Toughest test of the season

MONEYSLANE Thirds faced their toughest test of the season so far when they travelled the short distance to Bellsbridge aiming to do the double over local rivals Dromara.

Their only defeat in the league, was to Slane earlier in the season when Davy McCullough’s men beat them two nil.

Dromara came flying out of the blocks and had Slane well on the back foot the first 20 mins playing some slick passing football without actually creating many clear cut chances.

Midway through the first half Dromara deservedly took the lead when a free-kick was palmed onto the bar by Boyd in the Slane goal only for the Dromara player to react quickest and head into the empty net.

Slane were all over the place and were two down soon after when Neil Gamble brought their forward down in the box and Peter Kelly stepped up to score from the spot. Despite Boyd getting a hand to the ball, he just couldn’t keep it out.

Half time couldn’t come quick enough for Slane, who had a few players with their heads still in Benidorm after captain Gary Hanna’s stag weekend there last week!

Manager McCullough made a few changes at half time, bringing Corbett and Blakely into the affray and changing formation.

Slane started the second half like men possessed and they soon had Dromara pushed further and further towards their own goal and got their reward when Gary Hanna poked home after a goal mouth scramble to breathe more fire into the away side’s performance.

There wasn’t many clear chances from open play with most efforts coming from set pieces, including a rasping free kick from Andy Rowan that the Dromara keeper done well to save.

Tackles were flying in from all angles as Slane pushed hard, and were denied a stonewall penalty when Kirk Stewart was chopped down in the box, only for the ref to book him for diving, much to the disbelief of everyone watching. A decision the ref, much to his credit, later admitted he got wrong.

Slane were deservedly level soon after, when a volley from Graham Kelly, from a corner took a slight deflection and looped over the stranded keeper. Much to the delight of the Slane fans up the sideline.

Dromara were shell-shocked and McCullough, sensing a victory was close, sent the pacy Watts on for the final 15 minutes. It was Sammy, who raced down the right side and pulled back for Hanna to win the game in the final minute, but the angle was too acute and the keeper saved well to deny Slane all 3 points at the death.

Best on the day for Slane was Graham Kelly who never put a foot wrong all day, and the 3 subs deserve credit for making such a good impact coming off the bench.

Next up for Slane is a tough trip to Ballynagross to take on the league leaders and McCullough will be looking to avenge Slane’s only home defeat this season in the reverse fixture before Christmas.