Our first team produced a sterling effort to claim a thoroughly deserved three points at Drumad on Saturday afternoon against old foes Strathroy Harps. Despite heavy rain, the pitch was in immaculate condition and lent itself to a great game of following football, both teams determined to get the victory in the only F&W Division 1 fixture on the day.
As in previous weeks, we were sharp out of the blocks and dominated the opening half an hour. Ryan Lindsay was the driving force from midfield, really setting the tone early on and setting up several attacks. We had a glorious chance to take the lead, Paul McGrath tees up Paul Elliott who hit a thunderous effort from 20 yards, when the Strathroy keeper could only parry, the ball fell for Kelvin McElroy but with the goal at his mercy he blazed over the bar. Sam Lindsay then had a chance at the back post but just couldn’t get his shot off on time. A McGrath cross then looked over the keeper but agonisingly landed on the roof of the net. We were causing problems from corners, with excellent deliveries from Jordan Cadden providing chances for Stuart Cochrane and Jamie Coalter, and numerous goal mouth scrambles but we just couldn’t force the ball over the line. Cadden then went close with a direct free kick that was deflected just over the bar for another corner. At the other end, Strathroy were awarded a very soft free kick when Coalter was adjudged to have pushed Murphy in the back. Flanagan delivered a dangerous ball, which Boyle duly headed home past Sam McDonald to put the visitors 1-0 up against the run of play. To make it worse, we found ourselves two down just before half time when a moment of quality down the right wing and a bullet header from Murphy doubled Strathroys lead.
Nevertheless, we came out fighting in the second half, and continued to peg Strathroy back. From another corner, their keeper could only punch the ball clear as far as Cochrane, who smashed in a pile driver right in to the top corner. Buoyed by this we pressed for the equaliser, and after a fine move McGrath teed up Cadden perfectly and the midfielder drilled the ball low and hard underneath the Strathroy keeper. With the game delicately posed, neither team seemed content with a point and the search for a winner really heated up. McDonald force to make a good save low to his right, whilst Lewis Vance headed one off the line from a corner. However, we completed a remarkable comeback following another excellent passage of play. The ball fizzed in to Keelan Flanagan who perfectly played the ball into McGraths path to coolly slot in to the bottom corner to send the home support in to raptures. Strathroy nearly hit back instantly, Murphy through on goal but McDonald was sharp of his line to save with his legs. A tough game but great character shown to come from behind, and it was richly deserved following much improved performances over the last couple of weeks.