YOUNG Josh Walker capped a man-of-the-match performance with a fine headed goal on his debut for Dromore Amateurs – but it wasn’t enough to prevent his side from slipping to a 2-1 defeat against Shorts on the opening day of the season.
Dromore suffered a nightmare start to the game when they conceded an early goal on four minutes.
But the home side soon settled and were back on level terms when 17-year-old Walker rose above the entire Shorts defence to meet a long throw from Roger Downey – and the teenager headed the ball sweetly into the corner of the net.
The remainder of the half was an evenly contested affair with goalscoring chances at a premium – and the two sides went in at the break with one goal apiece.
The Amateurs started the second half the better side and were unlucky not to take the lead when a subtle Downey header struck the woodwork. But with 20 minutes remaining, Shorts snatched the winning goal - slack marking by Dromore presented a shooting opportunity to a Shorts midfielder who rattled home a powerful drive from 18 yards. Dromore almost rescued a point in the dying minutes but Simon Henderson was unlucky not to keep his shot down. New manager David Smylie will be justified in feeling this result was somewhat harsh on his side, who were missing six regulars – but there were plenty of positives to build on and it was certainly far from being a demoralising defeat.
Of particular encouragement were the performances of the two debutants, keeper K McKinstry and J Walker.
Team: K McKinstry, K Walsh, S Haslem, C Harper, A Henderson, A Noble, J Walker, W McMurray (c), R Downey, S Henderson, C Gilliland.
The games are coming thick and fast for Dromore. Next up is newly-promoted St Patrick’s YM on Tuesday, August 14, kick off 6.30pm at Ferris Park. On Saturday, the Amateurs travel to Richardson Park to take on Iveagh United in another league fixture.
Meanwhile, the Seconds continued their pre-season schedule last Saturday with an excellent work-out – played in a competitive but very sporting spirit - against Maghera at the Community Centre.
The visitors were most impressive, playing some quality, on-the-deck football, and ran out comfortable 6-0 victors.
It may seem strange to say it, but Ronnie McMurray’s side actually showed a fair degree of improvement - and if they can cut out the individual errors, then the scorelines should begin to swing back into their favour.