Colts rediscover mojo at Cairnshill Park.
The Colts banished the spectre of last Saturday’s horror show by deservedly claiming all three points in this midweek league encounter with Newtownbreda 2nds at Cairnshill Playing Fields. Stopper Adam Robinson returned to action after a lengthy injury absence for some valuable game time and partnered Gareth Orr in another re-jigged Colts rearguard. Nacho Bravo returned to bolster the midfield with regular central partner Tim Nelson restored to his most effective position. A small crowd braved a chilly South Belfast evening with former Newtownbreda great Mark Proctor in attendance.
Newtownbreda played with the breeze in the first half and took an early lead against the run of play when a long punt from the keeper bounced over the Queen’s defence and the home team’s right winger slipped the ball past Lally from close range. However, as has generally been the case all season the students responded well to going behind and gradually began to exert their authority on the match. Several good passing movements produced half-chances for Meegan and Nelson. A succession of corners had the home defence scrambling and only a top save from their keeper prevented Robinson from giving Queen’s the lead with a powerful header at a corner. Then Jack Meegan had a couple of decent chances to draw The Colts level but he could not convert them when well positioned in the penalty area. It seemed only a matter of time before the youngsters would score and after a couple more near misses a flowing five pass move – which began with Riley in the right back position – was finished superbly by centre-forward Carlos Alvarez who found the corner of the next from eighteen yards. Five minutes before half-time Alvarez dispossessed his marker and deftly lofted the ball over the keeper and into the net to give The Colts a well-deserved half-time lead.
Playing with the elements in their favour the students went in search of the all important fourth goal. Newtownbreda pushed more men forward in an attempt to get back into the contest and had a decent amount of possession in the opening quarter of the second half. However, Queen’s were always a threat on the counter attack and when Alvarez was presented with an opportunity to complete his hat-trick on the hour mark he did not disappoint. Niall Greenlees provided an excellent cross from the right which the Spaniard spectacularly volleyed into the roof of the net to the delight of his manager and the rest on the Queen’s contingent.
The Colts’ back line and keeper were in fine form and everything seemed quite comfortable until a loose ball in the box was hammered home by a Breda attacker with ten minutes left. The home team proceeded to throw everything forward in search of an equaliser. However, the students not only held firm but threatened to score again themselves as the game became stretched and bodies tired. Substitute Carlos Buevas tested the keeper late on and Liam Devlin’s snap shot brushed the post just before the final whistle.
So, another excellent away performance for the Colts who have all but cemented a fifth place finish and are just one point shy of their manager’s target for the season. Top performers in a fine team display were Robinson, Orr, Riley and hat-trick hero Alvarez who in recent weeks has put himself in pole position to be the team’s top scorer.
The Colts are not in action again until April 20th when they travel to Monkstown to face 18th Newtownabbey OB.
Newtownbreda 2nds 2 – 3 Queen’s Colts