Main Mann's wonder goal puts Shankill to the sword
Bangor Amateurs 1 Shankill United 0
Supporters of Bangor Amateurs got their first glimpse of a potentially bright future ahead when they watched their side overturn a Shankill United team, placed three divisions above them, in the opening round of the Border Cup on Saturday.
Those around the Clandeboye Road club have been quietly confident of their prospects, given the busy recruitment-filled summer they have had, and last weekend, in the Steel & Sons Cup, they gave another Premier Division side, Derriaghy CC, a genuine fright, pushing them all the way to a penalties before bowing out.
This time, however, they saw the job through, with a Ryan Mann wonder-goal stealing the show on a fantastic afternoon for the Division 1C men.
Winning manager Sam McKee wants this result to be the opening chapter of a long-lasting success story... a success story he believes has been long overdue.
“I am over the moon,” he smiled. “Everyone knows we have a good squad here – it’s been something we have been building now for over a year.
“It’s fantastic to beat a Premier club like Shankill. It sends out a big message, and who knows how far we can go? One thing I do know is that this is an important competition to me... I have been beaten in the semi-finals managing 1st Bangor and Islandmagee, so it would be great to go one further.
“We get back to the league next week, and that will always be the priority, but the important thing is that we have shown we can beat anyone on our day.”
Despite his pride at his team’s performance, McKee was also honest enough to admit he felt they rode their luck in a rather one-sided first half.
One such moment occurred in the eighth minute, when Seamus McDonnell appeared to have beaten the offside trap and chipped the ball over the Stephen Cummings while he was off his line, only to be denied by the referee’s whistle... for offside.
The Shankill players were left frustrated again ten minutes later when Sean Cahill had the hosts’ net rippling a second time, and once again had their claims ruled out, this time after the striker was adjudged to have fouled Cummings as he sent the ball over him.
The Amateurs’ defence was being worked, but so far coping with everything coming their way, and in the 21st minute, Kristopher McWiliams did well to throw his body in the way of a powerful Cahill volley.
It wasn’t until half-an-hour in that the home side got close to threatening a goal. Gary Sharratt took a quick free kick, before the whistle, but nevertheless, it went over the bar, therefore avoiding any debate in the aftermath.
McKee’s side were still thankful that the scores were level following wave after wave of Shankill pressure. Their relief was probably at its most tangible in the 32nd minute, when Luke Briers blasted a volley straight at Cummings, who couldn’t grasp the ball, and was duly relieved to see Seamus McDonnell drag wide from the rebound.
Moments later, Kirk Madden charged past a number of challenges down the left flank before firing a testing effort which was well saved by the Amateurs’ outstanding goalkeeper, who then also went on to keep out a Rossborough volley.
It felt like a matter of when, not if Shankill were going to score, while the Amateurs’ only opportunities seemed to evolve free kicks. Mann whipped another expertly into the area before the break, only to find there was no-one running in to give it the finish it warranted.
It was difficult to tell what changed in the second period, whether Shankill had dropped off slightly, or whether the Amateurs had stepped things up a notch, but either way, the difference was there for all to see.
Now it was the visiting defenders doing the blocking, with Scott McMillan getting in the way of two successive Thomas Canavan shots.
The Amateurs were now playing with a greater sense of belief, and as Daniel Ferguson carved out a great cross after being sent through by a clever Sharatt pass, it was the same old story, as no-one was there to provide the finishing touch.
Shankill’s concerns were beginning to grow, and more so with the worrying sight of their captain McMillan having to be lifted off the pitch with what looked like a serious ankle injury.
They were left further down-hearted when Dramane Sangare, who had done so well to take the ball off Dwayne Beattie and get himself into the box, lost his footing to squander a golden opportunity.
Mann, however, wasn’t to be so wasteful when his big chance arrived in the 71st minute. In fact, he had little right to shoot from where he did, but his 30-yard hit was so cleanly struck that it soared all the way into the top left corner, leaving keeper James Thompson with absolutely no chance.
Shankill pushed on for an equaliser, but the Amateurs held out for the upset.
He may have had few words at the end, but Shankill manager Jamie Marks said all he needed to by stating: “It’s simple. We didn’t take our chances, and when you don’t do that, you don’t score.”
Stephen Cummings: A practically faultless display in goal. 9
Kristopher McWilliams: Defended well, passing could have been better. 7
Macauley Simpson: Quick to cut out any threat. 8
Trevor Kennedy: Strong and dependable. 8
Christopher Reaney: Sharp and alert to all danger. 8
Thomas Canavan: Industrious throughout, defending particularly impressive. 9
Ryan Mann: Great delivery from set-pieces and a well delivered goal. 9
Phillip McKnight: Did the simple things well. 8
Gary Sharratt: Effective at both ends of the pitch. 8
Dwayne Beattie: Full of running. 7
Daniel Ferguson: Pivotal player in the Amateurs’ forward play. 8
Scott Robbie: On for McKnight, 78
Jordan Mills: On for Beattie, 87
Jonathan Busby: Not used.
James Thompson: Put in a decent shift. 7
Karl Rossborough: Not easily beaten to the ball. 8
Kirk Madden: Did his best to inspire team-mates in tricky second half. 8
Scott McMillan: His composure was missed after he was carried off injured. 8
Stuart Moore: Rose well to every challenge. 8
Dramane Sangare: Good range, but sometimes the short pass would have done. 7
Mark Clegg: A workmanlike display. 7
Christopher Watters: Won the ball well in the air. 8
Seamus McDonnell: Will be frustrated not to have made the scoresheet. 7
Sean Cahill: Persistent and determined. 8
Luke Briers: Great ball control, very skilful. 8
Mark Marshall: On for McMillan, 66
Aaron McCracken: On for Rossborough, 78
Jonathon Mahoney: On for McDonnell, 45
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Mann (Bangor Amateurs). Both for the technique of his goal, and its significance.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The 71st minute peach from the boot of Ryan Mann was a strike worthy of winning any match – and in this case, did just that.
SAVE OF THE MATCH: When the pressure was piling on, with just over ten minutes left, Bangor Amateurs keeper Stephen Cummings kept out a Kirk Madden free kick with a top reflex save.
BLOOPER OF THE MATCH: Shankill, in general will be kicking themselves after not putting the game to bed in the first half.
Belfast Telegraph Digital