CYFC U16s 4 Sion Swifts 1
The U16s took the field to play Sion Swifts at Fairhill, knowing a win was vital to maintain their challenge at the top of the league.
Cookstown took control from the start and forced several free-kicks with their pressure and, on three minutes, S McMath floated a lovely ball into the six yard box and M Megarry saw his header shave the post.
Minutes later good work in midfield by J Harte set up McMath to float another great ball into the box and Megarry’s header this time went over the bar.
It was all Cookstown at this stage and C McGovern whipped in a couple of great corners which Sion were glad to clear.
Cookstown kept up the pressure and M Megarry released A Murphy down the left wing who cut into the box and fired in a good shot only for the Sion keeper to pull off a good save.
It seemed only a matter of time before Cookstown scored and the opening goal duly arrived on 8 minutes, McMath with yet another free-kick into the box, causing a goalmouth scramble involving A Murphy, Megarry and D O’Neill before McGovern who finally stabbed the ball over the line.
More pressure saw Megarry and Harte combine to release Murphy down the left wing again and he forced yet another corner. McGovern delivered another good ball and Megarry’s header went wide.
But, on 12 minutes, following great work by J Glasgow and Harte, McMath put in a good cross which the keeper dropped and McGovern made it 2-0.
Sion finally found their feet and launched their first serious attack on 15 minutes but good work by P Stewart and L Johnston cut out the danger.
Sion took control and an unmarked forward sent a good shot past the post, with goalie C Reynolds stranded.
It was a warning Cookstown didn’t heed and a minute later it took a good save to keep the scoreline intact.
Sion came back and time and time again the defence of Bell, Stewart, Johnston and McMath had to clear their lines. But, with seven minutes to halftime, Sion pulled a goal back when their forward slipped through two tackles and drilled home a low hard shot, halftime 2–1.
A stern teamtalk was given and Cookstown started the second half in battling form, Glasgow and Megarry releasing Murphy and McGovern to force the Sion defence clear their lines.
Ten minutes in, however, good build-up work fed Glasgow who beat two defenders and fired a great left foot shot into the corner of the net, 3–1 to Cookstown.
This welcome goal galvanised the players for the rest of the match.
Although Sion tried hard and Reynolds had to palm out a dangerous cross, that was to be their last worthwhile attack as Cookstown asserted themselves and outbattled the visitors for the rest of the match.
On 55 minutes a great move involving Johnston, Murphy and Megarry sent McGovern racing down the right wing, his great centre enabling Murphy to make it 4–1.
Tactical changes were made at this stage, W McCullagh coming on to bolster the defence, and he proved his worth with a couple of great tackles as Sion tried to get back into the tie.
It was not to be, however, as the great midfield of Harte, Megarry and Glasgow snuffed out any remaining threat.
Manager R Cummings, although not happy with the last fifteen minutes of the first half, praised the team for a battling second period display, the win especially pleasing as it leaves Cookstown joint second in the league table.
Team Panel: C Reynolds, L Johnston, S McMath, A Bell, P Stewart, M Megarry, A Murphy (MoM), J Glasgow, C McGovern, J Harte, D O’Neill, W Tavares, W McCullagh.