Colts beaten but not humbled in ten goal thriller.
The Colts travelled to Monkstown for their penultimate game of the season against 3rd placed 18th Newtownabbey OB. Queen's had none of their English based students available due to the Easter holidays and every available player featured in what was in the circumstances a fairly strong line-up.
Queen's started brightly on a tight but decent pitch with a sizeable home crowd in attendance. Forwards Jack Meegan and Carlos Alvarez caused an experienced 18th back four a number of problems in the early exchanges but the home team also looked dangerous on the break. Liam Devlin and Marty Andrews began to dominate the central midfield area and were the source of much of the students' best attacking moves. It was end to end stuff but Queen's deservedly took the lead when Alvarez whipped in an excellent cross from the right which Meegan steered past the goalkeeper with his head. Minutes later provider turned scorer when Alvarez played a one-two with White before powerfully lashing a left foot pile driver past the keeper from a difficult angle to give the youngsters a two goal lead. The flamboyant Spaniard had another opportunity to increase the lead but blazed over the crossbar following a strong run into the box. 18th were awarded a penalty shortly afterwards but Conor Lally produced a fine stop and Renwick cleared the rebound allowing The Colts to preserve their 2-0 lead as the half-time whistle sounded.
Scoring a third goal was always going to be important but it was the home team who registered the next one only minutes into the second period and following a horrible ten minute spell Queen's found themselves 3-2 behind. However, the ship was steadied when Jack Meegan found himself free in the box and tucked the ball into the corner of the net to make it three goal apiece. The long throw-in was a major weapon for the home team all evening and 18th restored their lead via this route when one of several imposing forwards glanced a header past Lally from point blank range.
The students fought hard to get back on terms and created several good scoring opportunities which sadly went unconverted. 18th Newtownabbey scored a fifth goal after possession had been surrendered in midfield and shortly afterwards Queen's again left their keeper exposed as an offside looking opponent slotted a sixth. Both sides missed numerous chances before Matty Andrews pulled a goal back. Robin Renwick almost marked his last game for the club with a goal when he rattled the crossbar from fully thirty-five yards. Queen's fought valiantly to the end of a well-contested affair in which the score could have been just about anything. The team will hope to finish the season with a positive result at Drumbo next Tuesday.
Manager Ian McArthur told us - "Our first half performance tonight was as good as I have seen from a Colts team in my time with the club. Unfortunately we conceded the goal so soon after the break and it lifted the opposition. We then squandered a lot of good chances - but it is hard to be too critical as we have played some lovely football against an obviously strengthened opponent and probably deserved a point tonight.
18th Newtownabbey OB 6 - 4 Queen's Colts