Killyleagh lost their unbeaten record in the Amateur League’s Division 1A as they slipped to a shock defeat at The Showgrounds on Saturday.
The YC can have few complaints about losing their first league game of the season as Rosario fully deserved their win after taking a 3-0 lead after just 30 minutes.
Killyleagh were out-thought tactically, out-fought in virtually all the key battles and outplayed by a Rosario team that showed a greater desire to win.
At half time there was only one name on people’s lips and that was Rosario hitman Joe McFlynn who scored two and earned his team a penalty opener.
It had started promisingly enough for Paul Sharvin’s YC team and even though they were struggling to find a way past a packed and well organised defence in the opening 15 minutes, they had shots to show for their efforts from Jon Joe Sharvin and Adam Neale.
But they were rocked by McFlynn who simply tortured Killyleagh and when he was sent crashing in the penalty area after 17 minutes, up stepped Mickey Ward to coolly steer the spot kick past Aaron Carberry to give Rosario the lead. Six minutes later it was 2-0 with McFlynn charging through and then offloading for Ward to supply a clinical finish.
Johnny Cheevers went close to pulling Killyleagh back into it. Instead it was 3-0 by the half hour mark when that man McFlynn struck again with another impressive finish.
The home side tried to regroup and despite efforts from Neale and Cheevers, they never seriously threatened a Rosario backline which was superbly organised by Stevie Dougal and Sean McGarrigal.
After the interval Carberry did well to keep Killyleagh in it with a super save from McFlynn, who is not always available to Rosario. There was almost an hour on the clock before the YC got in behind the Rosario backline with Peter Russell linking well with Darren McConnell. However, Jack Sharvin’s effort was over.
Remarkably Rosario had a `goal’ disallowed before Carberry brought off another brilliant save, this time to deny Carlos Santana.
By contrast Rosario keeper Seamus McFlynn made his first serious save of the game in the 64th minute, and it was a good one, high up to deny Jack Sharvin. Macauley Foster then went close from Jamie Sharvin’s cross before Rosario went down the pitch and made it 4-0. And what a goal it was. They moved the ball the entire length of the pitch, from one side to the other, before that man McFlynn applied the sure finish in the 71st minute.
There was an instant response from Killyleagh within a minute. The YC’s best player Jon Joe Sharvin exchanged passes with Declan McComiskey before producing a rocket of a finish which was all about his desire to win the ball in the box.
As Killyleagh chased an unlikely comeback, with Cheevers pushed into attack, they needed another impressive save from Carberry to spare their blushes. Then McComiskey pulled one back to make it 4-2 with eight minutes remaining.
However, there were too many unusually below-par performances all over the pitch and Sharvin’s team could not even muster a grandstand finish.
After going unbeaten in their opening 13 league games it was inevitable they would fall at some stage. Whether it is a temporary blip or a serious threat to their promotion hopes will become apparent over the next few weeks. However, they could have few complaints that they were well beaten on the day with many seasoned observers noting this was one of the most accomplished team performances seen at The Showgrounds for some time.
* The players and officials of Killyleagh YC deeply regret the death of Tom `Tucker’ Gribben. Tucker played as goalkeeper for many years at The Showgrounds, alongside his brothers John and Gerard. The club were delighted that, despite his illness, he was able to join them in August 2018 and help select the Man of the Match award against Comber Rec. Sympathy is extended to his widow Helen, children Shannon, Tiffany and Scott, and the entire family circle.