly burst the net – a perfect strike.
Ciaran Sherry was then introduced and the youngster came close to equalising twice but it was heartbreak in the last minute when Willowbank, in only their second attack of the half, put the game beyond reach.
On another day Colts could,have won this game and there will be much anticipation when these two teams meet twice in the league.
Colts: O Devlin, Sweeney (McEvoy), Devlin, McDonnell, Cassidy, McBride, McArdle (Hegney), Deeny, Henry (Sherry), Doherty, Brownlee
After-match refreshments generously provided by our friends at the Parador Inn, Ormeau Road.