Magic Mitchell Fires DTown Into Wilmor Johnston Memorial Semi Final

Saturday 26th January 2019

Ballymacash Rangers Res 1:3 Dollingstown Reserves

Dollingstown progressed to the Semi Final of the Wilmor Johnston Cup with a deserved, but at times lackadaisical victory over a stubborn Ballymacash side.

Dtown opened the scoring in the opening minutes when McCluskey reaped the rewards of his own high press and caught the defenders cold before coolly slotting home.

From this point on, Dtown were dominant with keeper Robinson largely a by-stander aside from a few set pieces and created chance after chance as it seemed the tie could be won before the interval.  However, a mixture of fine goalkeeping from Campbell in the ‘Cash goal and poor finishing meant that as half time approached, the game was still in the balance.

Mitchell was guilty of missing a great opening as was McCluskey, whilst Duffy rattled the crossbar and King blasted a close range header over the top as Cash rode their luck to half time.

Half Time 0:1

Despite their dominance, the failure to close out the game and take chances, as well as having to tend with a poor referee, meant that the second half would be a much tighter affair.  Dtown were aware ‘Cash would have opportunities and this was proven the case in the opening minutes of the second half when, after nice trickery on the right hand side, the Cash forward was left an open net to equalise, fortunately for Dtown, puilling his effort wide under pressure from Harrison.  This should have been the catalyst for Dtown to kick into gear, but in fact, in what became an end to end game it was Cash who got a deserved leveller with 20 mins remaining, their substutue pouncing from 10 yards after Dtown failed to deal with a corner correctly.

Dtown continued to spurn chances, which is unlike them this season, this time Duffy lacking composure when clear on goal, and it seemed extra time was looming.

However, credit to the character in the team, from a well won set piece by Wright, Mitchell was able to head home to give Dtown the advantage.  Expectedly, Cash pushed and pressed in the final 10 minutes and only for a fine save and last ditch interception from Bennett, would have once again levelled.

In-form striker Mitchell sealed the game with a few minutes remaining, calmly slotting home when released on the counter attack.

Overall, a largely dominant display, and on another day the game would have been over a as contest by the interval, and as frustrating as it was to let Cash come back into the game, credit must be given for the resolve the young Dtown side showed to see the game out.

Squad:  Robinson, King, Harrison, Duffy, Houston, Wright, Rea, Bennett, Mitchell, McCluskey, R Taylor, A Ewins, D Branker, J Irwin

MOTM: Neil King/David Houston

Improvement In Fortune Continues As Dollybirds Hold League Leaders
Despite a sticky surface both teams served up a very exciting game of football that ebbed and flowed throughout resulting in a 3-3 draw.
Glen Hand set Richy Thompson through and he calmly rounded the keeper and scored from an acute angle on the quarter hour mark and indeed same player had another great chance few minutes later but failed to convert.In the opening minutes of the second half Andy McMath had a great one on one with the keeper who saved at the near post and then lost central defender Marc Davidson with an injury with Michael Denver replacing him.

Then on 50 minutes Queen’s equalised with a very fortunate goal that the linesman flagged for offside but the referee over ruled him and minutes later McMath had yet another wonderful chance after being played in by Thompson but his snap shot went the wrong side of the far post this time.

Queen’s then went in front for the first time in the match but not without some controversy again as the Queen’s central defender was lying on the ball in his own half of the pitch and as DFC waited on a free kick the referee waved play on and on the break they went in front.

However McMath finally equalised after great move down the left by Stephen Jones and Thompson and soon after this Davy Richmond and Ryan Gourley were replaced by Ryan Lawless and Davy Gray but Queen’s went in front once more after some hesitancy in the area with five minutes left in the game.

Denver then equalised in the final few minutes for Dollingstown again this with a degree of concern this time from the Queens bench.

Overall a very good but deserved point for the home team as they try very hard to move clear off the bottom of the table against the league leaders

Special thanks to match sponsor Webro Lighting and ball sponsor Bobby Loney

2nd Half Display See’s Dollingstown In The Hat For The Next Round Of The Match Intermediate Cup

Dollingstown made the short journey to former fellow Mid Ulster competitors Hanover in the tie of the round in the Match Intermediate Cup on Saturday and came away with a very professional 2-0 victory.

Despite the loss of a number of regular players and those coming in playing in unusual positions this was a comprehensive overall team performance from the opening minutes.

Ryan Gourley forced the first chance on 8 minutes when his wicked cross was almost headed into his own net by the full back rushing back to clear and Ryan Lawless had two further great chances in the opening period but failed to convert both of them.

The second half continued at pace and after the hour mark Richy Thompson was introduced for Lawless and almost immediately DFC made the break through they deserved. Adam Patterson made a superb reverse pass to set up Glenn Hand who had led the line superbly all afternoon and he coolly slotted in at the near post.

Hanover almost equalised from a free kick that scraped the outside of the post before Davy Gray came on to replace Gourley.

Hanover went in search of the equaliser and Matty Walker made a great headed clearance from a dangerous cross before Gray wrapped up the game with a calm finish into the bottom corner.

This was a very solid overall team performance today for DFC who host table topping Queen’s next Saturday at 2pm in the league.

The Reserves And Rathfriland Share The Spoils In Entertaining Top Of The Table Clash

Our Reserves and league leaders Rathfriland Rangers battled out a 1:1 draw on Saturday, it what was a highly entertaining game, and a showcase of the level of quality in the Reserve Championship this season.

Riling from their defeat at Iveagh Park earlier in the season, Dtown were determined to make amends and started the game brightly, with Duffy creating the first opening after some excellent build up driven by Houston and Wright, with Duffy’s effort going marginally wide.

Rathfriland remained very strong and well organised, and it became apparent in the opening minutes that this would be a tight game, and as the half progressed, the visitors started to get a foothold and created several half chances, without really troubling Robinson in the home goal.

On the half hour mark, Rathfriland showed their class and typified the setup Coulter is building. Midfielder Adair was awarded a freekick on the edge of the box in a very dangerous area for the visitors. Dtown protested the freekick which was duly awarded, however, Adair got to his feet and clarified there was no contact and that the freekick was in incorrect decision. Already whistled, it stood, but Coulter stepped forward from defence and blasted the set piece out of play for a goal kick. Great sportsmanship, especially given the enormity of the game.

Minutes later Dtown were dealt another blow, when midfielder Allen collapsed unopposed with a bad knee injury and was replaced by A Denver.

The first half continued in a similar manner, with both defences on top and despite a half chance from a corner for the hosts, neither keeper was overly worked as we entered half time.

Half Time 0:0

Rathfriland had lined up a 4-3-3 and were dominant in the first half centrally, so the message at half time was for Dtown to utilise the width, and to their credit, in the opening minutes of the second half, this width allowed for several decent chances and Dtown started to dominate possession. Duffy was the architect for a decent chance for lively McCluskey and it was Duffy himself who came closest, with his acrobatic overhead kick narrowly missing the target.

Despite Dtown dominating possession in advanced areas, Rathfriland remained very dangerous on the break, and the end to end manner of the game continued with the visitors #7 very lively and on the hour mark, Rathfriland took the lead. The evergreen Adair was the architect who linked beautifully with the Rangers wide man, who finished excellently from a tight angle.

Such is the character in this Dtown side, and with time on their side, there was no sense of panic. Frustrated at conceding, skipper Wright rallied his troops and within 5 minutes, Dtown were level. The physicality of Houston and Denver fed McCluskey on the half way line, who showed great composure to feed Mitchell who prodded home from 20 yards – for a fully deserved equaliser.

The closing periods were tight, with the visitors once again posing problems and were awarded several dangerous freekicks at the game came to a finish, and in the final minutes Dtown amost stole the victory.

With both teams pushing for a winner, Dtown broke with McCluskey who delivered seeking Mitchell, but an excellent last ditch block from the centre half intercepted, and spiralled goalwards, narrowly going over the bar. Whilst it would have been gratefully received, such an unfortunate goal would have been very harsh on the visitors.

Full Time 1:1

Both sides came to Planters to take the win, and both will have thought they did enough to take the 3 points, however both unanimously agreed that a draw was the correct result.

The referees assessment was that it was a superb game, but neither goalkeeper was worked as much as would have been liked, and this is testament to the defensive display both sides showed

Overall, a well-earned and vital point for the Reserves, and once again, despite being up against it against a mature Rathfriland team, the Reserves showed great character to get themselves back into the game.

We wish Rathfriland well for the remainder of the season.

Squad: Robinson, King, Harrison, M Denver, Duffy, Houston, Wright, Allen, Bennett, Mitchell, McCluskey, A Denver, S Armstrong, E Taylor, R Taylor, N Forsythe

MOTM: Adam Harrison

10 Man Dollybirds Hold Out For The 3 Points At The New Grosvenor Stadium

Dollingstown finally secured a much needed win away to Lisburn Distillery despite playing the last 30 minutes with 10 men after skipper Aaron Moffett was harshly been shown a straight red for a robust but not malicious challenge in centre of pitch.

DFC went in front on 7 minutes when the alert Richy Thompson superbly lobbed the keeper from wide on left channel and on the quarter hour it was 2-0 when new signing Ryan Lawless headed home from a corner.

Distillery got a goal back on 40 minutes from a header that resulted from a free kick but Ryan Gourley then should have increased the lead after one on one with home keeper but failed to convert.

On 50 minutes DFC did open up a 2 goal cushion after an excellent team move with Glenn Hand crossing for Andy McMath to score but immediately the home team responded and were awarded a penalty after foul by Matty Walker who himself had been fouled initially but referee stood firm and Craig Robinson was very unlucky not to actually save the penalty low down to his right.

Then on the hour mark skipper Moffett was harshly sent off with Marc Davidson coming on for Lawless to shore up the back four.

Davy Richmond also replaced another new young signing Adam Patterson in midfield and Thompson who was operating as lone striker went on great run from half way line but his shot went wide.

Thomson was then replaced by Nathan Lavery for the final few minutes as DFC held out for massive 3 points in an effort to move off the bottom of the table.