Ellen Watson pictured with Dollingstown player’s Chris Coleman & Stephen Jones with this season Diabete’s UK charity sponsor home shirt which Dollingstown have for the 2018/19 season in the NIFL Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League.
Both teams returned to face each other for the second time in 3 days after Banbridge Town had run out easy winners in the Bob Radcliffe Cup Final on Wednesday past.
Manager Uprichard made a number of changes to both personnel and positional and can be very proud of the overall team performance if not the result.
Pride and passion that was missing on Wednesday was very much to the fore and on a bumpy pitch the home team reverted to the long ball most of the game but it was man of the match Stephen Jones in midfield who almost opened the scoring on 25 minutes when his shot from distance crashed against the crossbar.
Banbridge went in front on the half hour from a corner kick where young keeper seemed to be impeded at the back post and the ball was driven home from close range and then on 40 minutes from a break away the young keeper tried to play out from outside his area but got his feet wrong and allowed a simple second goal to the home team.
Second half continued in similar fashion to the first half with DFC showing full commitment but finding it very difficult to break down the home defence.
Adam Montgomery and Scott Adams replaced Davy Gray and Glen Hand plus Ryan Gourley replaced the hard working Josh Norton who was home on holidays and with five minutes to go Andy McMath scored from distance to give some much needed encouragement to a solid overall team performance.
Dollingstown reserves made the trip to Hanover in wet and wind conditions.
Both teams took time to adjust to the weather, however it was Dtown that broke the dead lock with a quick counter attack David Huston sliding a lovely ball for winger Armstrong who took one touch to bring him into the 18 yard box and finished with a powerful shot.
This bottom of the table clash was a game DFC were hoping to finally push themselves off the bottom of the table but despite most of the possession and the better chances still found themselves rooted to the bottom at Christmas time.
Veteran Shay Campbell almost opened the scoring on ten minutes with a header that Croft superbly pushed over the bar.
Then on 35 minutes Coleman went off injured and was replaced by Gourley and a minute later Montgomery found himself one on one with the keeper who easily saved low down to his right.
With half time approaching the veteran Campbell showed how it should be done when he calmly poked home from close range.
McMath then had wonderful opportunity in the very first minute of the second half after the keeper again parried from Montgomery but from 8 yards out he fired over the top of the bar.
Gray then replaced Montgomery and tricked his way into the box for Thompson whose overhead kick once again went over the bar and same players again combined but Thompson couldn’t stretch to reach the cross at the back post.
McMath was then replaced by Lavery and DFC kept plugging away with a header cleared off the line as they went in search of the equaliser that simply didn’t come.
This was another 3 home points crucially lost in the battle to survive.
We would like to thank Caledon Precision Engineering and Bobby Loney for sponsoring the match and the ball today.
With so many matches called off due to the adverse weather Planters Park still stood up the the conditions and the home team deservedly gained there first 3 points of the season.
Lurgan Celtic went in front on 13 minutes from a direct free kick where the wall once again seemed to be incorrectly set up and the shot went into the net quite cheaply.
DFC then created numerous first half chances with Fox in the visiting goal saving well from Scott Adams but Richy Thomson and Adam Montgomery both we’re guilty of missed chances.
Andy McMath leveled on the half hour mark when Thompson played him in behind the defence and he calmly slotted home.
With the wind behind them in the second half it was largely all the home team with Thompson going on a great run from his own half before being fouled.
Then on 65 minutes the home team finally went in front when Fox could only push the cross onto his own bar and Adams headed home from on the line.
Thompson then made another great run from deep but once again found Fox unbeatable in the away goals.
Montgomery and Thompson then made way for Nathan Lavery and Ryan Gourley and it was Gourley with his first touch who should have wrapped it up but his effort was cleared off the line.
Glen Hand then made way for Davy Richmond in the final few minutes before Gourley did wrap up the game with the neat finish into the bottom corner to give the dollybirds the 3 points.
Saturday 8th December 2018
Dollingstown Res 5:1 Oxford Sunnyside Res
Our Reserves continued their decent form with a dominant and comfortable win over an in-form Oxford side in the Wilmor Johnston Cup on Saturday.
On the back of a good win in Kilkeel, but missing serval players, the Reserves were wary of the visitors, unbeaten in their league and in great form. But Dtown immediately took control of the game, winning the midfield battle with Rea and Wright dictating and the experienced Montgomery providing an excellent link, that allowed for 10 minutes of sustained pressure where the hosts had several half chances to take the lead, twice thwarted by the Oxford keeper.
The breakthrough came on the quarter hour, when the excellent Bennett showed great composure to round the keeper after very neat interchange from Rea, Wright and Montgomery.
This was rewards for what had been an excellent opening period for Dtown, however, just minutes later Oxford were level with their first chance, heading home from a corner, disappointingly. Dtown continued to press and keeper Robinson was left a by-stander for most of the half. However the game was frequently disrupted by several odd referring decisions which interrupted the momentum Dtown were trying to bring, and striker McCluskey had a goal disallowed for offside, later accepted as an error by the referee, and despite their dominance, the game went in level at the break
Half Time 1:1
The half time message was that patience was pivotal if Dtown were to win the game. Aware that in periods they were excellent, Dtown were challenged to improve decision making in the final third and increase their tempo, and that the rewards would come, and credit to Dtown, within 10 minutes of the second period, the game was over as a contest.
In the opening minute of the second period, Dtown were awarded a penalty, McCluskey using his pace to nip in front of the Oxford centre half, who upended the striker, and the lethal Wright duly converted to ease any half time nerves.
Just minutes later came the goal of the game, with Allen and Bennett combining on the left hand side, before the latter drilled across, expertly volleyed home by the impressive Montgomery to make it 3.1 just 5 minutes into the second half.
Oxford were rattled by the pace and intent in the opening period, and following a corner, Bennett latched onto a loose ball at the edge of the box, with a neat finish to extend the lead, and again just minutes later, the lively McCluskey got his rewards for an excellent display, when he was released by Rea, calmly finishing under the advancing keeper to seal the victory.
Bennett had an opportunity for his hat-trick with a 20 yard free kick, twice viciously striking the wall.
Dtown continued to dominate the rest of the game, with Walker, Harrison and Forsythe comfortable at the back as the game moved to its finish for what was a comfortable victory in the end.
Our thanks go to Oxford who for 70 minutes competed well, and we wish them continued success in their league campaign
Squad: Robinson, Harrison, Bennett, Armstrong, Walker, E Rea, Wright, Allen, Forsythe, McCluskey, Montgomery, J Irwin, Branker, E Taylor, R Taylor, D Ewins, A Ewins
Goals: Bennett (2), Wright, Montgomery, McCluskey
In a basement battle it was the home side who didn’t really need to break sweat to easily overcome DFC by 2 goals scored in the first 25 minutes.
DFC never got to grips with the young right winger who set up the first on 10 minutes and then scored the second himself on 25 minutes.
DFC had a couple of chances in the first half that all went wide of the mark and when the keeper presented them with a chance on 40 minutes they couldn’t take advantage and hit the bar.
Then in the opening minute of the second half Richy Thompson set up Glenn Hand but he fired wide and that was the only real chance they created in the second half where the home keeper had no saves to make during the full 90 minutes.
David Richmond, Scott Adams and Stephen Jones made way for Andy McMath , Davy Gray and Nathan Lavery but these failed to energise the away team who are now getting cut adrift at the bottom of the table and still searching for first win of the season.