An entertaining game away to Kesh ended 2-2, with both sides having chances to win it right at the death. We named an unchanged starting XI for the first time this season and welcomed Ryan O’Keefe and Shane Ingram back in to the squad, whilst Kesh have been on a bit of a disappointing run so were keen for points every bit as much as we were.
Kesh started brighter, enjoying most of the possession and forcing several early corners. We defended well and were very disciplined throughout, restricting Kesh to no clear cut chances despite their possession. However, they did look threatening from corners, and Sam McDonald had to save from Mark Jones before Jamie Coalter cleared his second effort off the line. Lee Walker looked lively down the Kesh left wing, but a combination of Lewis Vance and Aaron Lindsay were keeping him largely at bay. It took us a while to get going and a long range effort from Sean Keenan brought the first save from the Kesh keeper, whilst Stuart Cochrane, Paul Elliott and Paul McGrath all seen their efforts blocked. We failed to make the most of any corners and free kicks we had in dangerous positions, and the first half ended scoreless.
The second half was much more open from the word go. He seemed to be quicker out of the blocks in this half, and just as we were building up a head of steam, Kesh broke the deadlock. We failed to clear the ball on the edge of the area and when it was returned, McCauley got in behind our back four and blasted home, despite strong calls for offside. O’Keefe and Ingram were introduced as we really upped the tempo and went in search of an equaliser. McGrath was played through by Jordan Cadden, but the Kesh keeper was out sharply and made a fine save.
Our equaliser came from a deep Sean Keenan cross that O’Keefe challenged for the first ball, and Cochrane was on hand to slot home from close range to deservedly draw us level. Ingram was causing all sorts of problems, getting to the bye line and pulling the ball back to McGrath, but his goal bound shot was blocked. O’Keefe then had a great chance, but tried to chip the keeper which was easily saved. At the other end, Cochrane and Coalter were superb and dealt comfortably with several Kesh counter attacks.
We were then awarded a fairly soft penalty when Nigel Beacom caught Coalter in the face with a high boot, and Keenan Duly stepped up and slotted home to give us the lead. However, our joy was short lived as Kesh eqaulised within minutes when a long free kick was headed across goal by Grant Ellis and Jones was on hand to tap home. Kesh were then handed an equally soft penalty for a handball against Lewis Vance, but Walker seen his effort rebound off the crossbar. Then, with only seconds remaining Ingram pulled the ball back for O’Keefe, and with the goal at his mercy he fired wide.
A very entertaining and open game, with a draw probably a fair result over the course of 90 minutes, although either side could have won it at the end. Next week we face another crucial game when we play host to Mountjoy United.