Derriaghy on a roll as Baker goal sinks Drumaness Mills
Derriaghy 1 Drumaness Mills 0
Derriaghy continued their perfect start to the season with a result their manager and goalkeeper Marc Robinson described as “our biggest win yet” over Drumaness Mills in the Border Cup 2nd round.
Fresh from their 4-2 triumph over Belfast Telegraph Championship side Ballymoney United last weekend, this victory over the Premier Division leaders, was surely the biggest statement yet that the Division 1A men are a team on the up.
It’s now nine wins from nine in all competitions for the Seycon Park side, who are the only team in their division with a 100% record as well as challenging on Irish Cup, Steel & Sons Cup and Border Cup fronts, and Robinson was happy to reveal the secret behind their winning formula.
The former Loughgall goalie said: “Every team we come up against, we seem to be underdogs, and we are going out with the attitude that it’s a win-win situation.
“We just go out and try to play our game, and if we win, it’s a bonus. If we don’t, as long as we work hard, we can be happy with our performance. Right now though, we just seem to be turning teams over, and long may it continue.
“I thought we battled really well today. We were missing a couple of players and I thought this might be the day our unbeaten run came to an end, but I had every faith in the boys who came in, and they didn’t let me down.”
The visitors looked the greater threat in the early stages, with a 10th minute Conor Walsh header from a Sean McQuoid free kick going wide, Rory Mason miskicking from a superb Gavin McEvoy through-ball when he surely otherwise would have scored, and Mason missing the outside of the post by inches with a low swerving drive from 25 yards.
It almost seemed that Derriaghy were inviting the pressure onto themselves as Robinson was forced into an outstanding diving save from Anton McGrattan’s blasted volley on 22 minutes
However, after soaking up wave after wave of Drumaness attack, it was the home side’s turn to go in search of that crucial opening goal. Nathan Campbell cut open the visiting defence with a stylish pass to William Elliott, who instead of shooting, chose to pass to Craig McCarthy, who in turn overcooked his shot, hooking it wildly over the bar.
Moments later Aaron Baker produced an overhead kick inside the box, but this was easily grasped by Ryan Campbell.
The game was in the balance, and it felt like it might be decided by a moment of madness or brilliance. In the end, it was a bit of both, as the agile Connor Stronge glided past Johnny Ewan with a subtle drop of the shoulder, but just as he shaped to shoot, he was clipped from behind by the defender.
Aaron Baker was charged with the responsibility of dispatching the resultant spot-kick, and he didn’t let his team-mates down, placing the ball neatly into the bottom right hand corner.
With just two minutes to half time, it was the perfect stage to break the deadlock.
The first half was as entertaining as it was tight; the second, less so, as Derriaghy battled hard to defend their lead.
There were a few hairy moments for the hosts, as penalty claims by Mason and Conor Walsh were waved away, while Craig McCarthy went into the book after attempting to punch the ball into the net from a Jordan Baker cross.
Derriaghy didn’t rest on their laurels though, and might have doubled their lead when Christopher Stewart was put clean through by Aaron Baker (below left), but Campbell was quick off his line to intercept and clear to safety.
Drumaness’ best chance to level the scores came by way of a set-piece in the 78th minute, but McQuoid lashed the 20-yard free kick well over the bar.
Given a similar opportunity, Andrew Rosbotham came much closer, drawing the biggest gasp of the day from the sizeable crowd, as he bent the ball over the wall and onto the top of the crossbar.
Afterwards, Drumaness boss David Straney kept a lid on his clear disappointment at crashing out of the Border Cup at this stage.
He said: “This doesn’t affect our season in any way. We hadn’t been beaten before this game this season, but we knew we couldn’t keep that going. At least it wasn’t in the league.
“We had our fair share of chances and we just couldn’t put them away.
“Now we’ll just put it behind us and keep on going.”
Marc Robinson: First class keeping and kicking all day. 8
Connor Stronge: Found his team-mates well. 7
Andrew Rosbotham: A steady, mature performance. 7
Sam McNaul: Always solid in the tackle. 7
Marc Fell: Showed a good range with his passing. 7
Nathan Campbell: Pulled the strings in the heart of the midfield all day. 8
William Elliott: Looked hungry and eager throughout. 8
Christopher Stewart: A consistent workmanlike performance. 7
Jordan Baker: A threat up front, but also happy to help at the back. 8
Craig McCarthy: A decent effort, worked hard. 7
Aaron Baker: Took his penalty with great aplomb. 7
Niall Burke: on for Fell, 85
Gareth Scott: on for Campbell, 70
Nathan O’Neill: on for McCarthy, 73
Ryan Campbell: The penalty he conceded was his only fault of the day. 7
Owen Wright: Gave it 100% commitment. 7
Johnny Ewan: A good, strong physical performance. 8
Brendan Ward: Not afraid to get stuck in. 7
Glenn Morrison: Never lost his cool. Was composed . 7
Paul Walsh: Not one of the more eye-catching displays. 6
Gavin McEvoy: A good creative force. 8
Sean McQuoid: Could have hit the target more often. 6
Anton McGrattan: Looked lively, but didn’t get enough chances. 7
Conor Walsh: Left little to chance and kept things tidy. 7
Rory Mason: Lightning pace was a key asset. 7
Scott McKibben: not used
Paddy Grant: on for Ewan, 47
Justin Barlow: not used
MAN OF THE MATCH: William Elliott (Derriaghy CC). His work ethic set a standard for his teammates to follow.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The superb skill shown by Connor Stronge as he took the ball past Johnny Ewan, just before earning his side their penalty.
SAVE OF THE MATCH: Marc Robinson’s save from Anton McGrattan’s 22nd minute volley really was one for the cameras. Superb piece of agility that really caught the eye.
BLOOPER OF THE MATCH: Jonny Ewan’s clip on Connor Stronge was costly for the Premier
Belfast Telegraph Digital