Border Cup 2nd Round.
Venue: The Showgrounds, Killyleagh.
Killyleagh YC 3 Dromara V 1.
Jamie Sharvin’s stunning strike on the stroke of half-time made it 3-1 and ensured it would be Killyleagh going into the hat for the third round after an encounter which will not live long in the memory – except for a once-in-a-lifetime goal writes Chris Hagan.
Sharvin had been presented with a new match ball before kick off by sponsor Jim Masson, editor of Down News, and Sharvin obviously took a shine to it with a memorable goal in this game.
Both teams were far from full strength mainly due to Covid absences, with Dromara without four regulars and Killyleagh without three. And perhaps that was a decisive factor in what was a disappointing and largely forgettable cup tie.
Killyleagh settled quickest and after six minutes Jack Sharvin hit the post with a clever free kick. Two half-chances followed soon afterwards for Jamie Sharvin, playing as a makeshift centre forward, after good work from Ethan Davidson and brother Jack.
But it was the visitors who came closest to scoring after this. Centre forward Connaire Harrison was causing problems and it took an outstanding save from YC keeper Aaron Carberry to deny him after 10 minutes.
Harrison then turned creator, finding space in the box and heading down for Peter Brannigan. However, Killyleagh’s Barry Walsh blocked and the ball was scrambled clear.
As quick as you could look, Killyleagh were then down in the opposite box with dangerman Jamie Sharvin unlucky.
It was Harrison who put Kieran Brannigan’s Dromara side ahead after 14 minutes. Killyleagh were caught appealing for a foul after Jonny Murray was tackled as he burst into the Dromara half. A delicious through ball picked out Harrison and he did not require a second invitation, racing through and despite a despairing attempt by Walsh, the big striker coolly picked his spot in the bottom corner.
Killyleagh were left stunned but in a bizarre twist, they claimed the lead with two goals in the space of four minutes starting in the 20th minute.
Sixteen year-old Ethan Davidson cut in from the left and threaded a speculative low shot through a pack of players, a full 25 yards out. Dromara keeper Alastair Coburn seemed to be completely bluffed and did not move as the ball crashed into the net.
Four minutes later and Killyleagh were ahead. Gary Murray, who had an impressive game at the back with his cousins Barry and Niall Walsh and namesake Jonny Murray, produced a laser pass to Declan McComiskey.
His whipped cross was destined for Jack Sharvin but he was bundled over. Sharvin dusted himself down and took the spot kick. However, Dromara keeper Coburn guessed correctly and seemed to have saved it, only to see it bounce off his chest and into the net.
If there was an element of uncertainty about Killyleagh’s two goals, there was none about their third in the 45th minute which turned out to be the clincher. Davidson won the ball in midfield and when he picked out Jack Sharvin, he produced a pinpoint cross for brother Jamie at the back post to execute the perfect volley into the net. This was quality, pure quality, which did not match the contest.
There was another unusual moment in the game when the teams came out for the second half and veteran goalkeeper Coburn, who was an injury doubt before kick off, had been replaced in the Dromara nets.
Killyleagh’s problem was they had not had to work too hard to get their 3-1 lead and although they had early chances after the interval, with Sam Carson going close and Jamie Sharvin almost getting his second, it was Dromara who impressed in the second half.
It took a goal-line clearance from Jonny Murray to deny Dromara before Carberry performed heroics, saving well from Phil Kerr’s header after 55 minutes and then producing an outstanding save to deny Harrison after he was presented with a headed chance after a probing run from former YC fans’ favourite Steven Kennedy. Harrison and Dromara claimed to the referee that Carberry was behind the line when he saved. Kennedy, playing in a midfield role, then darted through but his shot had too much height.
Killyleagh had one big chance when Carson did well to find Jack Sharvin and his inch perfect cross was headed inches over by brother Jamie.
YC manager Paul Sharvin reshuffled his side with the impressive Barry Walsh pushed forward to reinforce the midfield and right at the death he picked out sub Jake Clydesdale.
However, he shot wide. Both teams will undoubtedly play better this season but it is Killyleagh who were happiest at the end, earning the right to take on Abbey Villa in the third round of the Border Regiment Cup.