Cookstown II are now aiming to finish in fourth spot in Junior One after securing their league status for next season with a well-crafted victory over Mossley at The Glade.
The Reds were missing Mark Simpson, Mitch Greer, David Best and Scott Nelson, but were still well-stocked with Chris Millar, Ryan Johnston and Michael Kerr returning to the starting line-up.
Mossley, sitting two places above Cookstown, started the game at a gallop but Josh Anderson and Andy Ferguson were equal to their attacking intents in the danger area.
Cookstown slowly worked their way into the match through the tremendous efforts of Michael Kerr and Ryan Donaldson who both proved a handful for the Newtownabbey men throughout the match.
It was Kerr who opened the scoring when his run down the right picked out Callum Anderson in an advanced area and the striker was able to pick out the schoolboy international with a pinpoint cross which Kerr smashed home on the reverse.
It was the Reds’ sixtieth goal of the season and Kerr’s first for the Seconds. The remainder of the half was hotly contested but the Reds defence stood tall against a robust Mossley attack, keeping the home team’s opportunities to a minimum.
The defensive effort by the forwards – and Chris Millar in particular – was crucial to Cookstown’s victory in the second half and caused the Mossley attack to falter at every turn.
The Reds, contrariwise, were given spance and were able to control possession in defence and find passes into the midfield.
It was Millar’s efforts to disrupt the Mossley defence which led to Ryan Donaldson getting in on goal and finishing into the bottom corner. Millar might’ve had a goal of his own some minutes later, but the home goalkeeper was quick off the mark to smother the ball.
The result was secured when Raymond Miller surged forward as only the Stewartstown Striker can, bashing his way through several attempted tackles before slipping the ball to Paul Watt who smashed home for 3-0 with just five minutes remaining.
Cookstown II: Josh Anderson, Mark Wilson, Andrew Ferguson, Gavin Butler, Ryan Johnston, Michael Kerr, Timmy Sloan, Richard Nelson, Callum Anderson, Paul Watt, Ryan Donaldson, Chris Millar, Raymond Miller
Solo Fuels Man of the Match: Michael Kerr.
Junior League One
Banbridge II 18 - 41
Lisnagarvey II 15 - 37
Annadale II 16 - 30
Mossley II 17 - 22
Cookstown II 16 - 21
Newry II 16 - 21
Kilkeel II 13 - 16
Instonians II 15 - 16
Lisnagarvey III 15 - 13
North Down II 15 - 7