PARTY pooping Abbey Villa gatecrashed Downpatrick’s promotion celebrations at Rosconnor with a clinical display to leave their hosts with nothing but flat champagne. However, results elsewhere ensured that Downpatrick do go up, but nobody in the camp was in a party mood after this reversal. Fortunately, the Division 1A crown is now tantalisingly close for Downpatrick and seven points from five games will be more than enough to see them promoted as champions, click on the link below to read more…
by Charlie McStay
Saturday 18th April – NAFL Division 1A
Downpatrick FC 2 v Abbey Villa 3
Abbey Villa, who can still take second place, were only meant to be the supporting act on Saturday, but they showed much more desire than Downpatrick did when the chips were down. Downpatrick started well enough and Eoin Boyle, who has been scoring for fun in recent games, produced a nice touch and turn on the edge of the box in the third minute before shooting narrowly wide.
Four minutes later Downpatrick seized the lead when Mark Holland stabbed the ball over the line after Aaron McGarry pounced on a loose ball in the box when Jon Munn, who was playing his first game in five weeks following injury, saved from Peter Telford. McGarry then had a goal ruled out before Andrew Telford and Boyle dovetailed beautifully, but the former shot wide. The locals continued to play some intricate, first touch football that had Abbey Villa at sixes and sevens, but its goals that count and in the 42nd minute Villa equalised when some dreadful marking at the back allowed Robbie Knox to drift wide right. The big striker looked up and had all the time in the world to put the ball on a plate for Adam Arthurs and he made no mistake with a cool finish form close in.
Half Time: Downpatrick FC 1 v Abbey Villa 1
The second half saw both sides slug it out for supremacy, but for the majority of the time it was uninspiring stuff from Downpatrick. Glimpses were seen of Downpatrick’s much vaunted attacking prowess and Jon Munn, a former Amateur League representative ‘keeper produced a point blank save to keep out a header from Peter Telford.
With 61 minutes gone Peter Telford, always an imposing figure when on the ball in front of goal, threaded a delightful ball into the path of brother Andrew, but again Munn was up to the task and saved well. Abbey Villa then stunned Downpatrick when they had the audacity to take the lead in the 68th minute when an unmarked Knox headed an Andrew Cooling free into the path of Arthurs and the tall midfielder finished with aplomb.
Downpatrick had now lost their way and were struggling to put passes together as Abbey Villa defended stubbornly and with confidence. Chances were still being created by Downpatrick, but Jon Munn denied both Telfords in a nervy finish to the game.
Downpatrick went three at the back in a bid to salvage something from the game in the dying stages and it looked like salvation arrived in the 90th minute when an improvised overhead kick from Andy Baggley was helped into the net by a Villa defender for a dramatic equaliser. A point would do Downpatrick to guarantee promotion, but Villa weren’t finished and two minutes into added time with the hosts looking for a winner, Knox broke away from the halfway line, shrugged off Chris McDowell and beat Michael McKenna all ends up for a sensational winner.
Downpatrick: M. McKenna, B. Fitzsimons, C. Holland, N. Walsh, M. Holland, A. Baggley, B. Treacy, P. Telford, A. McGarry, A. Telford, E. Boyle. Subs: C. McCarron, C. McDowell, T. Bell.
Abbey VIlla: J. Munn, M. Foster, B. Hylands, P. Magee, A. Cooling, R. Munn, C. McConkey, A. Arthurs, R. Knox, G. Sharratt, G. Shaw. Subs: M. Dunbar, D. Johnston.