Killyleagh 1 Downpatrick 1
IN a match at the Showgrounds in Killyleagh that had its moments of drama and excellent soccer, there were spells of scrappy play as both teams struggled for supremacy. It was a case of the immovable object meets the irresistable force. Killyleagh had the first real opportunity when left winger Lee Morrison made an excellent long cross to the back post which was not taken up by his forwards.
As Downpatrick quickly bounced into the game, they were confronted by a focused, tight Killy defence prepared to give little away.
Peter Telford in the opening minutes had a strong run thgrough the middle but was tackled opportunely by Gavin Murray. Plucky Downpatrick forward Stephen Galbraith had a good first half and on a number of occasion almost defied the Killyleagh back line to find a goal opportunity, but the defenders were determined to give nothing away.
Having a good game in leading some excellent attacks, Lee Morrison made an excellent running cross to Lee Manus who played it back and Morrison’s header just missing over the bar. Downpatrick then raised their game at the 20th minute but four minutes later Morrison took the ball from Downpatrick defender Conor Curran then Killyleagh’s Damien McConnell made a spot-perfect cross to Ian Manus who buried the ball in the Downpatrick net to the applause of the Killyleagh supporters.
Soon after Owen Curran forced Killyeagh keeper Michael McKenna to make an awkward save across the goal. Then a collision saw Killyleagh’s Gavin Murray from the back line go off after a head injury and he was replaced by Keith Robson, new to the squad.
But not to be deterred, Downpatrick’s Andy Telford came bursting through the Killyleagh defence and volleyed the ball just over the bar to his palpable disappointment. The visitors had raised the pace of the game and Killyleagh knew that to retain a point they would have to be on the top of their game against a side fighting possible relegation.
At one point Jason Herron made a strong solo run into the Downpatrick defence and was almost through but ran out of steam as he was mobbed by the defenders. But in a game of swings and roundabouts, with lot of shouting and increasingly frustrated play, Downpatrick levelled the match as the ball was played in from a corner by Peter Telford and in the ensuing scamble in front of the Killyleagh goal, Any Telford grasped the nettle and sent the ball firmly on hi ssecond effort into the net in the 42nd minute.
As the whistle blew for half time, a 1-1 draw was a fair representation of the play.
As the second period commenced, both teams were intent on scoring an early goal. The Killyleagh team seemed to lack the killer kick as it approached the Downpatrick goal and the visitors took the main share of play to Killyleagh for over 20 minutes. The Downpatrick defence were tight and Kevin Gracey played his part in holding back Killyleagh. Play then became scappy. Downpatrick earned another opportunity when powerhouse John Connolly sent across a low hard cross from a corner but Peter Telford just failed to get the ball under control in front of goal.
Downpatrick’s Christian Holland was taken down and the cross in was taken by Andy Telford passing to Stephen Galbraith who struggled to contol another low shot, but an opportunity was there.
Killyleagh’s Lee Morrison was still making some good moves and crosses along with Manus which threatened the Downpatrick defensive wall of Curran, Holland, Gracey and Turley.
As the game progressed towards its inevitable conclusion, Killyleagh made a surge at Downpatick who were on the ropes for a spell. But minutes later at the opposite end John Connolly put the ball through to Peter Telford who sent it just over the bar. The game petered out after that and a clash in a tackle between Killyleagh sub Hugo Ross and Downpatrick defender Holland left the latter out of action for a few minutes delaying the whistle, the final act of mercy for the fans on both sides from the referee. A draw was the end result. No winners, but both teams will be happy they were not on the losing end.
The last flourish in the match was again fitting that of Lee Morrison who received a cross from Manus but his shot went wide across the goal.
Managers Dee Heron and Bobby Murphy will be glad of the point as the bottom of the leagiue looks too close for comfort. It was a game of missed opportunities on both sides.
Killyleagh YC: Michael McKenna, Jordan Kennedy, Jason Herron, Gavin Murray, Kevin Savage, Niall Walsh, Gareth Bond, Damien McConnell, Ian Manus, Barry Walsh, Lee Morrison. Subs: Danny Morgan, Hugo Ross, Keith Robson.
Downpatrick FC: Michael McAlister, Conor Curran, Christian Holland, Kevin Gracey, Peter Turley, Joseph McMahon, Andrew Telford, John Connolly, Stephen Galbraith, Peter Telford, Owen Curran: Subs: Declan Curran, Sean McMahon, Damien Turley.