New Era For DFC Reserves Starts With 3 Points After Tough Lurgan Town Encounter

On Saturday 5th September 2020 seen Dollingstown Reserves make the short trip to Lurgan to play the first league game of the season vs Lurgan Town Reserves. The team had put in a lot of hard work in pre-season in preparation but due to a large numbers of injuries went into the game with a depleted squad, but this didn’t stop Dollingstown leaving Lurgan with the 3 points.

First Half

Both teams started the game with a lot of intensity creating a fair amount of chances in the game in a scrappy start, but after 10-15 mins Dollingstown really started to settle into the game with some sharp passing. Dollingstown had to back to back chances with a close effort from Stevie Drumm and a great block from the Lurgan Town player from a Spence strike after good link up play with Hughes. Dollingstown finally got the lead after great build up play seen Drumm set free and use his pace to get away from the defence to square the ball to Hughes for a well taken finish. 1-0. Not long after seen another Dollingstown goal and another goal for Hughes after pinball in the Lurgan Town’s box seen the ball find the net after a back heel finish. 2-0. Lurgan created a big chance of there own before the break but a good stop from Ellison keep the lead of 2 goals at the break.

Second Half Into the second half the tide of the game changed with Lurgan Town coming out fast and trying to bring the game to Dollingstown, creating some big chances of there own but again Ellison in goal and the back 4 stood firm. Forced changes for Dollingstown seen McDowell leave the pitch for White and the goalscorer Hughes make way for Dickson later in the game let Dollingstown bring fresh legs to the pitch and continue the battle to keep a clean sheet on the opening day with big help through a brilliant defensive performance from Thompson. Dollingstown created a big final chance with a high ball being taken down with a fantastic touch from Spence to drive away from the defence and square to Toland who narrowly missed the target.

Full Time 2-0

Man Of The Match – Martin (Doc) Hughes

Well Done to the boys on a winning start to the season. And also best of luck to Lurgan Town F.C for the season ahead.

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

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

DFC Resreves Good Form Continues As They Brush Hanover Aside In Awful Conditions

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.

Hanover with the wind at there backs tried to use it to their advantage but came up against a defence lead by Harrison that were not for lossing the lead, dollingstown exploited the fact that Hanover were trying to press high up the pitch and hit twice more before half time, the  second was a drilled half volley from skipper wright and the third a delightful finish from the excellent Allen.
Hanover came out in the second half quickly as expected but when the hard working McCluskey was fouled skipper Wright dispatched the free kick for his second with great technique.
Hanover to their credit didn’t quit instead they went straight at Dtown and for the next period kept coming with waves of attacks which eventually ended with them scoring from a corner.
Dollingstown managed to get the game under control and started to pass the ball in the manner there are capable of this took all the momentum away from Hanover and the to cap off a great performance in terrible conditions, a through ball chased by McCluskey who never stopped running and on another day could have bagged a couple himself put pressure on the keeper hindering him from a clearance and up stepped Wright to complete his hat trick by chipping the keeper from 35 yards.
This was a great win for the reserves and to a man they deserve the credit for a team in very difficult conditions.
The Reserves Book 1/4 Final Spot In Wilmor Johnston Memorial Cup

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

MOTM: Bennett

Goals:  Bennett (2), Wright, Montgomery, McCluskey

DTown Bring Back The 3 Points From Their Trip To The Mournes

Saturday 1st December 2018

Valley Rangers Res 1:4 Dollingstown Res

Our Reserves recovered from a poor start to claim their best victory of the season away in Kilkeel.

Aware of the hosts formidable home record this season, and always a difficult place to visit, this was tipped as a very difficult fixture for Dtown, and within a few minutes, this was proven.

Dtown started sluggish, not competing on second balls, and without rhythm on the impressive artificial surface, and were duly punished after 10 minutes when a long ball was not dealt with allowing the Valley forward to finish well to give the hosts a deserved lead.  Dtown were fortunate to remain in the game in the opening quarter, Harrison twice coming to their rescue with last ditch blocks and goalline clearances and only for a poor decision from the Valley forward when released 3 on 2, Dtown would have fallen further behind.

Dtown gradually grew into the half and had a goal disallowed for offside before the turning point in the game after 25 minutes.  After being fouled initially and advantage being played, Dtowns Houston committed a heavy foul on the half way line. Houston was correctly cautioned, but the nature of the tackle led to minor scuffles and handbags, after which Valley seemed to lose focus for what had been a dominant display to this point.

Dtown were somewhat fortunate to equalise shortly after but momentum was shifting, as Duffy’s low corner was sliced into his own net by a Valley defender, and only minutes later, Dtown took the lead, when McCluskey was upended, with Captain Wright despatching the spot kick.  Midfielders Rea, Houston and Wright were now starting to dominate, and despite their opening pressure, Valley had lost their way and to our credit, Dtown started to dictate the tempo and were rewarded with another goal when another fine corner from Duffy was powered home by centre half Harrision to ensure Dtown carried their lead to half time.

Half Time 1:3

Dtown were made aware that despite holding a lead, their level of performance was below the standard expected and were challenged to manage the game for the second period and come away with a vital victory, and credit is due, because the second period was overcome in a more controlled and dominant display.

Valley, as expected, remained threatening up top but our back three remained composed and marshalled the Valley front line well in the opening exchanges before the result was confirmed when some excellent inter play from Armstrong, Rea and McCluskey, fed the lively Allen who cooly lobbed the onrushing Valley keeper to make it 4.1

The final 30 minutes of the game was particularly pleasing for the coaching staff, with Dtown showing a maturity in managing the game, whilst remaining competent in possession.  Valley’s frustrations continued and they saw red twice late on for lack of discipline which allowed Dtown to see out the game with little cause for concern.

Overall, despite the poor start, this was an excellent performance away from home, equally as pleasing was the manner in which Dtown recovered and was a well deserved victory.

Next up Dtown host Oxford Sunnyside Res in the Wilmor Johnston Memorial Cup on 8th December at Planters Park.

Full Time 1:4

Squad:  Robinson, Harrison, Bennett, Armstrong, Houston, E Rea, Wright, Allen, R Taylor, McCluskey, Duffy, J Irwin, Branker, E Taylor

MOTM: Adam Harrison

Goals:  OG, Wright, Harrison, Allen

The Dollybirds Head Into Round 4 Of The Fonacab Irish Junior Cup

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