Colts hit form
Queen’s Colts entertained 5th placed Civil Service 2nds at the Dub in what was the their sixth home game of the season. With several regulars unavailable manager McArthur was forced to use almost every available squad member and a number of lads played out of position. Reserve striker Carlos Alvarez lined up for his first ever game as a central defender, Tim Nelson moved from left back to central midfield and William Riley switched sides to left full-back. Forward Joe Beams moved to the right wing.
The game was barely a minute old when a long ball from the left caught Alvarez slightly out of position and a Service forward nipped in to head the visitors in front. A disastrous start but the reaction from the Queens was excellent.
Nelson and Greenlees in central midfield immediately began to take control of their area with the visitors resorting to fouling the quicker and more skilful home players. In an off the ball incident David Kennedy was kicked in the thigh but the ref was dealing with another piece of foul play at the time and missed what would surely have produced a red card. Moments later the same player took Kennedy out with a vicious challenge from behind and was yellow-carded.
The students were now in full flow and had several half-chances to tie up the game. Boyd tried his luck from distance and Kennedy tested the keeper with a free-kick from just outside the box. Wingers White and Beams linked well with their full-backs Riley and Reid and it seemed only a matter of time before the home team would score. Two more Civil Service players were booked for agricultural challenges as they struggled to deal with the pace and superior skill of the students. Queen’s continued their almost total dominance up to half-time but could not find a way past a very competent Service keeper.
It was the same story after half time with Queen’s immediately on the front foot. Alvarez and central defensive partner Eion O’Hare joined got forward more and more and dealt admirably with what were merely sporadic attacks by the visitors. Manager McArthur moved the lively Greenlees to the right wing to attack the full-back and almost immediately he produced a fantastic cross which found striker Jonny Boyd unmarked in the box. From a difficult angle Boyd hit the target with a powerful volley only to see the Service keeper produce a marvellous save – pushing the ball up and over the bar. However, from Tim Nelson’s beautifully taken in-swinging corner Andrew White found space and glanced the ball high into the net with his head to the delight on the home support.
Greenlees was the game’s outstanding player and was on the end of some robust tackling from the visitors. It was no surprise when the same player dribbled from the half-way line into the heart of the Service defence before shooting across goal and into the bottom corner to give the Colts a richly deserved lead.
After the goal Service produced a mini revival of sorts in a period where the students temporarily took their foot off the pedal and dropped too deep. Keeper Nick Lewsley had to be alert on a couple of occasions when the students did not clear their lines properly. However, the ship was steadied with fifteen minutes remaining. Greenlees played a one-two with Kennedy before producing a dangerous low cross from the right with White again being in the man in the right position for a simple tap-in finish. A goal of true quality.
The Colts had further chances with substitute Sam Kyle going very close on a couple of occasions but held on comfortably for a well-deserved three points.
An impressive performance and clear evidence that the Colts are adjusting to life in the new division. Manager Ian McArthur told us “These are the sort of days you enjoy as a University football coach. We have asked lads to play in unfamiliar positions and they have gone out and met the challenge admirably. We have also stood up to a pretty physical challenge today and just got on with it – letting our football do the talking. We are getting fitter every week and finding our feet in this league.”
The Colts are away to Ravenhill next Saturday in what is likely to be the last game until after Christmas.
Queen’s Colts 3 – 1 Civil Service 2nds
MOM: Niall Greenlees.