Tobermore travelled the short distance to Castledawson last Saturday to face old rivals Moyola Park on the dreaded plastic pitch and as usual the game was a very entering one with plenty of talking points.
Moyola came into the game in a very buoyant mood having knocked six past Dollingstown the previous Saturday whilst Tobermore had lost all three games played since the turn of the year.
The home side were very much the bookies favourites to take the points.
With the bad luck that Tobermore has had recently they would probably have settled for a draw before a ball was kicked in this important fixture, but at the end of the 90 minutes boss Adrian Whiteside would have been the unhappier of the two managers as he watched his side give away a sloppy goal, and two points, with only seconds remaining at the end of the game.
As usual the game was played at a hectic pace with Moyola determined to stamp their authority on the game early on with Gallagher and Taggart going close. However, on ten minutes, their plans were dealt a blow when McQuillan was adjudged to have handled inside the box. Paul Keane made no mistake from the resulting spot kick.
Both sides were creating chances but unable to take them but that all changed in the 36th minute when the lively McElhatton found Dowie on the edge of Tobermore’s penalty area and the big striker turned and placed his shot wide of McGraw to level the scores at 1-1.
Tobermore lost the services of Neil Lamont for the second half through injury and he was replaced by Gary Keane who immediately caused concern in the home defence with his pace and determination.
There seemed to be fewer chances for both sides in the second half but when one came the way of super sub Keane in the 65th minute he made no mistake when he ghosted into the home penalty and touched home a corner from Twist to put Tobermore ahead for the second time in the game.
And the big lad almost got his second minutes later but his back post header went just wide.
As expected Moyola threw everything at the visitors in an effort to salvage at least a point but a combination of good defending and poor finishing almost saw Tobermore over the line with all three points.
With fifteen minutes left, Duffin shot wide from inside the box and Moyola also made a change with McNamee replacing McAuley. The visitors made their final change in the 73rd minute with Curtis replacing Duffin.
A ‘schoolboy error’ deep into injury time presented the ball to Gray who made no mistake from close range to level things up again.
It was a disappointing end for the visitors but overall a draw was probably a fair result.
Moyola Park travel to Hagan Park this Saturday to play neighbours Coagh United in another derby game and this has a 3pm kick off.
In their next match on Saturday, Tobermore are away to Wakehurst at 3pm.
Tobermore’s popular Mini Soccer sessions continue this Saturday morning at 10am sharp (registration at 9.45am) until 11am in Maghera Leisure Centre and is open to all boys and girls of primary school age.