Ballynahinch Olympic suffer a defeat on their home turf against Immaculata
Venue: Kilmore Playing Fields on Saturday 4th December.
A few places above Ballynahinch Olympic in the Premier League table, Immaculata was never going to be an easy nut to crack.
But that nut became ever greater in size after the visitors ran quickly through the Olympic defence before they settled at the whistle at the start of the match and scored just inside 30 seconds. James Haughey was in overdrive from the start and sent the ball over the keeper after having found space into the middle of the net.
Immaculata tried to push Olympic and get a second goal and volleys by Terence McDonald and Gary McVicker sent a stern message to Olympic they would have to be on their best to survive this match intact and salvage points.
On 11 minutes, Haughey knocked the ball in again, an easy goal.
But not to be outdone, Olympic replied with an excellent pass from Chris McNamara to Nathan Jones who lashed the ball under the bar to claw back a goal after 20 minutes play.
Immaculata stayed focused and a good move from McDonald to Haughey again almost paid off as they go themselves very close to the Olympic goal for a scoring chance. However, Olympic were trying to pull themselves out of the morasse they were sliding into and attacked on the right led by Niall Murray but McVicker received a yellow card for a rough tackle on McNamara. The game was certainly getting more physical and the freezing cold day with a biting wind made the contacts all the more painful.
At around 30 minutes, Immaculata were doing most of the pressing, then Murray broke up the right again and won a free at the half way line taking the pressure off the Olympic back line who were working very hard.
Approaching half-time, Adams unleashed a volley at the Olympic goal but keeper Matthew McAllister made a very competent save palming it down. Then it was Olympic’s turn to break forward and Adam McClean sent off a rocket at the Immaculata goal on target and keeper McAuley was forced to make a diving save to push the ball out of play. Ballynahinch were fighting back strongly with quick attacks and for once in the game looked as though they could shake off their fears of being run over by Immaculata.
Then just before the half-time whistle, a ball played forward to Olympic forward McNamara who was onside and looking at a goal but Immaculata keeper McAuley raced out fast and there was a clash of heads when they met and both were injured. The referee awarded a penalty to Olympic and Colm O’Riordan made no mistake slotting the ball inside the left hand post to make the second half score 2-2.
In the second half Olympic had a slight wind advantage and pressed forward to try and secure their third goal. Conor Reid was unlucky with one shot from 30 yards as it went just wide of the post. Immaculata relpied with a pass from Haughey to Fallon but he skied the opportunity.
Olympic were starting to feel confident again and looked a better side in the second half. As Olympic started to put Immaculata under pressure, McNamara picked up a yellow card, and shortly after made an excellent cross to the head of Nathan Jones who headed just wide of the post. This pairing worked well and a few attacks were mounted on the Immaculata goal area.
But Immaculata took their opportunity to seize a break and got up to the Olympic goal area and won a penalty for a handball in the area. This was a real point of frustration for Olympic who remonstrated over the decision. But Brian McCaul stepped up to the spot and popped the ball into the left hand side of the Olympic net foxing keeper Matt McAllister.
This must have got under Olympic’s skin after a good run in handling their difficult opponents as 3 minutes later Haughey ran at the defenders in the box and hit a low ball beating McAllister putting Immaculata 2-4 ahead.
As the game trundled on, 2 goals was a big ask for Olympic as the visitors were again pushing the ball into their half. Adams had one notable shot at the Olympic goal on target but it was well handled by McAllister.
Eventually as the game because a physical challenge, Olympic fought back and took some control of play away from Immaculata and tried to pull back the goal difference which was technically still do-able in the last 15 minutes.
But despite working as hard as they could, Immaculata held off Olympic. The match ended up with the referee waving a red and yellow card at the Olympic dugout. This was never going to be an easy match for Olympic who played well in phases and created some great scoring opportunities with Murray, McNamara and Jones in the action.
Ballynahinch Olympic: Matt McAllister, Dalton Tate, James Macleanm Darren McClean, Jason Noade, Matt Murray, Conor Reid, Adam McClean, Chris McNamara, Stephen McGoran, Nathan Jones. Subs:Gavin McMullan, Conor Killen, Liam Burns.
Immaculata: Daire McAuley, Darren Bellew, Michael Fisher, Caomhhan Slane, Brian McCaul. Colm O’Riordan, Padraig Adams, Martin Bradley, Terence McDonald, Gary McVicker, James Haughey. Subs: Adrian Oliver, Daniel Jackson, Emmet Fallon.