Carryduff Colts produced one of their best ever performances since entering senior football and brought table topping Annalong Swifts unbeaten run crashing down.
And this was no fluke – Colts dominated the game from start to finish and should have won by more and played some terrific football in very difficult conditions.
The game had been in doubt right up until kick off but when the ref gave the go ahead, Carryduff won the toss and decided to play with the wind in the first half.
Adam Shilliday started off really brightly taking on players and his pace was causing real concern for the visitors, while Chris Curran in midfield was having his best game of the season with some great runs and superb passing.
It was Curran who set up what turned out to be the winner after 20 minutes when he fired in a powerful shot from distance which came off the post and James Erne was on hand to volley the rebound into the back of the net for the seventh goal of the season.
Erne had missed the last couple of games through injury and looked a bit tentative initially but the goal saw the old confidence come flowing back and Annalong were having real problems trying to contain him.
Shilliday, despite being wasteful with a couple of corners, was also in great form and he hit the woodwork as the pressure came on the Annalong defence.
The visitors only real chance of the first half came when the broke on the left hand side but 16 year old goalkeeper Timothy Larmour made a superb save to push the ball away for a corner. There was concern that Colts only had a one goal lead turning around to play against the wind, but any fears were allayed when they continued to dominate possession.
The excellent back three of Rory McDonnell, Danny Toal, and Kealan Devlin, who rivalled Curran for man of the match, were well supported by Conor O’Toole and Joe Sweeney as wing backs and helped ensure that Annalong barely had a shot on target in the second half.
Sweeney also became prominent repeatedly breaking forward on the right hand side while Michael Deeny and Fergus McBride in the middle of the park worked extremely hard at closing Swifts down and stopped them getting into their stride.
As the half rolled on, it was clear if there were to be any further goals they would come for the home side, with Curran failing to convert with the goalkeeper off his line for what would have been a deserved goal and substitute Paul Maguire, who made a real impact after coming on as a sub, nearly scoring after he won a hearty challenge at the edge of the box.
By this stage, Annalong’s frustration saw them resorting to some strong arm tactics with a few dangerous tackles flying in, with Deeny and another substitute Calum McSorley on the end of some rough house stuff, but Colts stayed strong and weren’t put off their stride.
McSorley and Doherty gave their defence as much to think about as Erne and Shilliday and as the game moved into the last 10 minutes, the expected onslaught never came as Carryduff played with great maturity and game sense. Doherty repeatedly took the ball off on intelligent long runs as the clock kicked down. In the last few minutes Deeny and Sweeney seemed to keep the ball in the corner for an age and the league leaders ran out of time – outclassed, outsmarted and outdone.
Carryduff Colts: Larmour, Sweeney, O’Toole (Maguire), McDonnell, Toal, Devlin, McBride, Deeny, Curran, Erne (Doherty), Shilliday (McSorley)