DROMARA clinched three valuable home points to top of the table against Ards Rangers on Saturday (12th March).
There will be disappointment in the Ards ranks and not taking home even a point from th match. Dromara had four of their key players out injured. They had to rejog their squad but even so, started the game very strongly. O’Donnell was playing in behind the front two causing problems with his powerful pace.
Dromara took the lead when the O’Donnell was pulled back in the box when looking to be in a scoring position on goal, and O’Connor placed the spotkick in the bottom corner. It took the visitors twenty minutes to get going and Dromara could have had a second with a few dangerous balls in the box but were cleared at the last minute.
Ards then started to gain the upper hand towards the end of the half and forced numerous corners but could not find the target. Preece made an excellent save down low to his left and a mix up between Paul Johnston and the keeper nearly ended in a own goal from the fullback.
The second half saw the visitors really come out of the blocks sharp and for the next twenty minutes camped in the home side’s half. McStavick aided by Agnew and Doherty had to really defend well in this period as the home side were getting overrun in midfield but Close, Graham McDonagh and McNamee worked their socks off to try and turn the tide.
Ards put a couple of good opportunities wide of the post but eventually drew level when a freekick went right through the wall to give Preece no chance. At this stage it looked like Ards would go on to win, but a reshuffle by manager Phil McDonagh saw him bring the hard working Thompson back into the left of midfield and moved ODonnell right up top and this seemed to change things for the last fifteen minutes.
Dromara started to gain more possession and forced the away team on the back foot again. From a freekick on the right McNamee flicked on a header to the back of the six yard box and McStravick who has had a great start in his first few games chested down and calmly planted the ball in the corner. This really lifted the team but O’Connor then had to go off injured and O’Neill come on as a makeshift striker.
Ards pushed again to try and get back on level terms but a quick breakout saw a ball played up to O’Neill who with a deft touch play the ball into Graham McDonagh’s path who rounded the advancing keeper but seemed like an eternity before he smashed the ball home with defenders getting back on the line.Probably harsh on the away side but there has been games where the Dromara side have dominated to come away with nothing so manager Phil McDonagh was pleased with the commitment from his side and taking their chances.
The Dromara Team: Preece, Agnew, McStravick, Doherty, P Johnston, Close, G McDonagh, McNamee, Thompson, O’Donnell, O’Connor. (O’Neill)