Dollingstown Res 3:1 Hillsborough Boys (Junior Cup Round 3)
Our Reserves progressed to the fourth round of the Junior Cup with a hard fought but efficient victory over Hillsborough Boys at Gordon PF on Saturday.
As has been the case on the past few weeks, Dtown were up against an unknown side who have been in good form, recently beating Rathfriland Rangers from the Reserve Championship, and as the game began, it was apparent Hillsborough were going to provide a tough test for our developing side.
The opening 10 minutes were played at a high tempo, with both sides creating several half chances, the most notable when McCluskey chased a deep cross from Branker, and seemed to be upended in the box, but his protests were waved away by the referee. Hillborough’s pacey front line and direct approach meant they were going to remain dangerous, and indeed could have taken the lead before the half hour, their centre forward not connecting properly from 10 yards.
Dtown were dealt an early blow when winger Branker was forced off with a head injury on the half hour, replaced with R Taylor.
The tie remained physical and combative until 10 minutes before half time when, after some smart movement by Allen and McCluskey, the latter was able to break free and calmly finish to give the hosts the lead, probably deserved on the balance of possession. The same ebb and flow continued until half time, with Dtown starting to enforce the midfield with Houston in particular winning his own personal battle with the busy #7 from Hillsborough.
Half Time 1:0
In the opening minutes of the second half, Dtown took further control. Having been asked to press higher at half time, Dtown got their rewards when captain Wright was on hand firstly to win possession and then finish smartly following a mistake by the visitor’s centre half to give Dtown a cushion that allowed them to go on and see out the game.
The moment of the match came half way through the second half with a goal of exceptional quality. Following a midfield tangle, Houston fed Taylor who delivered to Allen just outside the opposition area. Allen controlled neatly, swivelled and volleyed in one movement to the bottom corner, a fantastic finish and rewards for a fine display.
Being comfortable at 3.0, and rather than continue to press to further their advantage, Dtown dropped their standards and following a tactical change from Hillsborough, the hosts came under considerable pressure, and the visitors were rewarded for a dominant spell with a superb free-kick to set up what was a nervy ending to the game with Hillsborough only fine margins away from pulling a second back, only for the impressive ONeill.
Overall, a comprehensive victory, but credit to Hillsborough Boys for the manner in which they pressed late in the game. Hillsborough remained threatening throughout but were well marshalled by Harrsion, Bennett and Forsythe and ultimately, the home side took their chances early to effectively end the contest.
Full Time 3:1
Next up for Dtown is a tough trip to Kilkeel to face Valley Rangers in the league
Squad: O’Neill, Harrison, Forsythe, Bennett, Armstrong, Houston, A Denver, Wright, Allen, Branker, McCluskey, Duffy, A Ewins, R Taylor
MOTM: Neil Allen
Goals: McCluskey, Allen, Wrigh