Queen’s Colts 2 Groomsport IIs 1

Colts back to winning ways.

The Colts were bolstered by the return of Michael Moseneke who had not played since the first game of the season and Peter Morgan now recovered from his appendix surgery. Captain Niall McCourt missed out with a tight hamstring which allowed the long awaited debut of Callum Smith. Andrew Gawne was in goal having dropped down from the 2nds. Regular left back Hugh Maguire was back at left back and captained the side.

The students – anxious to banish memories of a rare off-day last week – were quick out of the blocks and created several half chances for Morgan and the lively McCullough. The visitors rarely threatened in a first half as Queens largely controlled the match – playing their usual passing game and working the ball out from the back when circumstances allowed it. All that was missing was the goal but after White’s tenacity forced the Groomsport right back into an error Peter Morgan marked his return with a calmly taken finish to give the students a well-deserved lead. Easily the best half of football played by a Colts team in my memory.

“More of the same” were the instructions from McArthur and Andrews at the break and the Colts did indeed continue where they had left off in the first period. Maguire forced the Groomsport keeper into a fine one-handed save from a free kick and delivered several dangerous corners which almost lead to the students increasing their lead. A couple of dubious off-side calls from an otherwise excellent referee prevented the home side from going further ahead but as Groomsport began to mount a sterner challenge a good cross from the left was converted emphatically by the visitors to tie up the match.

The response to this setback by The Colts was remarkable and after a sustained period when a few half-chances came and went, up popped substitute Aleix Garcia a the back post to nod in the winner for students. Queens held on quite comfortably and should take it as a huge compliment that the visitors’ manager and staff suggested (wrongly) that Queens had strengthened the team with several 2nds players.

Top displays by many of the Colts yesterday in what was a game of high quality against one of the best opposing teams we have played so far this season. An impressive debut by Smith in defence caught the eye and Morgan up front caused the opposition all sorts of issues for the entire afternoon. Devlin and Enright are consistent performers in midfield and McCullough is a bag of tricks on the wing. Nice cameo substitute performance from the returning Moseneke whose pace always causes defenders problems. Caolyn Lynch had his best game so far at centre-half.

A marvellous performance to finish the year as the Colts will not play again until January. One defeat in eight games shows the talent of this group and many of the lads will surely be pushing for places on the 2nds in 2016.

Scorers: Morgan and Garcia

MOTM: Morgan