Played in almost perfect conditions, two teams in need of three points took to the field in what turned out to be a keenly contested battle.
A whirlwind start to the game saw the home side have a chance blocked up and over the bar. It was to set the tempo of the first 10 minutes as the teams went for broke early on.
Glebe managed to make the breakthrough in the 3rd minute as their number 10 latched onto some hesitation in the Killymoon defence to race clear from the half way line and slot the ball past the advancing Brown in the Killymoon goals.
The home side were only behind for 3 minutes though as Willie Watson delivered a perfect corner kick to the middle of the 6 yard box, where the onrushing Andy Neill despatched a thunderous header to the back of the Glebe net.This wasn’t the end of the scoring in the opening 10 minutes, though, as the Glebe number 8 latched onto some more hesitant defending to finish to the Killymoon net.
The next 30 minutes saw the home side carve out numerous chances through Donaghy, Harkness and a 30 yard thunderbolt from Jason Ferry, but a combination of good goalkeeping and a sturdy crossbar saw the home team frustrated in their efforts to find an equaliser. This frustration was exacerbated as, against the run of play, the Glebe number 10 managed to find himself in space to slot the ball past the advancing Brown to give Glebe a 3-1 advantage, approaching the half time whistle.
A stern half time teamtalk, saw Killymoon return to the field with renewed vigour and from the first whistle, they set about their task of overhauling the 2 goal deficit, manfully.
Another Donaghy effort was blocked in the box, but from the resulting rebound, a foul by Glebe’s number 5 resulted in a free kick about 25 yards from goal. Willie Watson had hit a couple of range finders in the first half and this effort was only thwarted by Glebe’s upright. A good follow up from half time sub Purvis, forced Glebe in to conceding a corner. This was to prove crucial as Craig Martin scored his first goal of the season from the resulting corner and gave the Killymoon fightback added momentum.
With so much at stake, neither team was prepared to give any quarter and with tackles flying in, especially in the middle third, tensions remained high in the last half hour. This was to prove crucial as Glebe lost their concentration at the vital time.
An attacking substitution by home manager Dardis, Edson being introduced in place of Ryan Ferry, proved to be an excellent decision as this put Glebe on the back foot and within 2 minutes, had the desired effect. In the 72nd minute, the Glebe defence backed off to allow Killymoon skipper Dicky Donaghy launch a 25 yard rocket past the despairing dive of the visiting keeper.
This set up a grandstand final 18 minutes as both teams showed attacking intent and desire to collect all three points. This is testament to both sets of players and management that they weren’t prepared to shut up shop and accept a point each.
However, despite all their efforts, neither team could provide that moment of magic that would have seen their side collect all three points and at the final whistle, both teams had to be content with a well deserved point.
It was a good response from the Killymoon team after their cup defeat to Loughgall last week and, no doubt, manager George Dardis and his coaching staff will be working hard this week in training to tighten up the defence and build on this result.
Club Notes: Killymoon Reserves progressed to the next round of the Crawford Cup via a 4-2 Penalty Shootout victory after the game finished 3-3. Goals coming from Owen Coyle, Drew Kelly and James Dunn.
Up next for the first team is Ballymoney United away at the Joey Dunlop Centre with a 3pm kick off next Saturday (28th)