We secured a vital three points as we overcame Dergview Reserves 2-0 at Drumad on Saturday afternoon. We started brightly, and straight from kick off we very nearly scored. Sam Lindsay played a neat one two with Paul Elliott and whipped in a superb cross which Paul McGrath headed narrowly wide after about 30 seconds. We then had a free kick on the edge of the area which Sean Keenan drilled powerfully, and when the keeper could only parry the ball up in the air, Paul McGrath looked odds on to score but the keeper recovered well to make another save. Shortly after, an Andy Reilly corner found Chris Beacom at the back post but he narrowly missed the target.
After this, Dergview settled and had a period of sustained pressure of their own. First, Sam McDonald had to make a smart save and Lewis Vance cleared the rebound superbly off the line. We had to withstand a series of corners, with Reilly making a superb last ditch header to clear the ball over the bar. Then, we gifted Dergview possession inside our own half, and their striker released a stinging effort from 30 yards, which McDonald pushed on to the post and luckily the ball bounced away from danger.
At the other end, Sam Lindsay cut inside following a pass from McGrath but his shot was narrowly wide of the far post. Just before half time Elliott whipped in a delightful cross which just evaded both Sam Lindsay and McGrath as a fairly even half came to a close delicately poised at 0-0.
We came out much improved in the second half with Vance and Beacom solid at the back, whilst Willy Armstrong and Ryan Lindsay were dominating the midfield battle. A breakthrough finally came when the ball fell inviting for Paul Elliott to smash home from the edge of the box in the 55th minute. Indeed, Elliott should have scored again shortly after when a rushed clearance by the away keeper went straight to him, but he couldn’t get the ball out of his feet quick enough which allowed the keeper just enough time to get back and make the save.
The visitors were then reduced to 10 men following an awful tackle on Vance, which left the referee no option but to brandish a straight red card. But the game was still on a knife edge, and there was a real heart in the mouth moment as McDonald came to collect a routine cross but lost his footing. However, we managed to just about get enough contact on the ball to push it round the post, and we cleared the resulting corner.
At this point the game really opened up and if we had have been able to pick the right option on several occasions, we could have put the game to bed much earlier. We had to wait until the final few minutes to secure all three points. McGrath burst forward from the half way line, and despite the best efforts of the Dergview defence to scythe him down, he somehow managed to stay on his feet to coolly slot past the keeper.
A scrappy game at times, but a very important three points nonetheless which sets us up well for another massive game this weekend when we travel to Killen Rangers.