Newcastle and District Amateur Football League
Premier League Saturday 5th January 2019
Report by Cyril McKinney.
Ardglass 0 2 Ballynagross.
Ardglass entertained their near neighbours on a really cold afternoon and for long periods of this game frustrated their opponents on a very uneven pitch.
Ballynagross started well and were in front on at 7 minutes when Eoin McCavera won the ball on the left wing and crossed for Deaglan Arnold to slot home unmarked from 6 yards putting the visitors ahead.
Although Ballynagross continued to have a lot of the play, they could not get past the Ardglass defence which was resolute and strong in the tackle with Daniel Fleming and Christopher Taggart outstanding in marshalling the ‘Gross front two of Arnold and Dowie.
As the half progressed it became a congested battle of the two midfields – Ardglass’s Malachy Crangle and Jordan Finnegan up against the ‘Gross’s Matthew Rooney and Mark Magill. With little time on the ball and a bumpy pitch it was difficult for creative play from both sides. Ardglass forward DanielMaginn battled hard up front but was well marshalled by the Ballynagross midfielder Gary Carberry. Apart from a couple of long-range efforts from Ardglass, Cathail Arnold ‘Gross keeper was virtually a mere spectator in the first half.
Into the second half and straight from the restart, Dowie progressed at pace down the right wing and crossed for Magill to hit the post with a header with Ardglass keeper Darren Clarke beaten.
The second half continued much the same as the first half with the ‘Gross generally on top with Ardglass rarely threatening in the final third.
On 67 minutes Ballynagross won a free midway in the Ardglass half and Rooney found Carberry on the back post and as he headed back across the goal Arnold reacted and finished in style to put the ‘Gross two up.
Immediately Ardglass fought back desperately trying to redress the growing deficit and sent on subs Aidan Finnegan, Christian O’Connor and Karl O’Neill which appeared to have an instant effect.
Ardglass pressed forward with more urgency but were held at bay by some solid defending from Carberry, sub O’Reilly and the veteran ex-Ardglass player Aaron Beattie.
Ballynagross keeper Cathail Arnold nearly had a nightmare day to forget on 82 minutes when he missed his kick from a defender’s back pass and had to scramble to the ball before it crossed his goal line. On 85 minutes Ballynagross found the back of the net for a third time but while they were in congratulation mode, the referee ruled it out as an offside goal much to their disappointment.
The game ended with Ardglass on the offensive, but they were unable to find the cutting edge to threaten the Ballynagross rearguard.
Overall Ballynagross were worthy winners on a day but the uneven pitch may well have been a factor in how the game unfolded.
Ardglass FC: Darren Clarke, Matthew Shearer, John Feenan, Daniel Fleming, Christopher Taggart, Shane Taggart, Malachy Crangle, Jordan Finnegan, Daniel Maginn, James Mahoney, John Beattie. Subs: Aidan Finnegan for Christopher Taggart, Christian O’Connor for Beattie , Karl O’Neill for Jordan Finnegan.
Ballynagross FC: Cathail Arnold, Conor Marron, Paddy Smith, Aaron Beattie, Gary Carberry, Mark Magill, Donal McCavera, Matthew Rooney, Declan Dowie, Deaglan Arnold, Eoin McCavera. Subs : John Shields for Eoin McCavera , Paul O’Reilly for Marron, Daniel Taggart for Magill.