Downpatrick under 14’s claim all three points against North End, this game was played in terrible conditions and credit must go to the players for a good performance.
Saturday 5th December – Lisburn Junior League under 14’s
Downpatrick FC 5 V North End 1
Saturday’s game was affected by the weather, the ground was very heavy and the rain was a major player in the match. Downpatrick got at North End from the first whistle. Immediately the ball was moved out to the wing and some neat interchange of play allowed Downpatrick to attack down the right channel and a cross was put into the box, Liam Toner and Nathan Maguire just could not get to the ball as it fizzed past them.
Tom Savage and Jack Fitzsimons were getting on the ball and some fast play created another chance. Fitzsimons played a beautiful split pass to Oran Bolton in his own half, a one-two with Maguire allowed Bolton to run thirty yards and cross the ball, Toner met the ball in the box to side foot home the cross and open the scoring.
North End took the centre and attacked, but Downpatricks defence of Gregory Kelly, Brian Kennedy, Conail Gardiner and Eamon Gargan stood strong. Kelly and Ethan Artt played some neat football down the left channel, but, the play broke down. Not to be deterred Downpatrick were attacking North End at every opportunity, the boys were playing bright expansive football, the ball came to Bolton again who took on the opposition, he attacked down the right flank and crossed the ball, Artt ghosted in from the left flank and scored.
Colin Jones and Conor Rogan were introduced after ten minutes for Maguire and Toner, to allow us to get some instruction and advice to the boys. Within a couple of minutes Jones was on the end of a cross from Fitzsimons and he scored to make it three nil. Downpatrick were very strong now and North End had no answer to the attacking play. Artt had a chance, Jones hit the post.
Kennedy and Gardiner won possession in defence for the fourth goal. The ball came to Savage, who found Bolton who ran down the wing again, and crossed the ball, it came to the edge of the box, Fitzsimons got a low shot off and he hit the back of the net. Andrew McGrattan was introduced for Kelly, again to get some instruction to the players.
North End were now playing some neat football, Kennedy lost his marker and Gardiner tried to stop play, but, gave away a penalty with a hand ball decision. North End missed the penalty. This did not deter North End and got their reward for the efforts. Dylan Connolly had made a couple of saves, but, he could not prevent the goal, some poor tackling allowed North End to shoot and score. More rotation allowed better play and again Downpatrick had opportunities at North End’s goal, Artt, Toner, Maguire, Gargan, Savage and Fitzsimons were unable to affect the score line.
Half Time: Downpatrick FC 4 v North End 1
Downpatrick identified areas that needed changing from the first half and they upped the energy levels. Again, Artt, Toner and Savage went close, but, with no joy. Downpatrick had quite a few corners, but, again they were unable to meet the delivery. However, one corner from Fitzsimons was cleared by North End and the ball came to Savage, who controlled the ball, he unleashesd a pile driver form twenty five yards, and it flew into the top corner.
Sean Og Burns was introduced to play and again the rotation of players in different positions allowed boys to try and play upfield or in defensive roles. North End were getting control of midfield and they missed a number of chances. The ball went either side of the post or Connolly pulled off a number of saves.
Downpatrick were still trying to play football, but, the play became very narrow and through the middle of the pitch as the rain took toll on the players and they tired. Gargan, Jones, Toner, Kennedy and Artt had other chances, but, they could not take the opportunities.
A fine dislay by the boys, but, the rotation of players and positions did affect the scoreline. However, we have expressed all season, this is a team for developing, not, just about how many goals we score in a game. It also al!owed us to play players in other positions in the hope that they cold understand how to play in new roles.