Killyleagh 2 Dromara 2
THE young Killyleagh side on their first league outing playing at home were faced with a determined Dromara outfit hell-bent on collecting valuable points.
As both teams went head on, it was Dromara who looked the sharper creating a few attacking opportunities. Killyleagh’s Ian Mannus was keen to ply ahead and find the chinks in the Dromara defense.
The game had hardly settled down when Dromara’s Johnny Jess unleashed a sixth minute thunderbolt from the blue on the left which skirted over the heads of the defenders and was too powerful for keeper Michael McKenna to reach as it flew into the back post net.
But Killyleagh immediately fought back rallying with Mannus and Darren McConnell leading the charge. Killyleagh pressure was strong and eventually Dromara’s Brandon Agnew fouled Mannus outside box for the homeside’s first real dead-ball opportunity… it was not to be as it was well struck by Gary Walsh but was palmed away by Dromara keeper Stephen Harbinson.
Dromara were nevertheless dangerous opponents and a quick move by defender Tony O’Neill flicking on to Phil Rogan almost paid off as the shot sailed past the post.
At the other end Mannus was unlucky not to have scored from a back header. The Dromara back line of O’Neil, Johnston, Agnew and Munn were a tough nut to crack for Killyleagh. And their forward line were getting more balls on target keeping keeper Ward under pressure.
Killyleagh found space on a couple of occasions just outside the Dromara box and were unlucky not to have drawn. Nial Walsh made a great pass to Gareth Walsh but it was inches over the bar. Then it was Dromara turn to slice a shot over the bar as Agnew unleashed a cracker. At this stage in the match it was Dromara who looked as though they were to score.
In the 38th minute it was Dromara’s Aaron Thompson who slotted the ball past McKenna to put the visitors two goals ahead.
Jason Heron was having a sound game in central defense against a determined Dromara attack and Dromara’s midfielder Kevin Johnston chanced a low drive which earned his side a corner as it deflected off a defender. It was a fast-paced, physical match and as half-time approached Killyleagh must have been wondering what they had to do to stop Dromara.
Again Dromara started off looking the more hungry giving keeper McKenna a tough time. Then Killyleagh found some sparkle. McConnell almost converted from a neat cross from Manus and this may have been the trigger for Killyeagh to up their game which they did.
Half-time had seen Killyleagh replace Gary Walsh with striker Dale Davidson, and Hugh Ross was on the bench replaced by Gary Murdoch.
After five minutes, Dromara forward Manus O’Gorman was carried off with a leg injury and Killyleagh increased the pressure even more. In a goalmouth scramble Dromara conceded an own goal much to the delight of the Killyleagh fans in the 55tth minute.
Gradually Davidson and Mannus started to play well together setting up attacks on the right. Killyleagh were battling for the equalizer to save face in losing their first game… at home.
Manager Dee Heron then took left winger Lee Morrison off with John Murray giving the Killyleagh attack extra pace up front. Then in a critical move, Barry Walsh flicked on to Mannus who nodded the ball into the bottom right corner of the Dromara net past keeper Harbinson for the equalizer in the 64th minute.
The game continued as a physical contest, with a few stops, but neither could find that elusive winning goal. Killyleagh had to settle for a draw. This was a fair score given the overall performance of both teams but either could have won it from the many missed opportunities.
Killyleagh team: Michael McKenna, Jordan Kennedy, Hugh Ross, Jason Heron, Darren Nelson, Niall Walsh, Gareth Walsh, Darren McConnell, Ian Manus, Barry Walsh, Lee Morrison. Subs: Jonathan Murray, Gary Murdoch and Dale Davidson.
Dromara team: Stephen Harbinson, Tony O’Neil. Paul Johnston, Brandon Agnew, Stevie Munn, Graham McDonagh, Kevin Johnston, Philip Rogan, Aaron Thompson, Manus O’Gorman, Johnny Jess. Subs: Ciaran Doherty, Matty McConnell, Phil McDonagh.