THE Swifts hosted Coagh Utd res on Saturday in their opening league match of the season.
With Coagh’s first team having no game the locals feared the worst however credit to the visitors in that they only travelled with one first team player.
The game started at a fast pace with Coagh taking the game to the swifts and forcing them onto the back foot.
Coagh created few clear cut chances and on the rare occasion that they penetrated the swifts back line Wilton was on hand to avert the danger.
The back line of Magennis, Murray and McComish marshalled expertly by Keith Megaw were strong and thwarted any threat from the Coagh attackers.
Rathfriland were posing a threat on the counter attack with Heslip and O’Reilly never giving the Coagh defence a break. One such counter led to a corner for the Swifts which was swung across to the back post. The initial shot was parried by the keeper into the path of Gibbons who fired wide from eight yards out.
The second half started with both sides beginning to tire in the warm sunshine and long balls began to become the order of the day, resulting in few chances for either side.
Coagh were reduced to ten men when Heslip raced onto a through ball and nutmegged the last defender only to be caught by his trailing leg on the turn. The referee had no option but to send the Coagh defender off.
This gave the Swifts the upper hand for the remaining 10 minutes. They had a chance to take the three points when a ball from defence let Heslip away down the right wing and he quickly saw Toal arriving deep on the left unmarked firing the ball across into his path. Unfortunately his first touch allowed the defender to recover and get a block on his shot.
The game ended with neither side really troubling their opponents.
Clear cut chances really were at a premium throughout for both sides and the swifts will need to learn to be more clinical with their finishing.
However they will be pleased tofinally get their league campaign off to a start and a point against last season’s runners up is not to be scoffed at.
Next up is a trip to amateur league side Rosemount Rec from greyabbey in the Irish Junior cup.
Team: Wilton, Magennis, Murray, Megaw (capt), McComish, Gilmore, Gibbons, Johnston, Toal, Heslip, O’Reilly, Subs: Johnston, McDonald.