Three wins on the trot for U18s
The U18s made it three wins from their last four games but made hard work of it against a fiery Cregagh side.
Colts started off on fire and Michael Deeny had four attempts on goal in the first ten minutes but the goalkeeper was equal to anything that came his way.
Andy Carter also went close when he cut in from the right hand side and fired a shot in from a tight angle which the goalkeeper pushed around the post. All the while Danny Toal gave the defenders a difficult time with his height and movement.
There was also some good football on display with Joey Sweeney and Gary Fletcher on the left hand side combining with Deeny and his midfield partner Paddy McEvoy.
It looked like a matter of time before the goal would come.
But Colts appeared to take their foot off the pedal and Cregagh crept back into the game forcing Rory McDonnell and Michael Mooney at centre back to remain solid while goalkeeper Nathan Lyons was alert to the long ball from the goalkeeper.
Carryduff finally got the breakthrough ten minutes into the second half.
Good work by Carter freed up Jonny Murray and his effort sailed over the goalkeeper’s head into the net – it was no more than the Colts deserved.
James Artherton then made a superb run through the middle but was unceremoniously brought down by the defender who was booked.
Just as Carryduff looked to be on their way to victory Cregagh equalised with a hotly disputed goal as the defence claimed for a clear offside.
Carryduff had lost their way and brought on Ryan Beattie and Eoin Doherty up front and soon after got the chance to get back into the lead when Michael Mooney was fouled in the penalty area. The Cregagh defender was also sent off in the incident.
Having struggled this season to find a successful penalty taker after missing the last two, previous penalty taker Michael Deeny returned to the role having stepped down after missing a couple last season.
Despite a long delay to deal with the sending off and related issues he kept his cool and slotted home what turned out to be the winning goal.
With ten minutes remaining another bad tackle saw a second Cregagh player red carded but to be fair to them they kept looking for the equaliser and won a succession of corners but substitute goalkeeper Ciaran O’Hagan’s return to form continued as he dealt comfortable with everything that came at him.
Colts: Lyons (O’Hagan), Artherton, Fletcher, Mooney, McDonnell, McEvoy, Murray, Deeny, Toal (Beattie), Carter (Doherty), Sweeney.
Colts find the key to unlock St Mary’s
St Mary’s 1
Carryduff Colts 3
After coming up against a brick wall and having to accept a scoreless draw in the first game of the season against a resolute St Mary’s, Colts had to try something different in this game.
They went for a 3-4-3 line up with defensive duties falling to Paddy Hynes, Christopher Campbell and Conor Cunningham and they were so effective goalkeeper Simon Henry had a quiet day.
The Colts put the pressure on from the start with Elijah Doyle scoring the early goal but despite excellent play from Tommy Connery, Dylan Strong and Doyle up front, the Colts failed to add a second despite the opportunities in front of goal. They soon paid the price when St Mary’s scored on the counter attack, rounding Cunningham and Henry to slot home the equaliser.
The boys got the hairdryer treatment at half time and stepped up their performance.
The creative midfielder Ronan Lavery was moved to centre half, and Ryan Murtagh was introduced at the back and immediately began to put his head where no one else dared to go.
Ben Davies was causing all sorts of problems in the centre with an excellent passing and moving display, running the St Mary’s defence ragged and they began to tire.
The ever-improving wing pairing of Marc Agnew and Conor Maguire were torturing the St Mary’s defence and Agnew finally restored the lead.
The game was finally finished off when the ball pinged about in the box for an eternity and was eventually lashed home by the powerful Dylan Strong.
Luke Devlin and Brennan Mulholland were introduced to add subtlety to the game and impressed with some neat moves.
COLTS: Henry, Hynes, Campbell, Cunningham (Murtagh), Lavery (c), Davis, Agnew, Maguire, Connery (Devlin), Doyle (Mulholland). Subs: Foy, McCann, Reid.