Last minute goal by Comber punishes home side Dromara
Visitors Comber Rec, Division 1A leaders, were pushed all the way by Dromara Village, placed fourth, and secured a last minute goal to claim the points for this league match writes Jim Masson.
Comber had started the game strongly with several robust attacks and Dromara held on eventually getting into the Comber goal area after 8 minutes as Ben Martin launched a volley but it well was held by keeper Andrew Topping.
The visitors were on the rampage again and this time it was Matthew Tumlison who lashed a shot at the Dromara goal but was off target.
Dromara midfielder Jarleth Branagan was playing up some excellent passes to the front line and had a couple of useful early headers at goal but the Comber defenders were having none of it and stymied the Dromara advances. Eventually persistence paid off and Dromara’s Connaire Harrison put the ball through to Philip Kerr who was pressing towards the goal for a chance to score but he lost possession just before he could compose himself for a final shot.
Whatever Dromara threw at Comber, the visitors bounced back quickly giving Dromara no respite in this tense confrontation which saw Dylan Wilson cut the ball back to Stephen Fleck who just lost control at the last second in front of the Dromara goal. But Branagan made the best effort yet in the game with a header at the Comber goal just veering wide.
And again in a Dromara attack Philip Kerr volleyed low at the Comber net on target but was unlucky to hit the leg of a defender and won a corner.
Although Dromara were coming into the game more, the dominant team at this stage was Comber and they were certainly creating goal chances after good build ups when Comber skipper Simon Hanna launched a shot from just over 30 yards which flew over the top bar as the clock approached 30 minutes. And then Matthew Gibson passed through to Stephen Kennedy who also kicked over the posts.
The low quality shooting from both sides may have ben caused by the gusty conditions which made it difficult to get control of the ball and compose a shot.
Then it was Dromara’s turn as Branagan passed to Connaire Harrison who slipped the ball to Kennedy who almost netted were it not for the astute work of keeper Andrew Topping.
The game settled into a predicatable pattern of attacks from both sides, some almost paying off. As the first half was coming to a close Dromara were edging ahead on pressure and a half volley by Kerr from a Kennedy cross almost paid dividends.
Then just before the whistle for half-time, Comber midfielder Stephen Fleck was levelled and was awarded a free kick from 40 yards from the Dromara goal. The drama ended in the first half with Comber being declared offside after a promising run down on the right into the Dromara half.
In the second period, Dromara came out fighting and a good attack from Kennedy to Kerr showed they meant business in an early effort running through the centre.
But Comber responded with a voilley at the Dromara goal by Fleck forcing keeper Harrison to make a superb diving save on three minutes into the second half.
Dromara were managing to contain the challenges of the Comber front line and mounted a good move from Kerr and Martin to Branagan who fired just over the bar.
The match got a lot more physical and Reece Whittle received a yellow card for a heavy tackle.
Dromara forward Kerr made a great pass through to sub Marcus Murphy who turned in the box and took a shot, the ball ricocheting off the leg of a defender.
Both teams were finding opportunities to test the goalkeepers at either end yet there were no goals yet, just moments of drama punctuating this fast paced game.
At one stage Dromara had multiple shots at the Comber goal first with Kerr whose shot was held by the goalkeeper then Ben Martin and Connaire Harrison shot wide.
Comber sub Jordan Dougherty found himself looking at the open Dromara nets but skied his kick over the top bar which should have been an easy goal… a let off for Dromara just after 30 minutes.
Both teams had spells when they looked as though they could score and this added to the dramatic tension in the game which was never going to be a high scoring contest.
On 35 minutes Connaire Harrison managed to get in a low header at the Comber goal but it was underpowered and held by the keeper. The match was on a knife edge as the clock ticked and Dromara were thinking they had escaped the worst that Comber could pitch at them.
Comber started to ratchet up the action when sub Christopher Gaw crossed to sub Gareth Keenan who took his shot and hit the bar.
Dromara were living in dangerous times as the game hurtled to a close with Comber making the last heave.
Then, in a final swirl of action, it was Dromara who broke and Kennedy and Murphy made a final charge at the Comber posts, but Comber quickly bounced back and attacked winning a free kick as Keenan was fouled just outside the Dromara box. Simon Hanna crossed the ball past the Dromara goal but there were no takers to convert what would have been an easy goal.
Then in a flash of inspiration after 89 minutes played, Jordan Dougherty found the ball at his feet in the middle of the Dromara box and promptly and took his shot into the middle of the net with keeper Shane Harrison slipping as he scrambled to save the inevitable.
The Comber team were elated at scoring and held on for the remaining seconds until the final whistle.
The two teams meet again this Saturday where Dromara will be seeking a reversal of fortunes.
Dromara Village: Shane Harrison, Jonathan Gregg, Damien Turley, Luke Russell, Peter Turley, Jarleth Branagan, Ben Martin, Connaire Harrison, Stephen Kennedy, Philip Kerr. Subs: Ben Hanna, Ruairi McArdle, Marcus Murphy.
Comber Rec: Andrew Topping, Jonathan Hunter, Lex Walker, Ben Carson, Reece Whittle, Bradley Porter, Stephen Fleck, Simon Hanna (C), Dylan Wilson, Matthew Tumilson, Matthew Gibson. Subs: Chrtopher Gaw, Gareth Keenan, Jordan Dougherty.