Vital three points

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

WITH the title chase really hotting up, this was a potential banana skin affair for the Whites in a notoriously difficult place to get a win.

Albert Foundry...0
Rathfriland Rangers...1

Thankfully through a solitary Johnboy Scannell goal, the Whites took all three points and ticked another fixture off in their pursuit of league glory.

Manager Black was again tested with his squad availability but he put out a strong starting 11 which was boosted by the return of Stevie Coulter on the bench. Ryan Clydesdale came back into the starting 11 with young Ryan Sloane making another appearance on the bench.

The game kicked off with Daryl Evans notably taking a more advanced role in midfield alongside Hazley. The back four of Roy, McAlinden, Clydesdale and Graham were under little pressure in the opening stages and keeper Ferguson was sure footed in his distribution out from the back.

The first half lacked any clear-cut chances as such, possibly due to the breakdown of the Whites passing and movement in the final third. The Whites' forwards of Scannell and McConville were struggling to get a foothold in the game but were industrious in their running off the ball. Key man Lockhart was also being kept quiet by the Foundry defence.

The first real effort on goal came on 30 minutes when Scannell evaded a challenge inside the box only to fire his effort into the side netting. The first half also saw Captain Jonny Roy constantly press forward and find space in the final third and this proved to be a decisive weapon for the Whites later in the game.

Albert Foundry to their credit, did come at the Whites and in particular their left back showed a real quality with his overlapping runs and was dangerous with his crosses. The half ended with no goals for either side but a sense of anticipation was brewing for the away supporters.

Manager Black was tested to the limit with his managerial skills as this didn't look like a game that the Whites looked destined to win. His message at half-time must have drilled some enthusiasm into the heavy-legged team as they came out a much more creative side in the second half.

Daryl Evans in particular was having a fantastic game in the middle of the park and complemented Hazley well.

The opening goal of the game came on 65 minutes with a fine move. Full back Roy bombed forward into space and was picked out well by Evans, Roy then 'shanked' an effort across goal for Scannell to slide in and drive the ball over the line.

McConville at times showed good pace and drive in the advanced areas but began to tire at 70 minutes and was replaced by the industrious Coulter who was a breath of fresh air when he came on.

On 75 minutes the game was more or less ended as a contest when a rash challenge by a Foundry midfielder on Scannell led to a straight red card which the home side didn't have any objections with.

The Whites were sensible in their approach to the final 15 minutes with a lot of 'keep ball' possession to tire out the home side.

One final highlight of the match was a somewhat 'yo u 've been framed' moment when a child's ball had spilled onto the pitch in the middle of play.

Whilst every other player on the pitch was focused on the match ball, eagled eyed Tommy Lockhart showed great pace and athleticism to run away from the ongoing play and curl a sublime pass back over to the thankful kids, much to the delight of the home crowd.

The game ended with the single Scannell goal the difference on the day and another vital three points for the Whites.

Team: Ferguson, Roy, McAlindan, Clydesdale, Graham, Lockhart, Hazley, Evans, Edgar, Scannell and McConville.

Subs: Coulter, Sloane, A.Black.


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