Battling Hawe sees Magherafelt Sky Blues Reserves lose to table-toppers Portrush

Archie Hawe - outstanding for Reserves against table toppers Portrush
Archie Hawe - outstanding for Reserves against table toppers Portrush

PORTRUSH 4

SKY BLUES RESERVES 2

Gary Scott scored a stunning 25 yarder in U12 NIBFA Cup win

Gary Scott scored a stunning 25 yarder in U12 NIBFA Cup win

Sky Blues Reserves lost out to league leaders Portrush 4-2 at Meadowbank.

The game was only minutes old when Kerr produced a point blank save to deny Portrush the opener and Portrush had another chance on five minutes but headed wide.

Hawe had the Blues’ first effort on their first real foray into the Portrush half when he got on to a long throw from Monaghan but headed just wide on 10 minutes. Kerr was then on hand to save a Portrush effort.

Against the run of play Portrush took the lead on 24 minutes. A miss-hit clearance fell into the path of the Portrush attackers and despite Browne’s best efforts they were able to square it across for an easy tap in.

The Blues continued to play the football and were rewarded with an equaliser on 33 minutes. Monaghan’s brilliant cross field ball found McElhone on the edge of the box, and after some tricky footwork found some space to fire a shot into the top corner to give the Blues the equaliser they deserved.

Portrush regained the lead on 40 minutes. After breaking down a Blues attack, they were caught off guard with a long ball which their midfielder finished well .

Undeterred by this setback the Blues got back at it and equalised again on 43 minutes. Devlin and Beattie combined well on the left side to put Devlin through in the box and he calmly curled his effort past the Portrush keeper.

The second half was only a few minutes old when Portrush took the lead on 47 minutes. A long cross field ball sent their right winger away, he cut in side and the ball fell perfectly for him to fire an unstoppable shot to the corner.

Portrush increased their lead on 55 minutes. The Blues were caught in possession trying to play out of defence, and a quick shot managed to squeeze its way in despite the best efforts from Kerr. The Blues knew they had to go for it and attacked at will.

Hawe saw a header blocked on 65 minutes and 3 minutes later Hawe turned provider for Monaghan who also saw his shot blocked. Then on 70 minutes Spinu created a chance but saw his left footed effort saved and Devlin’s follow up header was cleared off the line.

Portrush were doing well to hold out and were always dangerous on the break and on 80 minutes they hit the bar with a free kick. The Blues continued to fight to the end but had no real chances of note until Rafferty saw his effort saved in injury time.

Man of the Match: Oisin Kerr in the Blues goal kept the Blues in it in the first half with some superb saves and great distribution throughout, Ciaran Monaghan had another fine game in midfield and was involved in majority of the Blues play in midfield but the honours go to his midfield partner Archie Hawe, who produced a non-stop battling performance, defending at one end and attacking at the other over the course of the 90 minutes.

Sky Blues: O. Kerr, B. Devlin, D. O’Neill, P. Browne (C. Rafferty), C. Mallon, A. McElhone, C. Monaghan, A. Hawe, M. Devlin (J. Arrell), P. Collins (V. Spinu), T. Beattie.

The Reserves take on Riada FC in the Coleraine and District League on Saturday at Meadowbank at 2pm.

SKY BLUES U12 4

ST OLIVER PLUNKETT 3

Magherafelt Sky Blues booked a place in the quarterfinals of the NIBFA Cup with a 4-3 win against SOPFC.

The Blues took the lead after 12 minutes. A blistering run down the left by Lorcan Bradley resulted in a Ciaran Chambers shot being helped into the net by Ronan Walls.

SOPFC equalised three minutes later and then took the lead with a fantastic strike by the SOPFC forward. Five minutes before halftime Lewis Francis was fouled in the penalty area and Matthew McMenemy converted the penalty to make it 2-2.

The second half was a tight affair with both teams having chances but it was the Blues who took the lead again. A SOPFC clearance landed at the feet of Gary Scott and he hit a 25 yard volley into the top right corner of the net.

The Blues top goal scorer Ciaran Chambers grabbed a fourth for Magherafelt when he instinctively slotted the ball past the SOPFC keeper.

SOPFC pulled one back with two minutes remaining but the Blues held on for the win.

Man of the match: Lee McMenemy

The Sky Blues Mini Soccer Centre, for P1-P6 both boys and girls, is now over for the traditional Winter break and will return in March.