Dromara Village Still On Course For Promotion

Dromara pile on the pressure to Abbey Villa

Dromara pile on the pressure to Abbey Villa

NAFL League Division 1A,

Bellsbridge pitch,

Saturday 4th February,

Dromara Village 4 0 Abbey Villa.

If Dromara Village stay on course they will be playing in the NAFL Premier League next season given their current form in Division 1A writes Jim Masson.

The Bellsbridge team are top of their league sitting on 42 points after 14 games unbeaten and Kilmore Rec are next with 15 games completed but with only 31 points in the bag.

Dromara have won every league match so far this season and have the highest number of goals scored. Therefore, against this form, it must have been a daunting challenge facing Abbey Villa who in the first half particularly gave a good account of themselves.

Alex Burtney clears the ball for Dromara as Villa’s Chris Murray challenges. (Match photos by © Jim Masson).

Villa started off by marking closely trying to keep some control on the game and restrict attacking moves by Dromora, and for almost a half hour it worked frustrating the Dromara forays.

For the fist 15 minutes the game flowed to and fro as the teams settled down. Then Villa started to put on a bit of pressure Alan Strain managed to get off a volley on target at the Dromara goals but keeper John Connolly held it well.

Villa were exploring the tight Dromara defence but had few close opportunities.

Dromara’s Luke Russell in possession as Villa’s Luke Russell closes in.

On a break, Dromara forward Alex Burtney made an excellent cross to Alex Marshall in the box but the ball floated too high for the header to be on target and effective but it showed that Dromara were also sizing up the Villa nets.

Then at 27 minutes Dromara made a move on the Villa goals and Philip Kerr netted the ball but the referee deemed it to be a non-goal. The home side were never-the-less showing their clear intentions to open up the scoring.

And 2 minutes later Rhys Kelly scored from a Jon Gregg pass and Dromara were 1-0 to the better.

Dromara celebrated their goals in the second half as they applied themselves to Abbey Villa.

Villa fought back and won a corner. The resulting header by Alex McIlmail was well held by keeper John Connolly.

Burtney was unlucky not to score minutes later when he went one-to-one with the Villa keeper.

Tensions were increasing at this point and Villa’s Chris Murray picked up a yellow for raising his boot too high.

Villa did make some lively attacks but could not get past the Dromara defenders who were well organised and resolute. Kyle Irwin did make a long low volley on target but keeper Connolly held it well.

On 44 minutes, the Villa pressure almost paid off for an equaliser when defender Ryan MUrray crossed to Luke McGrugan whose shot on target connected well but bounced off midfielder Peter Turley.

Stephen Kennedy played his part in the Dromara victory over Abbey Villa.

Then a minute later Abbey’s C McGrugan slotted in finally to equalise just on the whistle.

The second half started in a heavy, cold drizzle and Dromara came out focussed on their task in hand.

Just 3 minutes in, pressure from Dromara saw Ryhs Kelly get possession in the box and knock the ball into the net.

Minutes later Nathan Hamilton was injured for Dromara and was substituted by Ben Martin who immediately applied himself to the task against Villa.

Then Turley almost netted too as the opportunities to score were opening up. Dromara were starting to assert themselves in the game.

Villa had their chances too and McIlmail took one free kick which was on target but stopped by Burtney.

The close marking by the Villa defence made it more difficult for Dromara to get an attacking flow moving, however, Phip Kerr and Stephen Kennedy up front for Dromara were working hard.

Philip Kerr was on the ball for Dromara.

Then on 70 minutes, Philip Kerr had a couple of kicks bouncing off the keeper to net the ball to put Dromara 3-1 up.

Again Villa fought back but Dromara replied with a fierce shot from Burtney which shook the crossbar making a clear statement that Dromara had not finished yet.

On the 80th minute, Stephen Kennedy was on form and took a goal well from inside the box to put Dromara 4-1 up making a comeback for Villa all but impossible.

Dromara smelled blood now and Martin made a great cross which fired past the Villa goal and Kerr just missed the knock in.

The first goal for Dromara was disallowed.

Burtney followed this with a super volley at an angle but it was just over the Villa back post.

Villa tried to rally and claw back a goal but the Dromara defence were having not on that.

It was a convincing victory for Dromara Village who continued their unbeaten league record this season much to the delight of their supporters. One of their joint top goal scorers, Marcus Murphy, was absent, so Dromara still have more firepower in the bag as the season progresses to its climax.

Dromara Village: 1 John Connolly 2 Jon Gregg 3 Jordan Clarke 4 Luke Russell (C) 5 Peter Turley 6 Nathan Hamilton 7 Rhys Kelly, 8 Damien Turley 9 Philip Kerr 10 Stephen Kennedy 11 Alex Burtney. Subs: 12 Ben Hanna, 14 Ruairi McArdle 15 Ben Martin.

Abbey Villa: 1 Ross Murray 2 Ryan Murray 3 Greg Fleming 4 Alan Strain (C) 5 Scott Robbie 6 Jordan Barnes 7 Chris Murray 8 Luke Cummins 9 Alex McIlmail 10 Luke McGrugan, 11 Kyle Irwin. Subs: Casey Courtney 14 Jack Mallin 15 Chris McKay.