NAFL Division 1
Killyleagh YC 3 Nortel 2
BOBBY Murphy is slowly inching Killyleagh closer to Premier Section safety.
Murphy took over the managerial hot seat at The Showgrounds at the start of the season with his number one priority ensuring the survival of the YC in the top flight and this victory nudges them a little closer to that goal. Victory over a Monkstown team was also a worry about getting sucked into a relegation battle.
Killyleagh got off to a dream start with Nortel unable to deal with a vicious in-swinging corner from Niall Walsh that ricocheted off a defender into his own net after just two minutes.
But it was the visitors who held the upper hand for much of the remainder of the half, with Killyleagh struggling in midfield and at the back to contain the threat. It took a fine save from Andrew Wallace and a superb central defensive performance from Neil Young, deputising for the absent Hugh Dickson, to keep them in the game.
At the opposite end Adam Neale was seeing little of the ball and it was the lively Ryan Montgomery who was posing the biggest threat for the YC
Remarkably Killyleagh doubled their lead in the 41st minute with a great counter-attack. Montgomery and Ian Mannus combined and Willie McIlroy did well to steer the ball goal-bound. Ace poacher Neale made no mistake, hammering into the empty net.
It was rough on Nortel who had played some neat, passing football. Within three minutes of the restart of the second half they finally got back into it, with a well worked goal that was neatly finished at the back post.
That was the signal for Killyleagh to play some of their best football of the game with Darren McConnell and Mannus working well, and Montgomery’s pace a constant threat. Walsh whipped in another super corner and McIlroy went close.
Neale was finally getting a service but Killyleagh suffered a setback when Gary Murray was forced off with a nasty elbow injury.
The YC made the points safe when sub Dale Davidson picked out the perfect pass for Montgomery and he got the reward his play deserved with a sublime finish into the bottom pocket of the net to make it 3-1 in the 85th minute.
If that was a good goal, the final goal of the game was even better. In the 97th minute Nortel’s Doherty controlled the ball and produced an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net with the last kick of the game.