Downpatrick not Found wanting in all-Premier Border Cup clash
Border Cup second round - Albert Foundry 0 Downpatrick 4
Amateur League Premier Division newcomers Downpatrick laid down a marker with a 4-0 Border Cup second round victory over regular title challengers Albert Foundry – but joint manager Joe McMahon insists we should not read too much into 90 minutes.
There have been positive reviews surrounding the county Down men ever since their Division 1A title season, with some suggesting they may spring a title challenge of their own this season, and this result, together with the confident nature of their pressing, passing game did nothing to say otherwise.
Yet McMahon and fellow Downpatrick boss Kevin Trueman (pictured) will not let anyone get carried away with expectations in their first season back in the top flight since 2012.
“We are not bothered about making statements or sending a message out to anyone,” remarked McMahon. “We are into the next round of the Border Cup, with one of our best performances so far this season, and that is it.
“Our discipline and our tactics paid off, and we were ruthless in taking our chances at the right time.
“All in all, the boys are working hard, and bar one half of one match this season, we have got everything we have served. They are getting what they put in.”
They certainly put plenty into this game, particularly in the opening half hour as their efforts to make an early impact bore fruit, but not before Foundry had a few chances of their own to commence the scoring.
On 6 minutes, Paul McCord brought down a cross from Darren McCombe at the back post, but Stuart Martin stumbled as he charged in, scuffing a harmless effort towards goalkeeper Michael McKenna, when he otherwise would surely have scored. Then, McCombe weaved between two defenders only to be denied by a timely sliding challenge from Aaron McGarry.
Downpatrick netted their first in the 16th minute – a fantastic 20-yard free kick from Barry Treacy, in off the crossbar to leave Foundry keeper Stephen Cairnduff with no chance.
Shortly after this, the ball seemed to be stuck to the feet of Downpatrick’s Conail McGrady as he glided past a couple of opposition players, but ended up lashing the ball over the bar, when he had time to steady himself.
As the visitors continued to press, Stephen Galbraith played a pass to Andrew Telford, who ghosted past his marker before striking from six yards out, but Cairnduff was alert to pull off a remarkable reflex save with his foot.
However, Downpatrick were two in front by the 29th minute, when Cairnduff saved a Galbraith header from a Treacy corner, but Aaron McGarry was on-hand to poke in from the rebound.
Foundry had chances to respond – the best of which saw Aaron Harris drag wide of the left hand post, and a McCombe chip over the advancing McKenna go in the same direction.
In the 48th minute, Treacy tried his luck from another free kick, but Cairnduff stood firm to gather the curling effort comfortably. However, he was not be denied five minutes later, when he whipped in yet another free kick from wide, which managed to evade all heads from both sides as it found its way to the top right hand corner of the Foundry goal.
At the other end, a powerful Harris shot from the edge of the area tested McKenna, and the Downpatrick shot-stopper proved equal to it, tipping expertly over to maintain his clean sheet.
The visiting side continued to press in their final third, and when the Foundry defence didn’t clear from another spell of pressure in their box, Andy Baggley was straight in to thump the ball over the line in the 58th minute.
With the outcome assured, there were few clear-cut chances to follow, although Cairnduff did tip over a well-struck volley from Treacy on the turn, to deny him a hat-trick, while McKenna kept out a fine McCombe free kick to complete a good day’s work in between the sticks.
Clearly disappointed with the result, Foundry manager also appeared to share the sentiments of his counterparts that it would be unwise to look into this match for any further indications at this early stage of the season.
McIlwaine said: “It’s early doors. We were poor today, and gave two goals away early in the game… you can’t get away with that.
“As far as it having any bearing on how the league will turn out this season, I would say Ards Rangers, Immaculata and Crumlin Star would have something to say about that. And make no mistake about it – we will take that on the chin today, and we will be back.”
MAN OF THE MATCH: Barry Treacy. His free kicks and corners gave Foundry something to think about all afternoon, and earned him a brace.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Barry Treacy’s opening free kick in off the bar was a great example of set-piece accuracy.
SAVE OF THE MATCH: Stephen Cairnduff’s fantastic reflex save with his foot to deny Andrew Telford from close range in the first half.
BLOOPER OF THE MATCH: An accidental stumble from Aaron Harris early in the game cost him the chance to put Foundry in front.
Stephen Cairnduff: Pulled off some great saves, even though he conceded four goals. 6
Conor Corry: Will have better afternoons. 5
Daryl McAlinden: Showed a good engine to get forward. 7
Ian West: Was substituted before he could make a genuine impact. 5
John Burns: Did his best to keep the back line in shape. 6
Bill Maxwell: A reasonably calm head under pressure. 6
Darren McCombe: Didn’t stop running, and provided some chances. 7
Paul McCord: Decent service down the right. 7
Aaron Harris: May have scored against another keeper. 6
Stuart Martin: Had a quiet game up front. 5
Paul Acheson: Influence on this game was limited. 5
Paul Young: On for West, 35
Ryan McFarland: On for McCord, 69
Michael McAlinden: On for Acheson, 61
Michael McKenna: A superb performance. 8
Barry Fitzsimons: Looked in control throughout. 8
Blaine Connolly: Held his own. 8
Mark Holland: Authorative and assured. 8
Niall Walsh: Rarely beaten to the ball. 8
Aaron McGarry: An excellent attacking threat. 8
Barry Treacy: Set-piece specialist supreme. 9
Andy Baggley: A gutsy display. 8
Stephen Galbraith: Didn’t get as many chances as he’d have liked. 7
Andrew Telford: Always in the right place at the right time. 8
Conail McGrady: Fantastic close control. 8
Christopher McDowell: On for Baggley, 83
Christian Holland: On for McGrady, 75
Ruairi Fitzpatrick: On for Galbraith, 79