Thursday 17 August 2017 10:54:19 AM

Downpatrick Edged Out By Abbey Villa
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NAFL Premier League

Abbey Villa  2  Downpatrick  0

Downpatrick lost what turned out to be a relagation battle at Adam’s Park in Millisle, beaten by fellow strugglers Abbey Villa. The side struggled with ten men after 30 minutes but losing these points was an ill omen as the end of the League draws nigh.

In the 14th minute Downpatrick had an opportunity to take the lead when Blaine Connolly put a ball through to Stephen Galbraith, but keeper Jon Munn blocked Galbraith’s effort. Minutes later, Downpatrick’s luck was at a low ebb when Villa’s Ryan Curdy volleyed from the edge of the box and the ball deflected off a defender into the net despite McAllister’s desperate attempt to keep it out.

A stunned Downpatrick could have gone a further goal behind as Scott Wilson blasted over the Downpatrick woodwork with the defence rooted to the spot.

Downpatrick's Stephen Galbraith keeping possession after an Abbey Villa challenge. (Photo by Tommy Leckey).

Downpatrick continued to struggle as Villa pushed forward and theback line of Connolly, McGarrity, Gracey and Fitzsimons were streched at times defending their goals.

Galbraith headed over on the 27th minute as Downpatrick rallied for an equaliser. The bumpy playing surface and tight pitch did not lend itself to an enjoyable game for Downpatrick.

And on the 35th minute Owen Curran snatched his shot and missed the target from just outside the box not having taken time to look around.

Just before half-time, Adam  Couser had a ball nodded into his path by Wilson but he mis-hit his opportunity and McAllister gathered up the ball easily. And John Connolly had his head in his hands after missing a ball as it rolled along the goal line.

One minute into the second half John Connolly again was put through and blasted wide of the goal. It was not Connoly’s day as Stephen Galbraith blasted a shot at the Villa goal, the ball hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing off Connolly away from the goal.

In the 62nd minute Barry Fitzsimmons received a second yellow card and was off to the dressing room early. He had blocked Couser on a run to goal.

To their credit, Downpatrick raised their game a gear in the thick of the action and Connolly again was unlucky to miss with a shot from outside the box.

As Downpatriock pressed forward they were fortunate on a couple of occasions as McAllister and the woodwork saved them. But Downpatrick were fresh out of luck in the 75th minute when Scott knocked the ball into the net from a cross at a corner.

Had McAllister not been on form the score could have been much higher for Villa.

It is now in the Downpatrick players hands in they want to stay in the Premier Division as they have the games left to move ahead away from the bottom two slots in their divion which mean one thing… relegation.

The fight is on now !

Downpatrick FC: Michael McAllister, Barry Fitzsommons, Blaine Connolly, Kevin Gracey, Michael McGarrity, John Connolly, Andrew Telford, Damien Turley, Strephen Galbraith, Peter Telford, Owen Curran. Subs: Sean McMahon, Declan Curran, Michael McGeown.

Abbey Villa: Jon Munn, Kurtis Mullan, Jonathan Nixon, Thomas Canavan, Trevor Kennedy, Ryan Munn, Gary Sherrat, Ryan McCurdy, Adam Couser, Scott Wilson, Daniel Ferguson. Subs: Graham McMullan, Andrew Rainey, Alan Strain.