Colts held again – play-off with Ravehill looms.
The Colts missed the opportunity to clinch the 3F title on Thursday evening at The Dub when late goal from Donaghadee gave the visitors a barely deserved point and now forces Queens to play-off with Ravenhill – both teams finishing on 50 points.
Queens started brightly on a glorious evening and immediately settled into the contest. Wingers McCullough and Moseneke were particularly on song. Supported by full-backs Riley and Lynch the Queens wide men carved out early half chances for Morgan and Boyd up top. After 20 minutes the students very deservedly went ahead when a wicked right wing cross from William Riley flew over the head of the Donaghadee keeper and into the net to the delight of the large home support. The Colts took control of the contest and produced the flowing one touch football that has been a feature all season. Good work by Boyd allowed Paddy White to play in the lively Kyle McCullough and he slipped the ball past the keeper to give the students a 2-0 half-time lead.
The message at half-time from manager McArthur was to continue in the same vein and score a third and decisive goal to make the game safe. However, Queens went a little quiet after the break and Donaghadee grew in confidence. A succession of free-kicks against the home side – for what appeared to be minimal contact – finally resulted in a headed goal for the visitors to make it 2-1 to the Colts.
Queens introduced Ghaffari for the hard working Boyd and he almost immediately had a wonderful opportunity to make it 3-1 but the ‘Dee keeper saved well with his legs. Further chances went unfinished as Queens sought to close out the deal. A horribly fussy ref seemed to be looking for a place in the Guinness World Record book for the number of soft fouls awarded but the youngsters looked to have weathered a brief storm until three minutes from time when a loose ball broke to a Donaghadee forward in the box and he converted to the joy of his own team-mates and the many Ravenhill payers in attendance.
Time ran out and in the aftermath the deflated Queens players believed that they had lost the 3F division title.
So, painful disappointment for the Colts who must now lift themselves one last time if they are to be champions. In the circumstances the play-off opportunity is a relief but two draws that really should have been victories mean the wait goes on for this talented squad and their coaches.
Some outstanding performances with Enright, McCourt and Moseneke being the pick of the bunch. Onwards and upwards for the students. Manager McArthur may yet still have his Ranieri moment..