With the weather causing havoc Downpatrick moved their home game to the impressive Bear Park, Newcastle and came away with the points in a tricky encounter, click on the link below to read more…
Match Report by Andy Hall
Saturday 5th December – NADAFL Premier Division
Downpatrick Athletic 4 v Tollymore United 2
DESPITE the best efforts of Storm Desmond, Bear Park was in immaculate condition for this game, although referee Kenny Jess was concerned about the swirling wind.
He need not have worried as Downpatrick set off like a whirlwind and with just four minutes on the clock United centre back Paul McGrady made a hash of an attempted clearance and Eoin Boyle was on hand to steer the ball past Gareth Small.
United were clearly reeling, but began to battle their way back into the game as Rory Connor, Johnny Hall, Danny McAleese and Shane Kearney all started to push forward at every opportunity. Most of Downpatrick’s attacks were originating on the left wing and Sam Strain had to be on his toes to prevent a second goal. Ruairi Fitzpatrick almost doubled his side’s advantage with a deft touch, but the ball rebounded off the crossbar. Just as United looked like getting back into the game Jamie Sharvin hit a superb effort from the edge of the box that flew past Gareth Small.
Despite the two-goal deficit Tollymore continued to work hard for each other. Shane Kearney hit an excellent pass to Adrian Howard, who managed to get in behind the Downpatrick defence. However, the experienced Mark Holland recovered to make a superb saving tackle. Shane Kearney almost pulled a goal back after he beat his marker and raced into the box, only for his angled shot to hit the outside of the post. Howard and Dodds then combined for the latter to shoot into the hands of Holland.
United could sense that they were not out of the game and so it proved when McMullan’s free kick was spilled by ‘keeper Johnny Holland for Hall to knock the loose ball into the net.
This goal rejuvenated United and some excellent work from Dodds and Howard released Danny McAleese, whose initial shot was saved by Holland, but he reacted quickest to steer the ball into the Downpatrick net from the narrowest of angles.
The game quickly moved to the other end and Small made a couple of fine saves while, defenders McGrady and Ryan Valentine were outstanding as Downpatrick picked up the pace.
Half Time: Downpatrick Athletic 2 v Tollymore United 1
Disappointingly for Tollymore, the wind picked up after the interval and was at the Downpatrick player’s backs for most of the game. Tollymore continued to defend superbly with right back Strain rarely bettered and he was well supported by McGrady and Valentine with additional help from the hard working Philip Dodds. When Downpatrick did get a sight of goal, Small made a couple of excellent saves.
With 20 minutes to go Ruairi Fitzpatrick thought he had broken the deadlock, only for his wind assisted 20 yard effort to come back off the post. With just 15 minutes to go, and Holland now playing in a more advanced role, Downpatrick broke the deadlock in rather fortuitous fashion when Sharvin’s shot deflected off both Valentine and McGrady on the way to the net. Downpatrick were now in the ascendancy and added a fourth goal just before the end when a free kick picked out Mark Holland who stabbed the ball past Small.