THE Swifts Reserves hosted second place Dungannon Rovers Reserves to mark the mid-point of their league campaign on Saturday past, with a vital three points the reward on offer.
It took 20 minutes for the Swifts to settle into their familiar passing rhythm, with the pace of Ryan Hillen and Gary O’Reilly terrifying the visitors.
It was the same duo that combined brilliantly to break the deadlock, a powerful run from Gary O’Reilly left two defenders in his wake and his pinpoint cross met the well timed run of Hillen, who controlled his shot past the ‘keeper. O’Reilly turned provider again minutes later when his pace strength and set him free and once again his delivery was exact, this time Hynes with the neat finish to make it 2-0.
With confidence high the Swifts were pressing forward and creating scoring opportunities at will, a spectacular ball from Jackson set Hillen free, he did well to round the keeper but was unlucky to leave himself a tight angle and good defending saw the ball cleared.
The Swifts started the second half the strongest and were controlling the pace of the game. A direct pass allowed Niall Maginn to control on the edge of the box and drill his effort past the keeper, the goal left Dungannon appealing to the referee for handball however the protests were waved away.
The home side continued to press for more and Ryan Hillen grabbed his second when Daryl O’Reilly split the defence with his pass, leaving Hillen to slot his effort inside the post. Ten minutes later Hillen was denied his hat-trick when he rushed his effort and struck directly at the advancing keeper.
Late in the game Dungannon benefited from a questionable refereeing decision, when Connell Jackson was adjudged to have pulled down a striker, in truth the contact was minimal. Dungannon converted the penalty, the striker placing the ball confidently into the top right hand corner.
The loss of a clean sheet seemed to anger the Swifts, none more so than captain Daryl O’Reilly who vented his frustration with a ferocious half volley from a headed clearance. His 30 yard strike showed great technique, generating power and swerve which left the Dungannon keeper sprawling.
The final whistle sounded with the score 5-1. The Swifts Reserves showed great commitment and team spirit, controlling the game for large periods with movement and speed of play. On this form the Swifts Reserves will be tough to beat, but as league leaders this will be the objective of every opponent.