Colts close in on promotion.
The in-form Colts visited Groomsport for a midweek game on a blustery Thursday night by the shores of Belfast Lough. Heavy traffic meant only a five minute warm-up was possible with the Groomsport manager insisting the game started right away.
The students played into a strong breeze in the first half and had an early opportunity to take the lead when Kyle McCullough rolled his shot just wide of the far post. Groomsport – with a few very skilful players in their ranks used the wind advantage to decent effect but Gawne in goal for Queen’s was again alert to any possible penetration from the home side. Queen’s dealt comfortably with a number of corners and restricted Groomsport to only a couple of decent efforts in the opening stages. Full-backs Riley and Lynch were in fine form and shut down several crossing attempts as the home side searched for the opening goal.
The pace of McCullough and Ghaffari was causing the Groomsport back four all sorts of issues. Ghaffari missed a couple of glorious chances when through on goal as Queens pressed for the opening goal. Now totally dominating the play the youngsters were doing everything but put the ball in the net. Finally – after good work from Moseneke and White the ball arrived at Peter Morgan’s feet at the edge of the penalty area and he produced a smart finish to the delight of his coach and team-mates. A richly deserved goal from the team’s joint top scorer. The Colts defended bravely and maintained a slender but deserved 1-0 lead at the break.
The half-time message from the boss was simple. Be composed in front of goal and manage the game properly. As on Saturday the students continued to play their normal passing game and created further openings for Ghaffari and White in pursuit of an insurance goal. However, it took a fabulous save by Gawne to prevent an equaliser when a Groomsport forward bore down on goal. A rollicking from the sidelines by a snarling assistant manager Glen Andrews re-focused the students and after great work on the left by Ghaffari, McCullough volleyed home in spectacular fashion to increase the students’ lead and the hard-working Ghaffari finally registered after rounding the keeper and hammering home from close range.
Now in full attacking flow the youngsters began to carve out numerous chances. Peter Morgan fired home on the hour mark and completed his hat-trick shortly afterwards with a marvellous effort which flew high into the roof of the net. Groomsport continued to fight hard and were rewarded with a late consolation goal after a rare lapse by the tiring Queen’s defence.
So then, another outstanding performance and result by The Colts who are now just two points from automatic promotion and two wins from the title. A trip to Greenisland on Saturday is next up before more midweek action on Tuesday evening at Donaghadee. A few sore bodies made their way home to Belfast after a much tougher game than the scoreline suggests. Top performer on the night was Peter Morgan who continues to show composure when scoring chances arrive. Michael Moseneke had a very strong second half and the defensive unit continue to impress.
Scorers: Morgan 3, McCullough and Ghaffari.