Bangor Swifts hit six past Groomsport
Anyone who came to Ballymaconnell Road expecting a close derby contest between Bangor Swifts and Groomsport on Saturday will have left disappointed, after the Swifts kicked off their Irish Cup campaign with a comprehensive 6-1 thrashing of their rivals.
With the first round draw throwing together two Division 1C clubs separated by a mile, the scene was set for a tight, tense and testing tussle — but the Swifts tore up the script, cruising to this one-sided victory only a week after suffering a 11-0 hammering by Dundela in the Steel & Sons Cup in the previous weekend.
It was just the tonic for Swifts manager Alan Graham, who certainly wasn’t complaining about the straightforward nature of his day’s business.
Graham admitted: “After the drubbing we got last week, I was pleased that we bounced back like that today. Derby games tend to be just physical, but for once I felt we applied our own game.
“We can go on a run in this competition, and to be brutally honest, I’d be disappointed if we didn’t get out of this league this season. We fear no-one. Last week was an exception — we had eight players out.”
The worrying thing for any teams set to meet the Swifts in future was that they are still far from full-strength. They were still without five first team players, and were even forced to throw left-back Chris Trelfa between the sticks in the absence of injured goalkeeper Tony Galbraith.
Groomsport had started brightly enough, and had the opportunity to take an early lead with Andrew Rainey firing two free kicks over.
However, the hosts were first on the scoresheet in the 12th minute, as Peter Garrett tried to clear off the line after a mishap by goalkeeper Stevie Cummings, but his attempted clearance simply ricocheted off the incoming Jordan Dalzell and into the Groomsport goal.
The visiting bench screamed for a swift response, and they got it. Immediately from the restart, Glenn Greer charged through before his shot was parried back out to Neil McLarnon, whose cross was met with a low Martin Caskey drive into the bottom right hand corner.
Any hopes Groomsport had of this spurring them on soon disintegrated, though, as a matter of minutes later, James Smyth rose to direct an unstoppable header in off the left post.
Still Groomsport pushed forward, and they could have equalised when Gareth Caldwell put through Neil McLarnon in the 33rd minute, but instead of taking the ball towards goal, McLarnon appeared to hesitate, before hitting a low curling shot which was well saved by Trelfa.
There was no doubt that the Swifts were the more clinical of the two sides — a fact demonstrated by Chris Williams as he tapped in from a telling Dalzell cross on 40 minutes to give his side a comfortable two-goal cushion.
The Swifts were in full flow and hungry for more goals, and in the 68th minute they added to their tally; Dalzell striking an insightful free kick through to Smyth, who turned inside the box to hit home his second of the game.
By now, the game was long finished as a competitive affair, but the Bangor side maintained their positive momentum.
Cummings may have denied Neil Spiers from point-blank range, but undeterred, the Swifts defender collected from Darren De Largy before chipping the Groomsport keeper in the 83rd minute.
And the Swifts completed their demolition job four minutes later, when the unfortunate Cummings spilled a Daniel Kelly cross and Stephen Crawford was on-hand to tap in one of the easiest goals he’ll ever score.
Deflated Groomsport boss Linden McCullough conceded: “We dug ourselves into a hole that we couldn’t get out of. There was a lack of desire and a lack of commitment, and the better team won.
“There was a bit of complacency among them, and it may not feel like it now, but this will probably be a good thing for them in the end.”
The two teams are due to clash again in the second round of the Border Cup in a fortnight’s time. Whether or not we get a more full-blooded encounter then remains to be seen.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Jordan Dalzell (Bangor Swifts). A standout performance — every touch showed his class.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: James Smyth’s 17th minute goal was a quick reply to Groomsport’s equaliser and came at an important time.
SAVE OF THE MATCH: Despite a difficult afternoon, Stevie Cummings did produce an excellent save from Jordan Dalzell on the stroke of half time.
BLOOPER OF THE MATCH: Stevie Cummings will be kicking himself for dropping a straightforward cross from Daniel Kelly, and, gifting Stephen Crawford a tap-in.
Chris Trelfa: An impressive display, especially for a left-back. 8
Ian McMannus: Showed his threat in attack as well as his defensive ability. 7
Neil Spiers: Got forward well to assist the front line. 8
Philip Fitzsimmons: Was solid and steady. 7
Ronan Walls: Rarely looked troubled. 7
Darren De Largy: A tidy display. 7
James Smyth: Great delivery from the wide areas. 8
Matthew Neil: An understated but efficient afternoon. 7
Chris Williams: His goal was the highlight of his performance. 7
Jordan Dalzell: A constant thorn in the side of the opposition. 9
Christopher Boyd: Looked lively down the left wing. 7
Daniel Kelly on for Dalzell, 74
Stephen Crawford on for Williams, 50
Ian Hamilton on for Neil, 73
Stevie Cummings: Had an afternoon to forget. 4
Ally McIntyre: Worked hard. 6
Andrew Rainey: Decent from set-pieces. 6
Andrew McLarnon: Found the Swifts attack a real handful. 5
Mark Miskelly: Was beaten for pace on a few occasions. 5
Peter Garrett: Strong in the aerial challenges. 6
Gareth Caldwell: Did his best to bring some composure to the midfield. 6
Martin Caskey: Stood his ground well and deserved his goal. 7
Jonny Beck: Could have found the target more often. 6
Glenn Greer: Showed good attacking content, even when the chips were down. 7
Neil McLarnon: Dynamic runs were a big asset. 7
Rhys Conn on for McIntyre, 67
Ross Spiers on for Beck, 45
Jackie Coulter on for Caskey, 85
Belfast Telegraph Digital