Sky Blues empty handed after visit of Desertmartin

Magherafelt Sky Blues U14 player, Michael Stewart, who scored and starred in his teams 8-0 win over Portadown. See report in side column
Magherafelt Sky Blues U14 player, Michael Stewart, who scored and starred in his teams 8-0 win over Portadown. See report in side column

The Blues hosted local rivals Desertmartin at Spires Park and after a game full of twists and turns were left empty handed.

The game was only two minutes old when Desertmartin opened the scoring, Martin flicking the ball home from a corner. Five minutes later the Blues equalised when O’Neill headed in at the far post.

The topsy turvy nature of the game continued as Desertmartin regained the lead as poor defending allowed McElhatton to head home.

The Blues responded yet again when Ciaran Monaghan made the score 2-2, 20 minutes in. Magherafelt were gradually getting the upper hand and McGuckin and Monaghan both missed chances.

Disaster struck again for the Blues when Crozier in the Blues goal came out to meet the onrushing forward and executed what looked like a great piece of goalkeeping at the striker’s feet only to be harshly and wrongly penalised by the ref.

Desertmartin then dispatched the resulting penalty to regain the lead against the run of play.

Undeterred the Blues set about restoring parity and did so 3 minutes later when Devlin latched onto a through ball and dispatched it to the net for 3-3 after half an hour.

Desertmartin almost took the lead at the start of the 2nd but the strikers shot just missed the far post.

After this scare the Blues upped their game and for the next half hour pummeled the Desertmartin defence and created one on one chances for Monaghan twice but he was denied by saves from the keeper.

O’Neill was wide with a header and this was followed by 3 goalmouth scrambles which Desertmartin somehow cleared with the ball being cleared off the line on more than 1 occasion.

Desertmartin were only having sporadic attacks but from one of those forced Crozier into a good tip over.

With 10 minutes left the turning point of the game arrived when after Monaghan had rifled the ball to the net the ref disallowed the goal to the astonishment of everyone.

Desertmartin then went up the field and scored a fourth following another defensive mistake. Desertmartin went on to score twice in the last five minutes as the Blues pushed forward looking an equaliser.

The Blues were the dominant team for a lot of this game especially in the 2nd half but credit to Desertmartin who took their chances while the Blues didn’t take theirs when they were on top.

Team: Crozier, Bell, McElhone, Ferris, O’Kane, Conor Monaghan, Devlin, Ciaran Monaghan, D O’Neill, McGuckin, McAlynn. Subs: Hassan,S O’Neill.

Magyherafelt 1 Ballymoney United 0

The Sky Blues earned a precious three points against old rivals Ballymoney. As expected, this was a hard fought game, and the Sky Blues victory was by the slimmest of margins.

The ‘Wee’ Blues started the game well and some of their passing play in the first twenty minutes was a delight to watch. The Sky Blues created several clear cut chances during this spell with Jamie Gribben, Rory Clarke and Ryan McMenemy feeding the Sky Blues wingers Aaron Donnelly and Oisin Mullan at any opportunity.

The only goal of the game came after 15 minutes when Jamie Gribben sent Oisin Mullan clear down the right flank. Mullan raced clear of the Ballymoney defence and finishing in great style.

While the Blues started well for the remainder of the game Ballymoney had Magherafelt on the back foot.

The second half was a battle for the Blues and it was their strong defence that earned the three points. The stand-out performance came from man-of-the-match Jon McAllister who put his body in the way of any threat that came his way.

McAllister was ably backed up by Daniel Robinson, Caolan Crozier, Ross Speers and Ryan Lennox. Shea McGuckin in goals showed again what a talented goalkeeper he is. Despite pressure from a very strong Ballymoney side the Sky Blues held out to the end and should be rightly proud of their tenacious performance.

Sky Blues 3 Bertie Peacock Youths 8

This was always going to be a tough game against an organised U-12 side on a week Sky Blues were missing 5 players.

In the first half this proved to be the case, and although great efforts from Lorcan Bradley and Callum Davidson were blocked, the Blues found it tough trying to stop Peacock’s midfielders breaking through in numbers.

This resulted in Bertie Peacock Youths taking a 7-0 lead. On the stroke of half time Lewis Francis saw his penalty saved with Lorcan Bradley putting inches over the bar from the rebound.

With a few positional changes at half time, Sky Blues started the second half a lot stronger and within 5 minutes Lorcan Bradley slotted home a ball palmed out by the Peacock’s keeper. A few minutes later Matthew McMenemy scored a free kick 20 yards out and then Lewis Francis made no mistake this time from the penalty spot.

Blues man-of-the-match Matthew McMenemy had another free kick sailing into the top corner only for Peacock’s keeper getting finger tips to it.

Sky Blues were playing with a bit of confidence now but got caught on the counter attack as Bertie Peacock Youths broke and scored with a right foot shot that gave the keeper no chance.

Sky Blues 2 Lower Maze 2

Another beautiful morning for a game of football which proved to be the young blues well match challenge in the league so far.

The Lower Maze lads had more hunger for the ball and had several chances to pound the blues defence and goal area early on in the game, leaving goalkeeper Michael McLaughlin very busy.

The Blues lacked energy and lost out in tackles for possession all over the pitch, but had some chances to attack the Lower Maze goal.

The Maze lads were very quick on the counter attack won a penalty when their striker was brought down in the penalty area.

Michael tried his best but was unable to save a well struck shot to his right towards the top corner.

The young blues heads dropped and before they knew it they went 2-0 down before half time.

At the start of the second half after a storming team talk to encourage the lad to go out and play the game they enjoy, the young blues were more committed by being first to, and challenging every ball with a fresh desire which they lacked in the first half.

Towards the end of the match the young Blues got a goal back after a free kick which was whipped in by captain Liam Og McElhone leading to a goal mouth scramble putting their keeper under pressure.

The ball came off the keeper’s body to the awaiting Anton Tohill who tucked the ball into the net.

This lifted the Blues to another level with a fresh zeal to go on and finish the match off. With a few minute to go, the Blues put great pressure on the Maze team.

The ball was picked up in midfield by Ciaran McKeever who played Stephen Greer through on the left. He then ran at the defence and whipped a great ball into the box to several awaiting Sky Blues.

There was another goal mouth scramble and Sebastian Layden, with great skill, assisted Anton Tohill to score his second goal.

The Blues continued to put great pressure on the Maze team who were stunned by the turn around, as they thought they had the game sown up.

Pushing forward for the third goal in the last few seconds of the game the young Blues were awarded a corner whipped in by Tohill, the young blues were hoping to get a third goal but the ball was knocked about a bit, then cleared by the defence.

The Sky Blues couldn’t put the well-deserved finishing touch on the game. Well done lads on coming back to get a deserved 2-2 draw.