MOYOLA Park continued their recent good form with a convincing 5-4 win over a spirited Woodlands FC, to progress to the next round of the Linda Welshman Memorial Cup.
Under pressure early on, Moyola battled to overcome the worst of the weather to gain a foothold in the match and should have gone ahead in the 15th minute. William Spiers controlled Johnny Fullerton’s pinpoint cross, only to see his volleyed finish flash past the post.
Moyola continued to have the better of the exchanges as the half wore on but fell behind in the 35th when the Woodlands right back hit a 30 yard screamer that gave Darren McGuigan in the Moyola goal no chance.
With the weather dictating much of the play, chances were few and far between and despite playing some good football, Moyola went into half time trailing 1-0.
Within minutes of the restart, Lee McCallion was unlucky to see his shot cannon off an opposing defender when it seemed destined for the net. With the pressure building on the Woodlands defence, Moyola capitalised, equalising with a terrific free kick. William Spiers’ 25 yard drive, from the left side of the box, went sailing over the wall and crashed into the top corner.
This was the reward Moyola deserved for their excellent passing play and it didn’t take long for them to go in front.
Gareth McLean, forced the Woodlands defence into conceding a corner and Danny McElhatton diverted the ball home at the front post following a goal mouth scramble.
The lacklustre first half was now a distant memory, as Moyola were now threatening to score with every attack. Paddy McGuigan, picking the ball up at left back, made a surging run capped off with a superb through ball that allowed Danny McElhatton to chip the advancing keeper, giving Moyola a 3-1 lead.
McElhatton scored his third goal of the game with a great solo effort, winning the ball before unleashing an unstoppable low shot into the far corner. 4-1 soon became 5-1 as Gareth McLean showed excellent reactions and bravery to cap off a hardworking display by beating the keeper to a 50/50 ball to score Moyola’s fifth goal.
With the game over as a contest, Moyola were made to pay for some uncharacteristically sloppy defending which allowed Woodlands to reduce the score to 5-2. Moyola continued to create chances in the final ten minutes but in their desire for more goals they were leaving gaps at the back.
A harshly awarded free kick was expertly converted by the Woodlands striker to reduce the deficit to two goals and give the away team a glimmer of hope that they could pull off an unlikely comeback. In the final minute, Woodlands scored their fourth goal to cap off a nine goal thriller.
The final score of 5-4 in Moyola’s favour, illustrates the high level of attacking play by both teams, but Moyola will be pleased to progress in a game where they were clearly the better side.
This improving young Moyola side will now be looking forward to their next match in an effort to maintain their recent unbeaten run.