Downpatrick Beat Lisburn rangers For Place In Clarence Cup Final
NAFL Clarence Cup Semi-Final
Wednesday 20th April 2016 at Seaview, Belfast.
Downpatrick FC 2 Lisburn Rangers 0
Downpatrick progressed to this year’s Clarence Cup final at the expense of Lisburn Rangers on a sun-swept Seaview pitch.
Having saw three of their league games called off recently, Downpatrick started the game rather tentatively and were slow into their stride. Lisburn Rangers striker Nathan McConnell should have put his side in front early on but he failed to beat Downpatrick’s Michael McKenna.
Downpatrick’s first chance of the game fell to top scorer Stephen Galbraith but the normally reliable striker failed to connect properly with his attempted lob and the chance was lost. Galbraith had made a number of promising runs at the Lisburn goal and opened up the back line showing their vulnerability.
Just before the half hour mark Downpatrick got that all important opening goal, a brilliant run down the right hand side from Barry Treacy resulted in the Lisburn left back getting back and giving Downpatrick a throw-in.
A long throw from captain Barry Fitzsimons was met by Peter Telford and his header lobbed over the Rangers keeper into the net in the 30th minute. Downpatrick had been knocking on the door for some time and a goal looked inevitable from Downpatrick whose commitment and tempo seemed greater that Lisburn’s.
A short time later Aaron McGarry crossed from the left to Blaine Connolly who headed crisply but was inches over the Lisburn top bar.
Phil Traynor was playing an excellent game up centre in the forward line harassing the Lisburn defence relentlessly.
Lisburn were quick in replying when Downpatrick did press forward and shoot at goal but their finishing lacked sharpness. Stuart Conlin did make a tremendous volley for Lisburn but it was only Downpatrick keeper Michael McKenna on form that managed to smother the ball.
Five minutes later Downpatrick had a glorious opportunity to double their advantage with Blaine Connolly having a free header on the six yard box but some how managed to head over the bar. Downpatrick ensured they went in at half-time with goal advantage.
Half Time: Downpatrick FC 1 Lisburn Rangers 0
Lisburn Rangers came out after the half-time break with the bit between their teeth and fashioned a few long range shots which came to nothing. Then five minutes into the second half Lisburn had a shot from outside the box and Downpatrick’s keeper Michael McKenna got down early to thwart the danger.
But Downpatrick fought back and Peter Telford put the ball through to Jamie Sharvin who volleyed on target but the shot was too light. Downpatrick were certainly not taking any prisoners and the game on both sides became slightly more physical as the second half progressed.
Downpatrick doubled their advantage shortly after with another header in the box in the 52nd minute. Christian Holland swung in a corner, and Peter Telford again challenged for the ball with the Lisburn keeper and the ball bounced into the path of winger Aaron McGarry who sent his header into the roof of the net. Lisburn must have felt the rug being pulled below them at this point as Downpatrick were showing their metal.
Downpatrick were looking the more confident of the two teams and were no strangers to Seaview so were not overawed by the occasion. Lisburn did try to break down the Downpatrick defence but their efforts were unsuccessful with only a few real chances in the second half.
Fresh players boosted the Downpatrick side with Ricky Kerr for Stephen Galbraith, Andy Baggley for Peter Telford who had ran himself into the ground with a Man of the Match performance and Adrian McCoubrey replaced Jamie Sharvin. For the remainder of the game Downpatrick defended superbly as a team and as individuals, the backline of Fitzsimons, Matthew Carson, Connolly and Holland stopping the Lisburn attack from getting through to McKenna.
In the dying embers of the game, Downpatrick were content to contain Lisburn Rangers and not press ahead further and risk injury to any of their players for the final. But Lisburn did continue to the end to find a goal to give them hope, but they were well denied by a very buoyant Downpatrick squad who never really look under pressure.
Downpatrick: Michael McKenna, Barry Fitzsimmons, Christian Holland, Mark Carson, Blaine Connolly, Jamie Sharvin, Barry Treacy, Peter Telford, Stephen Galbraith, Philip Trainer, Aaron McGarry. Subs: Ricky Kerr Andrew Baggley , Aaron McCoubrey.
Lisburn Rangers: Andrew Dillon, Luke Braiden, George Douglas, Aaron Robinson, Martin Young, Thomas Morrison, Daryll Kernohan, Gary Chisholm, Luke Briers, Curtis Black, Stuart Conlin. Subs: Mark Young, Aaron McCracken, David Lough.