Colts back in the winners’ circle.
The Colts entertained high flying 18th Newtownabbey Old Boys under the lights at The Dub on Monday evening. Manager Ian McArthur fielded his thirteenth different back four in thirteen games with Centre Forward Carlos Alvarez pressed into service alongside skipper Niall McCourt in central defence. Nick Lewsley bravely played in goal in spite of an ankle injury which prevented him from taking goal-kicks and restricted his mobility. Jack Meehan partnered young Sam Kyle up front with the regular Colts’ midfield four of Greenlees, Bravo, Nelson and White included.
The early exchanges were fairly even with both sides passing the ball to good effect. Niall Greenlees released over-lapping full-back Robbie Reid down the right and his wicked driven cross just eluded Jack Megan at the far post. The students were in the ascendancy and it was against the run of play when in the 20th minute an Newtownabbey attacker found space in the box and hammered home a low shot past Lewsley.
As has been the case all season the youngsters reacted very well to going behind and carved out several half-chances to get back on terms. Queen’s deservedly levelled matters in the 30th minute when Nacho Bravo received a clever pass from Greenlees before beating a defender on the edge of the box and drilling a left foot shot through the keeper’s hands and into the roof of the net.
As the half progressed Queen’s were matching their opponents in the physical aspects of the game and out-playing them with some clever football. More good work on the right from Greenlees put Kyle through on goal for a well-saved attempt and shortly afterwards the same player dragged a cross-shot narrowly wide when well positioned.
A Newtownabbey midfielder was yellow carded for persistent dissent before the half ended with the home team pressing hard for the go-ahead goal.
Half-time: Queen’s Colts 1 – 1 18th N’Abbey OB 2nds
Queen’s continued in similar style in the second half – dominating possession and restricting the opposition to an occasional long range attempt. Beams and Buevas replaced White and Kyle as manager McArthur introduced some fresh legs. Midway through the second period Nelson and Bravo combined and the latter sent substitute Buevas in on goal. The skilful Spaniard produced a calm right foot finish to put Queen’s into a well-deserved lead.
The atmosphere of the contest deteriorated as the opposition argued with themselves and the referee. Two more yellow cards were brandished to the visitors before a crude swipe by one of their substitutes connected with Bravo and the offender was dismissed from the field. The referee spoke to the Newtownabbey manager about the conduct of his players before some semblance of order was restored.
> In the final ten minutes The Colts had several chances to secure the victory but missed the target on each occasion. A long ball sent the opposition centre forward in on goal but he lofted his shot over the crossbar. In the closing minutes of the match the limping Nick Lewsley produced a save of the highest quality to preserve the Colts’ lead – touching a volleyed effort onto the post and pouncing on the rebound. Lewsley then released substitute Anton McSheffrey who in turn sent Greenlees scampering into the box. As the winger prepared to shoot he had his legs taken from under him and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. With the last kick of the game Joe Beams sent the keeper the wrong way to give the Colts a 3-1 victory against a team who have not dropped below third place in the league all season.
This was a magnificent team performance with many stand-out performances on a memorable evening in blustery conditions. Queen’s have seven games remaining -beginning with the last home game of the season this coming Saturday against Ravenhill at The Dub. A busy Easter programme looms for the youngsters who will aim to finish in the top half of the league and finish the season strongly.
Queen’s Colts 3 – 1 18th Newtownabbey OB 2nds
Scorers: Bravo, Buevas, Beams