Queen’s Colts 2 Ballysillan Swifts IIs 2

Colts hold leaders Ballysillan to keep unbeaten record.

A squad hugely depleted once again with injuries, late-cry-offs and unavailability left Colts’ manager Ian McArthur scratching his head late on Friday evening. However, the numerous absences gave the remaining three players from the squad who have not featured a chance to be involved.
League leaders Ballysillan Swifts arrived at the Dub smartly dressed in club tracksuits and are clearly a well organised club.

The students – with several lads playing in unfamiliar positions – again started brightly, taking the game to the visitors and testing the keeper with a couple of long range efforts in the opening period. Ballysillan gradually got a foothold in the game and threatened the makeshift Queen’s back four with fast raiding breaks down either side. In an even first half The Colts took the lead when great individual play from winger Kyle McCullough, followed by a precise low cross, was thumped high into the net by Peter Morgan. A goal of true quality. Ballysillan’s response was immediate and only last ditch defending kept them out until finally their speedy right winger out-paced the home defence and his low cross was finished at the back post by the equally quick left sided forward.

Half-time 1-1.

Queens started the second half extremely well – standing up to the physical challenge of the visitors and out-playing them in midfield with clever one-twos, good movement and control. Hard-working centre midfielders Paddy White and Liam Devlin gave Queen’s a platform and it was fully deserved when the students took re-took the lead in the 60th minute. A high clearance was pulled out of the air by McCullough who then found centre forward Jonny Boyd 25 yards from goal. after teeing himself up Boyd unleashed an unstoppable volley that left the keeper rooted to the spot as it glanced off the inside of the post and nestled in the back of the next. This was Boyd’s third goal in three starts for the Colts.

The visitors – who had four players booked for either foul play or dissent – again responded well to going behind. The home back four came under increasing pressure as Ballysillan forced a number of set-pieces in the later stages of the game. From a corner one of the visiting centre backs glanced in a equaliser with ten minutes to go. Both sides tried hard to produce a winner and it took two outstanding saves by Tom Empsall in the Colts’ goal to keep the scores level. Even after a red card in the dying minutes Ballysillan almost snatched a winner but a game of tremendous quality and endeavour ended in a tie – the right result, a good point in the circumstances and a point that may well be significant for The Colts in the final shakedown in May.

Manager McArthur and his assistant Glen Andrews have clearly got a talented group of players. A five game unbeaten run – largely against teams in the top half of the league – is commendable. The challenge now is to maintain this good form and climb the table in the coming weeks.

Goals: Morgan and Boyd

MoTM: Kyle McCullough