Colts march on – conquer Finaghy.
Manager Ian McArthur and his exciting Colts squad were dealt another blow on Wednesday evening with the news that top scorer Peter Morgan had his appendix removed and will miss the next month. We all wish Peter a speedy recovery.
The Colts arrived at Fullerton Park in good spirits and were anxious to record maximum points against a team they had already beaten at the Dub last month. For the first time the boss was able to name an unchanged back four and Tom Empsall returned in goal. In Morgan’s absence flying winger Kyle McCullough was charged with partnering Jonny Boyd up front. Glen Andrews – McArthur’s excellent assistant manager – made the bench.
The students started brightly on a very sticky surface that the referee only just gave the okay to before kick-off. Some clever diagonal balls from Paddy White from the right caused difficulty for Finaghy’s central defensive pair and the speedy McCullough and powerful Boyd both went close to opening the scoring. After ten minute a precise through ball left McCullough one on one with the keeper and he followed up his initially parried effort and slid the ball into the net just before colliding heavily with the post. After some treatment McCullough was thankfully able to continue.
The students continued to dominate and went further ahead when McCullough’s trickery took him into the box where he was upended by a despairing Finaghy defender. Hugh Maguire was nominated and duly sent the keeper the wrong way to give Queen’s a solid and well-deserved lead. Finaghy showed a decent response but were soon picking the ball out of their net again when Boyd was on hand to finish off another quality move. Other good chances went before Finaghy had a sustained period of pressure. Tom Empsall had to produce two top drawer saves to preserve the two goal lead and Queen’s were fortunate when Finaghy missed a penalty as half-time approached. However, The Colts’ good transition play has been a feature of their play all season and from a Finaghy corner Boyd finished of a stunning break-away move to give the students a comfortable 4-0 half-time lead.
The second half was a far move even contest and Queen’s were dealt a warning when Finaghy hit the post and forced a succession of corners in the early stages of the second half. However, the students were again looking very dangerous on the break and after White was felled in the box Maguire stepped up and converted another emphatic penalty to make it 5-0. The crowd of three increased to four with the arrival of Denis Clarke. Manager McArthur was just telling Denis how well the lads were doing when Finaghy registered a deserved goal. Two further goals followed due to a drop in concentration but the away side steadied the ship and almost increased their lead when a clever low delivery from substitute Callum Rennie was clattered against the crossbar by an onrushing Queen’s forward. Just time for a ten minute cameo performance from Andrews and The Colt’s saw the game out for a valuable and richly deserved three points. A fine all-round team performance in difficult conditions and with several key players missing.
The result moves The Colts up to fifth place in the league table with several games in hand on everyone above them. Next up is a trip to Donaghadee where the lads will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run and climb even further up the table. Some signature runs out of the back four from Niall McCourt caught the eye but the pick of many great performers yesterday were the tireless central-midfield pairing of Liam Devlin and Michael Enright.
Goals: Boyd 2, Maguire 2 and McCullough.