NAFL Premier League
Ardglass 1 Islandmagee 1
THE Premier League clash between Ardglass and Islandmagee was a match that should have produced more goals.
The Island picked up valuable points in the draw in a match that was bedevilled by niggly injuries. There were even two clashes of heads in this match.
It was Islandmagee that opened the scoring in the 5th minute when a free kick on the right was well glanced past Ardglass keeper Mark Armstrong. Although Ardglass were technically the superior side on the day, they never got enough steam mustered up to win the game.
Chris Taggart was yellow carded soon after and Ardglass settled into a spell of some good flowing attaching football playing into the wind. Minutes later David Armstrong threw the ball in to the feet of Neil Taggart who flicked it to his brother Chris in front of the Islandmagee goal. But the shot skied over the bar, the first of several good opportunities that the home team had to bury the visitors.
Ricky Kerr was having some good attacking runs at the Islandmagee goal and on one occasion by-passed the defender to short pass to Neil Taggart who just missed the post with his volley.
With the see-saw action both teams were creating opportunities and there was a feeling that the second goal could be imminent. Ardglass keeper Armstrong was having a good game and made several key saves. But Ardglass had the edge with more connected flowing football albeit scrappy at times due to the soft condition son the pitch.
As the first period ended it was Islandmagee who made a great attack and the ball was passed through the goalmouth with Nathan Orr and Stewart Scott failing to get their toe to the ball to put it in the net.
The second half started with Chris Taggart on the bench replaced by Matt Rooney. Islandmagee were trying to raise their game and cla that second goal and the game did become more physical and tended to stop and start and the quality of football suffered accordingly. Ardglass centre defender Chris Deegan was red carded after 15 minutes and Ardglass soldiered on with ten men.
Michael Magee had made some excellent charges during the game and after 10 minutes into the second half he let fly a terrific volley at the top right corner from 30 yards but the Islandmagee keeper was there to deny him. Ardglass were on the ascendency for a while and the best chance came when Ricky Kerr rounded the defender to face the keeper but his shot was blocked by an excellent crucial save.
Certainly Neil Taggart and Michael Magee were playing some excellent touch football up front for Ardglass which caused the Islandmagee defenders some problems, and Taggart took a golden opportunity from the centre of the box from a flick from Magee and sent it soundly into the Islandmagee net to level the score.
Neither side could nail the winning goal and as the final whistle approached, an Islandmagee forward missed the best goal opportunity of the game from close to the Ardglass goal – a huge let off for the home side who would not have had time to recover.
Overall it was not a pretty game of football but there were some excellent spells and moves.
But maybe Ardglass could be excused as they had other things on their mind – the much-awaited boxing night in the community hall in Ardglass guaranteed to be a huge knockout the same evening!