Striker Jamie Sharvin fired in a hat-trick as Killyleagh saw off a plucky Malachians side in atrocious weather conditions at The Showgrounds on Saturday.
The strong wind and rain turned the encounter into a real test of character for Paul Sharvin’s YC team, especially playing against the gusting wind in the second half. But they passed it with flying colours to stretch their lead at the top of the Division 1A table.
Jamie Sharvin got the home side off to a flying start when he fired home after three minutes following superb link up play between his strike partners Jack Sharvin and Adam Neale.
Within minutes, an almost identical pass from brother Jack created another opening for Jamie Sharvin but Malachians’ impressive 16 year-old goalkeeper Fintan Magee saved well.
At the opposite end in the eighth minute it took an outstanding save from the YC’s Aaron Carberry to keep his team ahead, turning away Aaron Sharpe’s header after he got in ahead of Peter Russell.
Sharvin got his second goal of the game,with Neale again the provider. It was a quality strike in the 24th minute. Then Magee showed some really safe handling in difficult conditions to keep out three subsequent efforts from Jamie Sharvin who was starting to play on fire.
Some of the one-touch football in the final third from Killyleagh was a joy to watch.
Despite the dominance of Lee Morrison and Darren McConnell in the centre of the midfield, Malachians, who are rebuilding a smart looking young team after their relegation from the Premier Section, continued to be a threat. It took a fine save with his feet from Carberry to deny Martin Jones.
Keegan Rice was a willing wing raider for Killyleagh but they could not get the third goal they deserved before the half-time whistle.
It was to be a game of two distinct halves and after the interval, the Malachians used the wind advantage to the full with Carberry called into action early on to save smartly from Sam McBurney.
The YC backline of Macaulay Foster, Niall Walsh and Jon Joe Sharvin came into its own, as the home side struggled to get out of their own half.
As the half progressed, Killyleagh grew stronger and there were strong penalty appeals when Neale was denied by what looked like a handball on the goal-line from McConnell’s corner but the ref waved away the claims.
Rice continued to be a threatening outlet and, with three minutes remaining, his surging run set up Killyleagh’s third. He found Neale free on the right and he unselfishly threaded the ball across for Jamie Sharvin rifle past Magee to complete his hat-trick.
There was still time for man-of-the-match Rice to race through and unleash a shot that thundered to safety off the crossbar.
Next up for Killyleagh is a trip to unbeaten Sirocco who have won through to the semi-finals of the Steel and Sons Cup. That should be an interesting encounter.
Killyleagh YC: Aaron Carberry, Macauley Foster, JonJoe Sharvin, darren McConnell, Niall Walsh, Lee Morrison, Keegan Rice, Jamie Sharvin, Adam Neale, Jack Sharvin, Peter Russell. Subs: Jordan Kennedy, Robert Hagan, Dylan Kelly.