The under 14’s produced an impressive performance on Saturday morning by more than matching the league leaders but just coming up short right at the death, click on the link to read more…
Saturday 31st October – Lisburn Invitational Junior League under 14’s
Downpatrick FC 2 v Willowbank 3
Downpatrick played the league leaders who were unbeaten, so the formation changed to a 4-5-1 set up to negate any major threat from the opposition. Downpatrick played within their ethos keeping the ball on the ground and getting it out wide, playing attacking football.
The midfield of Tom Savage, Connor Rogan, Ethan Artt and Oran Bolton were working tirelessly to prevent Willowbank from causing us any problems. Adam McLean had a lone role and was a constant thorn for the two central defenders. Dylan Connolly, Connaill Gardiner, Sean Og Burns, Brian Kennedy and Andrew McGrattan soaked up any pressure and carried the ball out of defence with style. On the odd occasion they just welted the ball up front, a few words of encouragement prevented this from happening, as possession was given away needlessly.
Downpatrick were always on the front foot and caused Willowbank serious problems, both inside and on the outside of play, whether they were playing the ball through the middle or getting the ball wide to the flanks for attacks. It was on twelve minutes when we had another corner, which was whipped in by Artt. There was a melee and the ball was cleared to the edge of the box, the ball moved forward and came to Jack Fitzsimons who spun on the by line and fired a cross in field, McLean got to the ball and scored – no more that the boys deserved.
At this point of the game it was attacking football from Downpatrick, some misdirected and passes meant the play broke down in the opposition half. Chances for Bolton, McLean and Artt were at goal, but, they did not cause Willowbank’s keeper any bother. The game played out much of the same and Willowbank were happy with the score line at 1 nil.
Half Time: Downpatrick FC 1 v Willowbank 0
Downpatrick changed personnel at half time and some player’s position, Ethan Breen came on to the right wing and Bolton moved in field for Fitzsimons. Immediately Downpatrick were on the front foot again and attacked within Breen down the right channel; he ran at the defence, but, the attack petered out. Whatever was said at half time to the Willowbank team worked, they began to press Downpatrick causing a few individual errors which allowed the opposition to take control of certain attacking plays, but, the defence stood firm.
Downpatrick kept at it and they were still playing with style and within our ethos, they were making chances of their own. However, they could not capitalise any further on these chances. Willowbank were starting to get on the ball more and within no time at all, our boys were 2-1 down. The Downpatrick boys rolled up our sleeves again and it was attack after attack and it was only a matter of time before they scored. Another corner was whipped in by Artt and Og Burns met it with is head, a direct header hit the back of the net.
Willowbank then created some forward play themselves and were awarded a penalty which they missed. Liam Toner, Nathan Maguire and Gregory Kelly were all introduced to the action, but, they could not create any further opportunities. Willowbank attacked once more in the last minute of play and they squeezed home a winner. The ball was crossed in and Og Burns try to clear the ball, but, he managed to put the ball passed Connolly who could not prevent it from crossing the goal line.
A disappointing end to the game for the hard work and endeavour the boys had shown. A difficult game in more ways than one as we did not use all the subs, but, the effort and style of play from the boys was a credit to them. So much so that the Willowbank manager applauded the boys and said his team were lucky to win and that this game was the hardest they had so far this season.
This was a wonderful game to be included in for most of the players concerned. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but, the style and play from the boys was evident for all to see. They are beginning to develop, both as players and also as a team. Not the finished article by any means, but, we are on the right track. As pointed out many times to the boys; it was not the result which matters to us this year, it is the style of play, endeavour, desire which epitomises the team and the individuals involved.