Moyola Park Olympic 4 Red Star 1
After playing a number of away games, Moyola Park Olympic were only too glad to host a home fixture last Saturday afternoon.
And,at the venue of Boyne Row in Castledawson, the young Moyola team thoroughly deserved this Ballymena Junior League Division Two success over Red Star.
Right from the outset, the hosts were on the attack with Conor Stewart on the right firing over the crossbar inside the first couple of minutes.In quick succession, Johnny Ritchie had two headed efforts go just wide and Connor Taggart made a great run but saw a cross elude his fellow forwards.
On the half hour mark, Ritchie had a strike well saved while in reply, Red Star forced Olympic keeper Brown into a full length stop. Stewart and Holmes created chances before the break, the half concluding scoreless with every indication that the home side would be more of a force in the second period.
Indeed, this proved correct and in the 47th minute, a move involving Holmes and Taggart, saw the latter brought down inside the area for a penalty award. Alas, Speers fired the resulting spot kick over the crossbar.
However,the deadlock was broke in the 50th minute when the ever dangerous Taggart broke on the left, cut inside and fired low to the net for 1-0.
Just seconds later Brown made an excellent stop to help maintain this lead while Ritchie had a powerful header come back off the visitors crossbar.
Moyola dominated now and in the 56th minute, substitute Matthew Bradley made an immediate impact when he took advantage of some slack away defending to slot home for 2-0. And, in the 63rd minute, Bradley was again on the scoresheet, this time rounding the away keeper and calmly scoring for 3-0.
In defence Scott, Molloy, Kerr and Speers were in control, keeping the Red Star attack firmly at bay. A free kick by Holmes narrowly missed the target while again, the aerial power of Ritchie saw him go very close with another strong header.
It came as no surprise when, in the 76th minute, Jason Ritchie fired past the away keeper from 20 yards to make it 4-0. However, the young Moyola team seemed content with this healthy lead and allowed their opponents to create a number of scoring opportunities.
Following a corner kick in the 80th minute, Red Star did pull a goal back and almost added to this immediately after only for a splendid save by Brown.
Despite this,the Castledawson side finished much the stronger and ran out worthy 4-1 victors to secure three vital points that will considerably improve their league standing. Indeed, Moyola Park Olympic have a fine home record this season, winning two and drawing one of their four fixtures played to date!
Moyola Park Olympic: Brown, Molloy, Scott, Kerr, Speers, Jason Ritchie, Stewart, Dunlop, Holmes, Johnnie Ritchie, Taggart. Subs: Scullion, Bradley, Mulholland, Leslie and Mawhinney.