Division 1A – League Match.
Comber Fail To Take Home Advantage Against Dromara
After the shock defeat last week when Comber nicked a goal in the last minute against Dromara at Bellsbridge, in a game goal-less up to that point, Dromara came out fighting on their visit to Comber on Saturday and did not disappoint. They were the dominant team on the day and the lack-lustre Comber side just failed to impress writes Jim Masson.
It was Dromara that made the running early on and continued pressure for most of the match with a few spells when Comber reared up.
After five minutes both teams settled down for a spell of attacking and Comber captain Simon Hanna managed to fire off a volley through the tight Dromara defence but it was wide.
Dromara’s Damien Turley made a great pass to new signing from Killyleagh Stephen Kennedy who fired on target but Comber half back Reece Whittle just managed to get a toe to the ball to deflect it from goal.
Then a volley from Marcus Murphy at the back of the Comber box to under the bar beat keeper Andrew Topping putting Dromara one goal ahead on 7 minutes.
Comber fought back immediately and Kristopher Gaw was just wide of the Dromara posts. This heralded prospects of another hard-fought close match with both teams giving their all.
The homeside attacked again with an excellent pass from Gaw to Matthew Tumlinson whose shot on target was held by keeper Alistair Coburn. Comber managed to work a couple of useful initiatives into the Dromara box but could not convert.
Then on 16 minutes Gaw broke through the centre unchecked and for a split second when it looked as through he had lost the ball to the Comber defence, Philip Kerr came steaming through and launched a pile driver at the Comber goal. Keeper Topping got a leg to it but the ball spun off and rolled into the goal.
Comber fought back again and Hanna had a good header on target which was blocked, and just later Gaw shot over the bar. The home side stepped up the pressure on Dromara and won a corner giving the defence a break from the Dromara attacks.
Dromara forced play up field again and Kerr made a tremendous volley on target forcing Topping to make a diving save to keep the ball out of the net. Then minutes later Kerr put through to Stephen Kennedy who lashed the ball into the top of the Comber net putting Dromara 3 goals ahead all in the space of under 30 minutes.
Comber now had their backs to the wall and once again came out fighting and this time it was Dromara who forced play back into the home side’s half. Comber just had no answer to the rampant Dromara attacks.
An excellent move from Ben Martin to Kerr to Marcus Murphy put the Comber defence under pressure and a short cross from Kerr to Murphy again saw keeper Topping forced to make a critical save.
Comber were still fighting back when they could and finally after a few attacks on the Dromara goal Tumlison found possession on 32 minutes in front of the Dromara goal in a goal mouth scramble and chipped the ball into the net.
This bit of welcome drama by Comber gave a some Christmas hope to their supporters. Minutes later Gaw was just off target with a rocket just wide of the Dromara posts. As the first half closed, Murphy was continuing to make useful crosses into the Comber goal but Comber were pressing as hard as they could to close the goal margin as their reputation as league leaders was as=t stake.
In the second period, Comber made the running and Dylan Wilson had a good run but was denied a shot at goal by Kennedy.
It was Dromara’s turn to attack and Kerr volleyed just wide keeping Comber under pressure.
The game became much more physical and before long a yellow card was dished out to Comber’s Stuart Moore for a hard tackle on Kennedy. Comber were trying to claw back the goal difference but Dromara were rising to the challenge and Kennedy was just wide on one effort just inches from the Comber posts.
At this stage Jonathan Gregg was coming more into the game feeding balls to the Dromara front line and Comber had no answers as the visitors made frequent attacks into their half. Twenty minutes into the second half Hanna received a yellow card for running into the Dromara goal area and colliding with keeper Coburn.
Dromara’s Ben Martin was working well in the second half and helped push Comber back into their own half. At this stage of the game, players were feeling the pace and many were cramping up.
Comber enjoyed a period of ten minutes when they pressurised the Dromara defence but the visitors remained calm and held their ground. Dromara then went back on attack mode and it was a crafty back-healer from Marcus Murphy that put Dromara another goal ahead and no way back for Comber.
Comber were starting to show the signs of wear and tear between injury and cramps but sub Paul Hughes made an excellent foray into the Dromara half on a solo run but was eventually beaten by the Dromara defence who played well on the day. Hughes made a couple more runs but was well pegged down when he came near the Dromara goal.
This was a match well won by visiting side Dromara and a vindication for their defeat the previous week at Bellsbridge.
Comber Rec: Andrew Topping, Jonathan Hunter, Lex Walker, Stuart Moore, Reece Whittle, Bradley Porter, Ben Carson, Simon Hanna (C), Dylan Wilson, Matthew Tumlinson, Kristopher Gaw. Subs: Stuart Hanna, Eamonn Connor, Paul Hughes.
Dromara Village: Alistair Coburn, Jordan Clarke, Ben Hanna, Luke Russell, Ruairi McArdle, Damien Turley, Ben Martin, Jonathan Gregg, Philip Kerr, Stephen Kennedy, Marcus Murphy. Subs: Matthew McCandless, Shane McArdle, Jonathan Gamble.