Moyola U12 weather the storm on trip to the seaside

Portrush 2

Moyola Park U12 3 (AET)

Moyola U12s went to the seaside this weekend to play Portrush in the quarter final of the Coleraine league cup and came away with a 3-2 victory after extra-time.

The horrendous conditions of sleet, rain and a howling wind were not helped by a small bumpy horrible pitch but still both teams put on a performance that was exciting to those who braved the weather.

Moyola didn’t get off the best of starts when Portrush scored after 7 minutes from a free kick after poor marking by the Dawson boys. The wee blue men kept to their game plan and were using their wide players to try and open up the home team.

The first real chance fell to R. Lynn after fine work by D. Hughes down the left who beat two defenders and sent over a good cross but Lynn was unable to convert. Moyola were trying to play a quick passing game but found a very big and hard hitting Portrush team hard to break down.

At the back Lee and Mangion were making use of every opportunity to support Hughes and Palframan and at times were camped in Portrush’s half. The centre back partnership of J. Clarke and S. McGroggan were leading their team from the back with composure and used the ball well when in possession.

Moyola nearly got on level terms in the fifteenth minute when L. Young exchanged passes with J. Gilmour and burst clear but unfortunately his shot went wide of the post with the keeper well beaten. Further chances fell to Hughes and Lynn but despite all Moyola’s efforts it looked like it wasn’t going to be their day. As the rain poured and the wind blew both teams began to make errors due to the pitch turning into a mud bath and McErlain in particular pulled off a brilliant save from a deflected shot.

At half time Moyola introduced R. Walsh in the hope his pace would cause problems to the home defence and this it did. Walsh went on a fine run and squared to R. Lynn, his return pass sent Walsh through to score and level the game.

This lifted the spirits of the blue men who were soaked to the skin and frozen with cold but regardless of this they seemed to find an extra yard as Portrush heads dropped. Moyola should have taken the lead minutes later when Hughes played to Young but he failed to make a clean connection and watched as his shot went wide. O. Lee who was attacking down the right created further chances for his team but found the home keeper equal to anything that was thrown at him.

Extra time, if Moyola were going to win this tie every ounce of energy was required to get over the winning line as Portrush were physically stronger.

The first period of extra time got under way and Moyola nearly scored when a marauding run by Walsh produced a good save by the home keep player.

Moyola fortunes changed when they took the lead after Clarke played a long ball to Gordon who fed R. Lynn on the edge of the box and his through pass found R. Walsh who drove the ball past the Portrush keeper to his team 2-1 up. The wee blue were now enjoying a good period of pressure and should really have scored again when Gilmour hit a twenty yard shot that cleared of the line.

With the game now a knife edge it was going to take a gallant effort to hold this lead as Portrush were banging high balls into the the Moyola area, McGroggan in particular dealt well with this pressure.

The second period got underway with Portrush making two changes bringing on an extra striker and replacing a wide player.

This paid off as they caught Moyola on the break and scored to leave the game all square at 2-2.

With eight minutes left on the clock Moyola got a deserved winner when R. Walsh scored his second when R. Lynn played him in to fire past the helpless keeper.

Moyola played out the last few minutes in their own half and McErlain in particular on two occasions produced magnificent saves to deny Portrush.

These wee Moyola lads showed great belief and character and put every bit of energy they had to get through to the last 4 of the cup. Everyone of them should be proud of themselves for enduring conditions that were outrageous. Well done Moyola!!!

Team: D. McErlain, M. Mangion, O. Lee, J. Clarke, S. McGroggan, C. Gordon, J. Gilmour, D. Hughes, D. Palframan, R. Lynn, L. Young. Sub: R.Walsh

This week the U12s are away to second placed Causeway Colts in a league match.