Intermediate Cup round 4
Queen’s needed to win this one to retain any interest in a knock out cup football this season and on a very cold day in Ballyclare, Stephen McDowell started up front against one of his former clubs. Daniel Hanna failed a fitness test before the game.
Ballyclare had a first minute chance when clever left winger Joel Cooper weaved his way through and shot straight at Declan Brown. It was inevitably scrappy football on a lumpy pitch which suited the physically bigger and more aggressive home team who had the majority of possession and territory but didn’t make many clear chances.
The deadlock was broken after 33 minutes when marauding Ballyclare left back Kyle Buckley chased a seemingly lost cause to the bye line and managed to get a foot to the ball before it crossed the line. He hooked the ball back to the unmarked Andrew Simpson whose perfect mishit spun away into the far corner of the Queen’s goal.
Five minutes after the restart Queen’s were level. Stephen McDowell chased a long clearance up the middle and the ball broke to Mark Prenter whose left foot volley from 25 yards dropped perfectly into an empty net. Ballyclare soon got on top again and put the Queen’s defence under pressure. The vital moment in the game came just after the hour when Ballyclare sub, Eddie Hill, fell in the box and referee Gibbons awarded a penalty which Simon McGowan dispatched with ease, having sent Brown the wrong way from the spot. Ten minutes later it was all over when Buckley met a left wing corner with a flick header which sent the ball flying into the Queen’s goal at the far post. It got worse for Queen’s when Daniel Culbert was sent off for a second bookable offence but although the ten men battled to the end, Ballyclare emerged worthy winners.
This was hard to watch, much endeavour on a difficult pitch against a bigger stronger team but credit to our players who battled hard to the end especially after they went down to 10 men when it would have been easy to drop the heads and concede a couple more goals.
Sympathy to Daniel Culbert, sent off for not a lot, for the first time in his career and Queen’s first player sent off this season. As Daniel’s mum approached referee Ken Gibbons to discuss the matter after the final whistle, little did he know the danger he was in, however, no harm was done though any exchange of Christmas cards seems unlikely.
Next up is a league game at home to Newington YC on Sat 31st January ko 2pm
Queen’s University: Declan Brown, Thomas Plant, Zac Fletcher, James Ferrin, Adam Robinson, Mark Prenter, Daniel Culbert,, Kevin Hagan, James Lavery, Stephen McDowell, Ryan Murphy Substitutes: D. McMahon, J. McCrea, M. Allison, S. Walsh.