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