We secured another vital three points on Saturday following an impressive performance, beating Strathroy Harps 3-1 at Drumad. We started brightly and played our best football of the season in the opening half an hour. We threatened early on when Sean Keenan played a pass from left back down the line to Paul Elliott, who switched to Paul McGrath, who in turn headed the ball to the onrushing Sam Lindsay who fired just wide. We were dominating in all areas of the pitch and didn’t have to wait long before we broke the deadlock when Robbie Little fired home from close range after 8 minutes.
We continued to play on the front foot and doubled our advantage in the 15th minute. Paul McGrath headed the ball on for Little, who raced cleared and drilled a low cross across the box, and when the keeper could only parry as far as Sam Lindsay, this time he made no mistake and buried the ball in to the bottom corner. Moments later, Little was gifted a glorious opportunity when a misplaced defensive header fell straight in to his path but on this occasion he volleyed over the bar.
Next to try his luck was Paul Elliott, first with a rasping shot from 25 yards which the keeper did well to parry, and then curling just wide of the far post from the edge of the box. We then had a brilliant free-flowing move which released Sam Lindsay who back heeled for Andrew Reilly to hit a thunderous effort, which again was well saved by the Strathroy keeper. The visitors did create one chance in the first half but Sam McDonald was sharp off his line to deny Tommy Murphy. So we went in 2-0 to the good at half time.
The second half was a completely different kettle of fish, with Strathroy coming out all guns blazing. They enjoyed a lot of possession, but we were defending well with Chris Beacom making a telling interception to deny Murphy a clear shot at goal. Then, the impressive Matthew Woods made a superb block once again on Murphy, but in doing so ended up breaking a bone in his foot. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the pitch sooner rather than later. Gareth Carrothers introduced in place of the injured Woods.
Strathroy did make their pressure count and pulled a goal back when Kevin Sloan headed home a near post cross. At this stage it was game on, and we were defending for our lives. Jamie Coalter called in to action to make a terrific block in the midst of a goal mouth scramble. However, we scored the all important third goal with 15 minutes remaining. Paul McGrath chased a long ball, and when the loose ball fell to Robbie Little, he made no mistake in lifting the ball in to an empty net from 25 yards out. Great composure considering the circumstances and the conditions. Kelvin McElroy and William Armstrong were introduced to provide fresh energy, and they along with Aaron Lindsay, who put in a superb shift all day, provide the platform we needed to see out the game relatively comfortably. Indeed Armstrong came close to added a fourth but fizzed his shot just wide, and McGrath went close in the final stages when he dashed away from the Harps defence but just overran the ball allowing their keeper to come out and make the save. A great performance all round, final score 3-1.