DOWNPATRICK went into this Premier Division league clash with Killyleagh on a roll after two good wins over Ards (0-5) and Kilmore (3-1). Struggling to avoid relegation, Downpatrick have dug deep and found that old confidence to take on the best and win. This match however was far from a pretty game of soccer. Much of the play was scrappy, if not desparate, but there were some excellent spells too to offset this.
Andy Telford had an early challenging run up the wing signifying his resolve and made an excellent cross to Stephen Galbraith who made a bad contact with the ball… the first real goal opportunity of the game. After a bit of early pressure by Downpatrick, Killyleagh were soon on the attack and an excellent cross from Ian Mannus ran through the box with no forwards to pop it in.
Throughout the game Mannus played well with Paul Rainney on the left wing and one ball onto the Downpatrick area saw Rainney’s header just go over the Downpatrick woodwork. Both teams showed an attacking spirit and the Killyleagh defence of Kennedy, Boyle, Nelson and Ross looked solid as they faced a number of constructive attacks by Downpatrick, Galbraith making a showing in a number of them. Owen Curran had a good run too sending a hard shot at the Killyleagh goal only to be denied by Michael McKenna.
Overall, Downpatrick were getting in more shots at goal even though neither keeper looked seriously threatened. As the first half progressed, Mannus had a number of glancing headers at the Downpatrick goal which were unlucky no to have produced at least one goal.
As the first half ended , Peter Telford who was also much involved in the attacks, made a long top class through ball to Andy Telford and Telford made a great chase after it and was millimeteres away from nodding in a header when Killyleagh keeper McKenna came out of his goal to finger the ball to safety.
Then in true end to end soccer Rainey took a shot at the Downpatrick goal from just 10 yards out but it was well held by McAllister.
As the second half started, and a scoreless first half behind them, it was Killyleagh that plied the early pressure. But after both teams’ anxiety level going through the roof as they faced a scoreless draw, it was Andrew Telford’s great run down the left and spot perfect cross to Peter Casey who placed the ball promptly in the back of the Killyleagh net, much to the jubilation o fthe Downpatrick supporters.
As the temperature of the game rose, there were a number of cautions given by the referee, and one apppeal for a penalty could be heard as far as Ballynahinch as Walsh was formly tackled down in the box.
Christain Holland had a great game for Downpatrick closing down a number of attacks and making sharp clearances. Facing him was Ian Mannus who showed some flashes of brillance when on one occasion he make a strike at goal after a good run into teh Downpatrick half only to be denied by a diving save by McAllister. Niall walsh too had a shot at the Downpatrick goal but again McAllister saved the day for the home side.
In the end it was that extra bit of grittiness by Downpatrick that pulled them through with a win.
Downpatrick FC: Michael McAllister, Sean McMahon, Christian Holland, Kevin Gracey, Blaine Connolly, Peter Turley, Andrew Telford, Neil Young, Stephen Galbraith, Peter Telford, Owen Curran. Subs – John Connolly, Barry Fitzsimmons, Declan Curran.
Killyleagh YC: Michael McKenna, Jordan Kennedy, Ryan Boyle, Colin Beggs, Darren Nelson, Hugh Ross, Jason Herson, Darren McConnell, Ian Mannus, Niall Walsh, Paul Rainey. Subs: Lee Morrison, Stephen Kennedy, Dale Davidson.