Magherafelt Sky Blues downed by rivals Newtowne

Ciaran Monaghan was man of the match for the Reserves in their cup win over Dunaghy
Ciaran Monaghan was man of the match for the Reserves in their cup win over Dunaghy

Magherafelt Sky Blues saw their five game winning streak ended last week by local rivals Desertmartin and on Saturday they conceded five more as they crashed to new leaders Newtowne.

They will be a bit disappointed with Saturdays display and know they will quickly need to regroup in this testing trip play Chimney Corner at Allen Park.

Corner went down two nil to local rivals Brantwood on Saturday and know victory over the Blues would see them moving above them in the league table.

The Antrim outfit have a good strong squad of players and at home are a tough proposition.

Ten goals conceded in two defeats is sure to have dented confidence in the Blues camp, but they are certainly good enough to bounce back to winning form.

Sky Blues Reserves 3

Dunaghy 0

Magherafelt Sky Blues Reserves advanced to the quarter finals of the Steele & Sons Shield after a hard fought 3-0 win over Dunaghy at a blustery Meadowbank Park.

Dunaghy won the toss and decided to play against the strong breeze in the first half, and the wind was making it difficult for both teams to play football. It was 11 minutes before the Blues had the first chance of the afternoon when Hawe met a Devlin corner but headed straight at the keeper. Dunaghy rarely threatened but when they did Young was on hand to block a goal bound effort.

The Blues were struggling to take advantage of the strong breeze but when they started to get the ball down and play football they created some chances, the next chance coming from Beattie after good work from Monaghan on the left wing.

Dunaghy then had a rare attack but they shot straight at Kerr in the Blues goal. Both teams were now adjusting to the conditions and had a chance a piece on 37 minutes when Devlin fired over and Kerr saved a Dunaghy free kick.

Then finally the breakthrough came for the Blues on 39 minutes from a move which started in the Blues defence. O’Neill played it out to Devlin who played a precise pass into Hawe just outside the box, Haw laid it off for the on rushing Monaghan to take a touch and rifle the ball to the bottom corner with his left foot.

Now with a goal advantage the Blues had plenty of work to do in the 2nd half defending against a stiff breeze. The Blues were sleeping at the back and Dunaghy hit the post on 47 minutes then a floated free kick caught the Blues defence out but the header sailed narrowly wide.

The Blues then had a chance to increase their lead on 49 minutes when Hawe battled well to win back possession and put Beattie through but shot straight at the keeper. The Blues defence was coping well with everything that came towards them and any time they did get in Kerr was on hand to deny them.

Magherafelt had further chances to increase their lead on 57 minutes when after a well worked short corner Monaghan shot across the goal but was off target. Then a minute later Beattie was through against the keeper and again the keeper saved, Monaghan was following up but failed to hit the target.

Despite playing against the breeze it was the Blues that were enjoying majority of the possession and Beattie was through again but couldn’t find the target. Then on 72 minutes the Blues hit the post when substitute Spinu rose highest but the ball came off the upright. However 3 minutes later Spinu wasn’t going to be denied again.

A quick throw from Collins set Monaghan away who pulled back for Spinu to tap home under the keeper to give the Blues a deserved 2-0 lead. Dunaghy were struggling to create any chances of note but the Blues defence, well marshalled by O’Neill were dealing with everything with ease.

As the game entered injury time, Spinu doubled his tally for the day when Devlin put Beattie away down the left wing and crossed for Spinu to tap home.

The defence as a whole played well today, especially Declan O’Neill at centre half but today’s honours go to Ciaran Monaghan, who got the decisive first goal, set up the second and controlled play in the middle of the park when was needed most in the second half against a stiff breeze.

Magherafelt: O. Kerr; S. Brady, B. O’Kane, D. O’Neill, B. Devlin (P. Collins); C. Monaghan, A. Hawe, J. Young, M. Devlin; L. Wisniewski (V. Spinu), T. Beattie