Malachians 2 Queen’s University 2 (Queen’s win 3-2 on penalties)

Steel & Sons Cup round 3

Due to unavailabilities, injuries and suspensions, Queen’s made 5 changes to last week’s starting line-up. In goal, first year student Conor Lally made his debut in place of the suspended Declan Brown and he was to have a dramatic influence on the eventual outcome.

Queen’s started well and might have gone in front after just 5 minutes when Cameron McCauley’s pass found Nathan Jones who shot low across goal, just missing the far post. Malachians were dangerous from set pieces and on three occasions saw free headers go narrowly wide. Adam Simpson’s fierce shot from the left was too high and this was his last contribution as he became the third player in recent weeks to be substituted early in the game through injury.

The home team came more into the game and took the lead on thirty two minutes when the lively Mane won possession which allowed Adams to slip Davis in and he put his side in front with a tidy, left foot finish. On thirty eight minutes Malachians went further in front. Good build up play involving both full backs Black and Sharp saw the ball drilled into the box by Daniel McDonald. A rash challenge by Queen’s defender Chris McIlwaine brought down Davis, and referee Kennedy pointed to the spot. Mane dispatched the spot kick despite keeper Lally getting a strong hand to the ball.

The game changed after the break and Queen’s dominated increasingly as the half progressed. Five minutes in, from a set piece, Jones controlled the ball, swiveled and his left footer went through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner. Malachians keeper Chris Light felt he was impeded and received a yellow card for his protests. Queen’s were attacking continuously now and missed a host of chances and were denied a number of times by fine saves by Light. The pressure had to tell and Queen’s were awarded a penalty when Light clashed with Jones as the forward try to go round him. Matt Hughes tucked away the penalty and Queen’s missed yet more chances. Stephen McDowell had the ball in the net but his celebrations were short lived, referee Kennedy deciding that he was offside.

And so to extra time in which not much happened though Queen’s captain Daniel Hanna had a header go just over.

The penalty shootout was embarrassing with just 5 of the 12 penaties converted. Hughes, McIlwaine and McCauley scored for Queen’s but the hero was young Conor Lally who made 3 great saves to help his side to a 3-2 victory on penalties.

This was a very strange game in which Queen’s made and missed a stack of chances and in the end needed a penalty shoot out to progress. A win is a win and given the number of regulars missing a win away to any NAFL premier division side is an achievement. In Round 4 Queen’s will be at home to NAFL Division 1A side Newcastle on Sat 24th September, ko 2:30pm

Next game is a home league game against Lisburn Distillery on Sat 17th Sept ko 3.pm.