Cookstown 2nds 5-5 Civil Service 2nd
WITH ten goals in this enthralling fixture, neither team would have liked to have came away having lost, but Cookstown will feel annoyed again at crucial umpiring decisions that went against them in this thriller at Stormont.
For the first fifteen minutes of this game it was tight, chances were few and far between but it wasn’t long until a goal came and when it did it sparked a fury of goals in a five minute period.
Firstly a turnover on the half way left a 2 on 1 situation and the Service player hammered a reverse across Stringbean and into the corner. Immediately the Reds went up the other end and won a short corner when Costelloe’s ‘magical’ skills were too much for the defence to cope with.
McWhirter buried it into the corner for the equaliser and it wasn’t long until it was 2-1 to the Reds. Stevie Allen robbed the centre midfielder and burst through tackle after tackle until he finally got a shot away which was parried only as far as Mikes Costelloe who hammered it past the helpless keeper. The rallying cry from the defence was to ‘keep it tight’ but they must have thought it was April Fools Day because no sooner was it 2-1 until it was 2-2.
A dubious short corner was awarded and a drag flick was powered home via McWhirter’s arm. Keep it tight, that lasted long! Now it was a battle in midfield with the Cookstown trio of Ian and Tony, the Johnston brothers, and Captain Marvel Phil Morton trying to pull the strings but Service were keen to break down play at any opportunity and it was consistently let go by the biased Civil Service umpire.
Ian and Tony, following in their brothers footsteps, were in a tough battle but were more than up to the challenge as the experience of Morton helped them along. Another short was given away and converted by Service who weren’t ever in the game until they won short corners. The full backs of Wilson and Ferguson were kept busy but stood up well to the task given to them by the alert forwards as well as trying to go forward as much as they could.
Yet again Cookstown came back and a great individual goal by Raymond ‘Theo Walcott’ Miller who used his pace to great effect and his one skill, flick it past the player and run like Forest Gump. He took on all the defenders and dummied the keeper brilliantly to leave it 3-3 at the half time whistle. Two minutes into the second half it was 4-3 to Service when an error of judgement was made but it was not to deter a keen and enthusiastic Cookstown team.
A short corner was turned into a stroke and was converted by McWhirter to make it 4-4 and this was quickly turned into 5-4 for the Reds when great passing all the way from the back resulted in Mitchell Greer passing to Theo Miller who deflected it in for his second goal of the game. With target man Costelloe off with an injury it was now a long 20 minutes for the Reds to hold out.
Stringbean was looking a little bored in nets so the defence offered him a pick-me-up by giving away a lot of short corners, albeit some were dubious, to say the least. Yet the big cage fighter was up the task and kept his team in it at times with some excellent reflex saves taken straight from the gym. Crooks, Wilson, Ferguson and McWhirter played better than the score line suggests with some excellent robust defending but the inevitable happened though when a long ball was collected and placed calmly passed the keeper to make it 5-5.
Allen had some excellent runs as both teams searched a winner and Greer had half chances but it wasn’t to be as both teams settled for a point in an end to end contest. Thanks to Malcolm McWhirter for staying and umpiring.
Team: Stewart, Wilson, Crooks, McWhirter, Ferguson, Morton (c) I Johnston, T Johnston, Miller, Costelloe, Allen, Greer
Man of the Match: Raymond Miller