Colts lose season opener but plenty to admire.
Last year’s Champion Colts started life in 3E with a home game against 3rd placed Rosemount 2nds at the Dub. Seven Freshers made their QUB debuts with just a few of last season’s lads in the side along with assistants Glen Andrews and Jack McMahon and the returning David Kennedy back fold after a year away in France. Liam Devlin captained the side with Kennedy and Andrews up top and last season’s Player of the year Kyle McCullough reverting to Left full back due to lack of available defenders.
The early exchanges were fairly even as both sides settled quickly. Queen’s were passing the ball quite nicely with newcomers Bravo and Greenlees catching the eye. The pace of the youngsters was causing Rosemount’s central defensive pair some problems but the direct style from the visitors meant the Colt’s back four and keeper had to be on their guard on several occasions. The students lost central defender Phillipp Kallenbach after only fifteen minutes to what looked like a thigh muscle injury. Matthew Griffiths replaced the unfortunate German stopper.
Rosemount were awarded a penalty midway through the first half when McCullough – after initially defending well – caught an opponent just inside the box and the ref pointed to the spot. The defender felt he had played the ball and was booked for his protests. Nick Lewsely in goal had no chance with a well-taken penalty.
The students responded well to going behind and when McCullough’s brilliant attacking run was halted with a foul David Kennedy stepped up and basted a bullet free-kick past the Rosemount keeper from 30 yards. The contrasting styles of the two teams was obvious and both teams threatened the opposition goal before a good cross from the left was headed past Lewsley by the Rosemount centre forward. The Colts again reacted well to the setback and shortly afterwards good combination play on the right between Greenlees, Bravo and Andrews gave Kennedy a chance and the striker calmly found the corner of the net. Lewsley then made a brilliant save down low to his left after a breakaway by Rosemount but Queens were now firmly on top and and it was no surprise when Kennedy dribbled into box and completed his hat-trick, poking the ball under the keeper to the delight of a small group of home supporters. Half-time – Queen’s 3 – 2 Rosemount.
Manager McArthur was forced into making an early change in the second half when Kyle McCullough was forced off with blurred vision – the result of a robust first half challenge by an opponent. Andrew White moved to full-back but within minutes of the adjustment he suffered a tight hamstring and was forced off. Shortly afterwards Rosemount drew level as the students began to tire. Back-up goalie Jack McMahon took over at centre forward with Kennedy moving to fullback in a needs must situation. As the lack of match fitness kicked in Rosemount began to dominate proceedings and took the lead when a misunderstanding between defenders and keeper presented them an easy headed chance. They increased their lead to 5-3 when their speedy left winger produced a piece of magic and set up a team-mate for an easy opportunity.
The students again showed tremendous determination and after a fantastic run from Kennedy resulted in a fine finish from “Nacho” Bravo the exhausted youngsters battled hard to tie up the game. However, Rosemount increased their lead before Queen’s goal keeper Nick Lewsley was forced off with a groin injury and the students finished the game with ten men.
Some excellent performances with Kennedy, Devlin and Bravo the standouts. A game played in reasonably good spirit and well refereed.
In the circumstances this was a very encouraging start for The Colts. The opposition had a pre-season, six warm-up games and this was their 5th league game as opposed to one training session for the Colts. The plan for the next month will be primarily to get the new squad fit. More Freshers will make their bow in the next match and in the months ahead.
Queen’s Colts 4 – 6 Rosemount 2nds
Man of the match: David Kennedy.
Scorers: Kennedy 3, Bravo