IVEAGH Thistle entertained Saintfield at Carryduff in the George Best U12 League knowing a win would put them in touching distance of the league leaders.
Thistle started on the front foot and had Saintfield pushed back by defending in numbers, but after they had survived the early onslaught found themselves moving forward which left a bit more room at the back for the Thistle attacking unit.
Defender Stewart intercepted a pass and played in winger Moore on the right, he beat his marker and as the keeper approached he strongly shot to the net to send Thistle one up on seven minutes.
The locals, now full of confidence, were passing the ball from front to back creating chances at will but the outstanding Saintfield keeper was to deny strikers Donnelly and Carroll with some fine saves.
On 12 minutes Moore’s quick feet found him fouled in the box and the ref pointed to the spot. McCavitt stepped up only to see his penalty saved by the keeper but his disappointment was short lived as from the keeper’s poor kick out the ball was returned by McCavitt into the open net.
Being two down, Saintfield had their most dangerous spell of the game but Thistle’s back four of Scott, Stewart, Russell and Woods, who was giving a man of the match performance in his new position, were in sync with each other pushing forward as a unit and playing Saintfield off side when required and also putting in some telling challenges to thwart any danger.
On 20 minutes Thistle made it three when a Cairns’ run and pass found Gallagher who in turn played in striker Carroll who made no mistake. It could have been four just before the break with the passing move of the match; McCavitt won the ball in midfield and passed to Moore, whose first time ball found Cairns who produced the killer pass to Breen whose shot was excellently saved by the keeper.
The second half started a more even affair with neither side testing each other’s keeper but momentum again went Thistle’s way when Carroll was up ended in the box for the second penalty in the game. The young striker took the spot kick and dispatched it to the bottom corner, making it 4-0.
Moments later Saintfield had something to cheer about with a goal to grace any game when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box, their striker bent it over the wall Beckham-like giving keeper Hunter no chance.
Thistle continued to dominate play with Carroll and Donnelly again going close and good work from Wilson played in Carroll, who in search of a hat-trick hit the post.
The fifth goal was scored on 20 minutes when Scott took a free kick in his own half and played a defence splitting ball wide left to on rushing Moore who beat the off side trap, rounded the keeper and scored his second of the match.
With the game now as a contest over Thistle’s pressure was relentless, so much so that right back Russell was now making foraging runs down the wing and from one such run the ball was played into the box ensuing in a goal mouth scramble which found Carroll poking the ball into the net on the blow of the whistle to achieve his hat trick to round off a superb team performance.