As a manager who has plenty of experience of the Amateur League, Knockbreda boss Hugh Sinclair was not in the slightest surprised that his side had to fight for their 1-0 win over Malachians at the weekend.
Sinclair, who actually led Breda from the amateur ranks up to Belfast Telegraph Championship Two, and this season to Championship One, believes the slim victory could be an important moment in their most successful season yet.
The Knockbreda manager admits he has his sights very much set on the Steel & Sons Cup this season, so was a happy man when Matty Johnston struck the decisive blow in the game on 25 minutes.
Sinclair said: “It was a tough game... they were well-disciplined and, to be honest, I expected as much. You don’t get many easy games at the Mals.
“The chances were few and far between but, happily for us, their keeper had a bit more work to do than ours.
“If you’re going to make it to the latter stages of this competition, you are going to have to beat teams like Malachians to get there.”
And Sinclair should know. His Knockbreda side have been banging on the door for Steel Cup glory ever since joining the Championship ranks but, as yet, they have yet been able to bring the famous silverware home.
As far as he is concerned, the time to change that statistic has come.
He added: “As a Championship side, I think the Steel & Sons Cup is a trophy we have it within our gift to win. It’s a tournament we have been focused on in the last few years.
“We have reached two quarter-finals in the past couple of seasons and were beaten finalists the year before that.
“The real aim is to challenge for the Steel & Sons Cup and to finish as high as possible in the league, and I’ve been happy enough with how we’ve started.
“A 2-2 draw with Distillery, a 3-1 win over Loughgall and our only blemish was a 4-0 loss away to Dundela — but when you see how they have been going that isn’t the worst result.”
There’s no doubt that Bangor Swifts will agree with that sentiment, as they nurse their wounds after the Duns subjected them to a humbling 11-0 Steel & Sons rout on Saturday.
Elsewhere in the second round, Immaculata continued their encouraging early-season form with a 5-0 win adding to their 3-1 league success over the same opponents on the opening day of the season.
The team ahead of the Mac in Division 1A, Derriaghy CC, are also in winning mode and continued their impressive 100 per cent start this season with a fine 4-0 victory away to league rivals Dundonald.
Crusaders Reserves claimed one of the most noteworthy results of the round, beating highly-fancied Carrick Rangers on their own turf, while St Patrick’s showed they will be one of the clubs to watch this season with a 2-1 win over Ards II, who had beaten East Belfast 10-0 in the previous round.
Ballyclare Comrades, Newington YC, Glebe Rangers, Bangor, PSNI and Larne were among other Championship sides celebrating weekend wins.