Gallant Colts go down fighting
Two quick goals just before the half time break settled this tie – but not before Carryduff Colts matched their illustrious Amateur League opponents in every department. The game was much closer than the scoreline suggests and this was one of the best senior performances of any season with some outstanding performance throughout the team.
A well organised Carryduff gave the visitors little opportunity to dominate by remaining compact and then breaking quickly and it almost paid off – the roar from the Shankill players when they scored their second goal was a clear sign of their relief.
The game started off cagey with the Amateur League side edging the possession without creating anything until the 15th minute when a poor clearance was picked up on the edge of the box and the midfielder fired past Chris Overend in the Colts goal.
However, with Rory McDonnell and Paul Murphy in fine form alongside Stevie Doherty it was one of the few chances that they managed to create which made it all the more frustrating
But within five minutes the sides were level with a goal worthy of being the best of not just this season but any year from Michael Deeny. Playing a bit further forward that usual he picked the ball up 35 yards out and noticing the goalkeeper was off his line hit a stunning drive into the top corner.
The reaction of his team-mates said it all as he was immediately swamped and it gave the team the confidence to come out of their shell as their confidence level soared and they put Shankill on the back foot.
They had a great opportunity to take the lead on the half hour mark when the superb Fergus McBride broke up a Shankill attack and released Paddy McEvoy on the left. He drove forward and timed his pass to perfection as he drew the two defenders leaving James Erne in the clear but the pass was too far in front of the striker for what would have been a certain goal.
Five minutes later only a cynical foul in the right prevented Erne from racing through after great work by Ryan McGarry. James slipped it past the defender and with his pace would have been one on one with the goalkeeper but he was scythed down – with the defender getting off light with a yellow card.
Lower Shankill tried some strong arm tactics but Carryduff paid it back in spades and did not back off from the battle and continued to harry them. All players put a major shift in but stand-outs were McBride, Deeny and Erne who were full of energy and commitment in midfield and McDonnell commanding at the back.
However, just before half time Shankill grabbed two quick goals, The first came from a shot at the edge of the box but more damaging was the third. The referee gave a very dubious free kick at the edge of the box and the ball was drilled into the corner.
But Colts continued to impress and make chances in the second half and, playing some good football, had a couple of scoring chances. McGarry, who had an outstanding game, twice found himself clear on the right with the goalkeeper making one good save and defender getting back to block with the other.
The best chance fell to Nico McDaid after good work from Chris Curran in the middle of the park who found McGarry, He slipped into Jordan Toal, who really had an impact after coming on as sub, who found fellow sub Nico McDaid in space on the left but he fired over the bar.
With Danny Toal making his first appearance of the season as a half-time sub looking like he had never been away, Colts never looked like conceding another until the unrfortunate Conor O’Toole turned a cross into his own net.
But this was a great team performance, showed that this young side can be a match for any team and if they keep playing like this in the league they will surely capture a top half finish and maybe better.
Colts: Overend, Murphy (D Toal), O’Toole, McDonnell, Doherty, McBride, McGarry, Deeny, Erne (J Toal), Curran, McEvoy (McDaid)