Tollymore United 2 – Carryduff Colts 2

Tollymore United 2 - 2 Carryduff Colts
05 Sep 2016

The seniors continued their impressive start to the season when they travelled to Newcastle and brought pace setters Tollymore United’s 100 per cent record to an end.

But it could have been so much better as the Colts were far and away the better team and had numerous chances to put the game to bed at 2-1 up before an unlucky slip by goalkeeper Chris Overend allowed the home side to score a fortuitous equaliser.

The performance was all the more impressive since Carryduff had to make a number of enforced changes due to injury and absences, but Conor McCluskey and Eoin McDonnell made impressive first team debuts while Conor Magee, making his first appearance of the season, put in a man of the match performance.

Colts started off the brighter putting together some good moves but were unable to apply the finishing touch. But it was Tollymore who took advantage of slack defending after 15 minutes to take the lead against the run of play when a well worked move resulted in the unmarked striker at the back post having the simple task of putting the ball in the net.

The goal gave the home side confidence and they started to knock the ball about while the visiting defence and midfield seemed to sit off them, but once they started to close them down they began to get back on top with Eoin McDonnell and Magee starting to control midfield.

A lot of the good play was coming from the energetic fullbacks – the excellent Conor McCluskey, who made a number of impressive forward forays and the tireless Paul Murphy who motored up and down the pitch all day, making great forward runs and some great tackles.

But despite being on the front foot, they never looked overly dangerous and it took a moment of inspiration from Magee who slalomed past a number of defenders before expertly placing his shot in the corner of the net for the equaliser.

The second half saw a big improvement in the Colts performance with Adam Shilliday on the left and Calum McSorley on the right starting to utilise their pace and trickery with Darragh Brownlee finding his range of passing.

And it was Shilliday who put the Colts in front on the hour mark when he seized on a loose ball in the penalty box and fired it home from close range.

There was some concern for Carryduff when inspirational defender Marc Hegney, who together with Rory McDonnell had been outstanding at the heart of the defence, was forced off with a groin problem but Stevie Doherty also making his first appearance of the season following injury slotted in comfortably and looked as if he had never been away.

The game should have been sewn up with Carryduff having numerous chance – the best of them when Shilliday was put through by a superb forward ball by Brownlee and was one-on-one on the keeper but his attempted dink over the keeper was clawed away. Then he broke on the left and after a great run drove a dangerous cross into the penalty box and Chris Doyle flung himself at the ball but narrowly missed connecting.

Jamie Maynes was then introduced into action on the right and put in a great shift, up and down the park, and causing problems for defenders.

But just as the game looked like it should be won Overend, who had a good game, came sliding out to collect a through ball but it slipped from his hands and the striker had the simple task of tapping it into the net.

Colts pushed for the winner and brought on Michael Deeny for Shilliday for the last 10 minutes but had to settle for a draw.

The game showed again that Carryduff are not only a match for any team in the league but have real strength in depth. The performance of a few new guys will give the management team confidence that they have options all over the park and the competition for places can only benefit the team.

Colts: Overend, McCluskey, Murphy, R.McDonnell, Hegney (Doherty), E.McDonnell, McSorley (Maynes), Magee, Doyle, Brownlee, Shilliday (Deeny)