MONEYSLANE Reserves hosted St Mary’s in the O’Hara Cup semi-final last Saturday at Dromore Leisure Centre.
Slane started the brightest, attacking up the flanks with Anderson creating space up the left and he beat the defender and crossed to McVeigh who knocked just wide in the first minute in front of good crowd up the sidelines who turned out roar on the team.
The visitors had a free kick lobbed into the feet of the big centre forward who had his back to goals 12 yards out and he dropped the shoulder one way and turned the other but shot wide of the target.
Slane were in the faces of their opponents who didn’t like it and couldn’t cope and were making mistakes all over the field, Robbie Strain cleared to ball up-field and the St Mary’s keeper miss kicked and it went for a corner. Chievers swung it deep into the back post where the keeper punched clear as Slane applied the pressure.
The locals were playing good football through the middle of the park with Rowan and Chievers in full control using the width of the pitch to good effect where Anderson and McVeigh were using their speed to frustrate the visiting defence. Team Captain, Neil Hanna had the defence well marshalled and they were solid, Cromie, Hamilton and Boyd all playing well as a unit.
Adair came close when his effort went wide of the upright and Ervine also had a shot from outside the box but the keeper held on well with a safe pair of hands.
On the half hour the visitors had a shot charged down by Cromie for a corner that was fisted away by Strain and Chievers found Adair who ran at the defence on the counter attack and he squared to Rowan who shot wide of the mark.
Slane kept the pressure up and pushed the visitors back into their own half and were rewarded a corner that was swung into the danger zone where Rowan rose the highest and he nodded goal ward but the defender cleared the ball off the line for yet another corner. Chievers lobbed it into the box and again the big keeper advanced flying throw the air with the fist connecting the ball and the defender hoofed the danger clear as panic set into the visitors back four.
Moneyslane finished the half on a high with confidence rift throw the squad and they showed they were a good match for the team two Divisions above them.
They started the second with electrical pace and were rewarded a corner two minutes in that Anderson lobbed into the back post, Rowan powered a header through the crowded box past the helpless keeper to open the score for Slane who deserved their lead.
Chievers broke through mid-field with a mazy run and rounded two players before he was upended unfairly and the ref went for the pocket to book the St Mary’s offender who had to take him out or he was through on goal, Chievers dusted himself down and struck the free kick with great venom but the keeper was well placed to save.
Slane then sat back and let the visitors come at them and they launched attack after attack and on the hour they were rewarded a free kick wide on the left and it was tossed into the front post where their centre forward tapped into the net for the equaliser.
Adair found Anderson up the flank and he floated the ball into McVeigh in the six yard box and he chested down and just as he was about to the pull the trigger it was intercepted by the defender.
Anderson floated in a corner to the back post and again Rowan was the winner with his power and strength and he headed towards goal but the defender somehow cleared the ball off the line.
With ten minutes to go the visitors showed why they are top of Reserve One with some good interlinked played wide on the right, the ball was floated into the back post but Strain punched wide for a corner. The corner was swung in and bounced off the post much to the relief of the Slane players.
The sucker punch came with six minutes to go when the ball was floated into the Slane box again and nodded down and the big striker tapped into the empty net with his out stretched leg.
Slane manager Marty Hanna made three changes but it was too late to overturn the game when the big centre forward broke Slane’s offside trap and he lobbed over the advancing Strain for an outstanding goal and his hot trick.
Overall a good performance by Slane especially when they were going forward and giving the visitors no time on the ball. This has been a great Cup run from the Reserves who bow out in the semis and the future looks bright with some great young players coming through the ranks to mix in with the experience already in the team. Best on the day for Slane was the instrumental
Team: Strain, Boyd, Cromie, Hanna, Adair, Rowan, Chievers, Anderson, B McVeigh, Ervine, R McVeigh, N Bingham, Jardine, McCully, Hanna.