NAFL Division 1A – Saturday 15th September
Dundonald FC 4 – Downpatrick FC 2
Downpatrick left with nothing from the Billy Neill Centre after a fierce encounter which saw no fewer than 6 yellow and 2 red cards. Dundonald came out brightest in the opening 10 minutes, creating several chances which were well saved by keeper Conan Russell. After a nervy start the Downpatrick side settled down. On 15 minutes Conail McGrady went on a wavy run, beating three defenders before being taking down at the edge of the Dundonald box. Barry Tracey then stepped up to take the kick and made no mistake firing into the top left hand corner from 25 yards.
In the next 5 minutes Downpatrick pushed on for the second goal and had a couple of chances but the Dundonald keeper saved well from strikers Boyle and Galbraith. In a perfect example of counter-attacking football, Dundonald drew level on the 30 minute mark. After clearing a Downpatrick corner the men in red broke away creating a 4 v 3 attack, Striker Smith was played through and made no mistake, finishing to the bottom corner from just inside the box.
Minutes later Dundonald took the lead when a Taylor free kick rattled the Downpatrick post only to fall to striker Smith, who doubled his tally for the day from close range and give Dundonald a 2-1 lead at half-time.
As the second half got underway it was obvious that this game could go either way as both teams attacked one another’s net. Downpatrick went 3-1 down in the cruelest fashion when Galbraith tried to clear only for the ball to deflect back off one of his own men, playing through striker Campbell in the process. The big striker accepted the gift and slotted home to give Dundonald a 3-1 lead.
While Downpatrick were still reeling from the 3rd goal Dundonald got number 4, with a textbook cross from the flank to Campbell who got his second of the day from close range. Downpatrick were dealt a lifeline when Dundonald defender Russell was shown red after he brought down Stephen Galbraith, just as he was about to pull the trigger right on the 18 yard line. Up stepped Barry Tracey again, striking a carbon copy of his first free kick and bringing Downpatrick back into the game.
After this Downpatrick made the most of the extra player and pressed the Dundonald goal to get back into the game. They had good chances through Boyle, McMahon and Galbraith. However, the Dundonald keeper was letting nothing through. Downpatrick were dealt a killer blow on the 70 minute when Chris Perry was harshly shown red for a hard challenge.
This took the pressure off Dundonald and they were happy to keep the ball in the last 15 minutes to seal all three points. Downpatrick will hope to turn this around when they entertain Grove Utd this Saturday.
Downpatrick team: 1) C Russell 2) G Trueman 3) C McDowell 4) C Perry 5) M Curran 6) C Curran 7) B Treacy 8) T Bell 9) E Boyle 10) S Galbraith 11) C McGrady 12) K Trueman 13) T Bell 14) S McMahon