Battle of the Swifts

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Battle of the Swifts thumbnailDarren Hyland of Annalong Swifts, climbs above a Newcastle opponent to head the ball clear.

NEWCASTLE Swifts ended a 29-year wait to bring the Bobby Dalzell Cup back home to the Seaside Town.

Annalong Swifts...1
Newcastle Swifts...2

The last time they won was way back in 1987 when Newcastle beat Castlewellan 1-0 to win the coveted trophy.

Monday's version of the Dalzell Cup was a game that Annalong controlled for most of the 90 minutes and had they taken their load of chances in the first half, they would have left Newcastle still waiting to lift the Dalzell.

Only six minutes had passed when Stephen Burden should have taken the lead when he shot straight at 'keeper Small, who saved well at his near post.

Burden was then lucky to stay on the pitch just one minute later when a rash two-footed tackle on the halfway line could have ended in a red card for the Annalong number 8, but referee Laverty took a lenient view of the tackle.

Annalong, who had flown out of the traps, were then waiting with bated breath when Leslie Maybin was well placed, but his snapshot was well smothered by Small in the Newcastle goal.

It was then an against the run of play moment when a flick-on header from Gribben somehow reached big James Magee and he made no mistake from 15 yards to put Newcastle ahead.

This left the Annalong players stunned and their supporters were left silent as everyone in the ground thought Annalong should have been ahead.

But the Hillmount Park outfit were not going to lie down and were back in the hunt as early as the next minute. Forsythe slid a slide rule pass in front of striker Ryan McMurray, who duly obliged with a superb finish at the near post to level the scores.

McMurray was at that stage ahead in the Man of the Match stakes and on the end of every Annalong attack. Most people thought it was only a matter of time before the Mourne men went on to take the game, due to the amount of possession the blue side had, but the half-time whistle went with no further scoring from either team.

The second half started as the first had ended with Annalong the favourites to go on and win but the soothsayers in the crowd knew that it was likely that Annalong would pay for their missed chances.

There was little to report until the 50th minute when the Newcastle substitute, Kidd made all the difference as the talented Newcastle youngster was now pulling the strings and with Maybin and McMurray both tiring for Annalong, it was very obvious that Newcastle were getting back into the game.

Corr won the midfield battle and duly supplied Magee up front and this led to Newcastle's best spell in the game

82 minutes gone on the clock and that man Magee struck again with a well-taken goal issued from a Kidd throw-in down the right.

Now it was panic stations for Annalong as they threw everybody except 'keeper Sloan up front, but to no avail as Newcastle shut the back door on all but one occasion. 'Keeper Small made a great save at the feet of an Annalong forward, only for McMurray to be caught offside yet again as he stroked home the rebound.

The game fizzled out as a spectacle as Newcastle closed shop and it was with great glee that they greeted the referee Laverty's final whistle, with the "Bobby Dazzler" on it's way up the A24 for a party.

Man of the match was James Magee of Newcastle with his two goals.


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