14’s Secure A Point In The Dying Seconds

The under 14’s rescued a point against TW Braga in the dying seconds of Saturday’s match, the boys recovered from two goals down, click on the link below…

Saturday 12th September – Lisburn Junior Invitational League

TW Braga 2 v Downpatrick FC 2

The team talk before the game was to encourage cool calm heads and play with freedom. It was not heeded, the whistle blew and the boys were on the back foot immediately. A penalty was conceded in the first minute, the defence tried to control the ball and play out, but, it was handled. Braga scored from the resulting penalty, Connolly diving the wrong way, (1-0). The boys were all over the place in every area of the pitch and could not get a foot hold or to grips, Braga was dominating.

Downpatrick FC were also guilty of poor play, bad passing or little movement off the ball, no-one wanted to take control. Again, poor play allowed Braga to nick the ball from one of our attacks; they moved the ball down the right flank. The midfield did not track back and the defence were over run, the ball was not cleared and Braga scored from a shot inside the box (2-0). Downpatrick FC was trying to play football, but, some indecision and poor passing allowed Braga to control the game.

A couple of substitutions were made and a switch of positional play for some players benefited the team. They began to control the midfield and dominate the game; it was time for Braga to defend. Rogan, Fitzsimons, Bolton, McGrattan and Artt were winning their duals and creating goal scoring opportunities. Toner was working tirelessly up front, but, with no joy. It was attack after attack; Artt was guilty of missing three opportunities, he put the ball wide each time. It was then Jones who had a one-on-one with the keeper and he screwed his shot wide. For all their endeavour and attacking play, the defence of McGrattan, Kelly, Og Burns and Kennedy still had to be on their toes to prevent a counter-attack from Braga. Downpatrick were still trying to play attractive football, but, wayward passing in the final third or players holding onto the ball too long allowed the play to breakdown.

Half Time: TW Braga 2 v Downpatrick FC 0

A good chat at half-time allowed the managers and players to regroup. A couple of changes to personnel due to injury made for a switch in formation. This was the catalyst as the boys got at Braga from the off. To quote an old adage, this definitely was a game of two halves. Downpatrick’s play was sensational; they were playing with gusto and confidence. Gardiner and Maguire were playing in different roles, but, they were excelling. However, an injury to McGrattan meant we had to rearrange positions again. Gardiner dropped back to right back, but, he was on fire, his overlapping and support play was exceptional.  Bolton, Fitzpatrick and Rogan were continuing to provide chances for Artt, Maguire, Jones and Toner.

It seemed to be one of those days when nothing was going to go right for the boys. Maguire was getting at the Braga’s defence; his strength and desire to get the ball epitomized the teams play. However, one such attack Maguire found Fitzsimons with a pass; he scored from the shot (2-1).

The boys were still playing football and Braga was also dangerous on the break. Again the defence was resolute, Gardiner, Og Burns, Kennedy, Kelly and Connolly were standing firm. Connolly pulling off more saves. The boys were now pushing for that second goal; it was an onslaught at times. Kennedy volleyed a shot from close quarters, but, managed to miss.

Downpatrick got another corner with thirty seconds to go and everyone was in the penalty box. Artt put the delivery in and Maguire managed to get his foot on the ball and he flicked it into the net (2-2), the jubilation was there for all to see. It was nothing more that the players deserved. The full-time whistle blew.

Squad: Connolly, Gardiner, Maguire, Og Burns, Kennedy, Artt, Fitzsimons, Bolton, Rogan, Toner, McGrattan, Jones, Kelly

Man of the Match: Rogan

It was another game under their belt for the team. It maybe another draw for the team, but, it is an experience all the same for the boys. As usual we always discuss events with the boys and they were of the opinion that the first half was very slow and little opportunity or movement from the players prevented decent football.

The second half was a different comparison, they played with freedom and the football was fast-flowing and a joy to watch. The team were missing a few players due to other codes of sport and injury. We think this affected the players as well, there little self-belief in their ability. This changed after the match. The squad is big enough to cope with the demands of the league and the sooner each player understands that, the better football will be played and development for all to see.

The support from the parents was exceptional, applauding all the players for their efforts. The parents need to take some plaudits as well, constantly encouraging and supporting the boys.