Colts put four past Ards Seconds in the Junior Shield
Ards Rangers Seconds 1 Carryduff Colts 4
A superb disciplined defensive performance and a pacey ruthless attack took Carryduff Colts into the third round of the Junior Shield on last weekend in Newtownards.
A young Ards Rangers team full of player with great potential to play at a high level were outsmarted by their Amateur League opponents with great performances all over the pitch from the Colts.
The home side started on the front foot and created a few chances with quick and attractive football and edged the first 45 minutes.
Carryduff were too open and depended on last gasp defending from skipper Rory McDonnell and Matthew O’Rourke to keep the eager Ards players at bay but managed to hold out until half time.
The second half though was a different story and Carryduff defended much more compactly letting their opponents have the ball in their own half but closing them down quickly as soon as they entered into visiting territory.
But it was up front where Colts did the real damage. After a quiet first half, striker Ciaran Sherry exploded into action and the home defence struggled to live with his pace and that of Mattie McNally.
But it was Euan McNicholl who broke the deadlock with a superb strike after 55 minutes, breaking from the left, cutting inside the defender and firing an unstoppable shot into the top corner - the young striker and Sherry having their own personal battle for goals of the season.
On the hour mark it was 2-0 when Colts summer signing Paul Hayley, whose range of passing had been a joy throughout, broke from midfield and after great work from Sherry applied another superb finish to put his side firmly in the driving seat.
Ards were becoming increasingly frustrated as Carryduff completely smothered them with club stalwarts Joe Sweeney and Paul Murphy showing they get better with age not giving their younger opponents a kick of the ball and supplementing the great work of McDonnell and O’Rourke.
When they did break through, their home team found goalkeeper Sean McCaffrey in great form and he made one outstanding save in particular.
But it was Fergus McBride who probably stole the man of the match honours with a masterclass midfield performance.
Despite walking a tightrope having been booked and given a final warning by the ref in the first half, he managed to stay on the right side of the law but lose none of his bite and his powerful bursts from midfield undid the Ards defence time and time again.
But with 10 minutes left on the clock and just as Carryduff were looking comfortable, Ards pulled one back with a slick move and the striker gave McCaffrey no chance as he reduced the deficit.
Just as it seemed they were destined for the longest last 10 minutes possible young James White who had marked his firs senior start with a energetic performance topped off his big day in style, poking home after the goalkeeper saved his first effort.
It was a double White debut when James’s twin brother Niall replaced him to see the game out and Odhran Sherry came on for the excellent McNicholl and the promising Rory Timoney replaced Mattie McNally.
It was the younger of the two Sherrys - Odhran - who sealed the win following great work from the tireless McBride with superb finish into the corner of the net.
This was one of the finest performance from a Carryduff Colts senior team in many years and the club are looking forward to a tricky test against their old south Belfast foes St Matthews in the next round.
Colts: McCaffrey, Sweeney, Murphy, McDonnell (captain),O’Rourke, McBride, Hayley, C Sherry, McNicholl (O Sherry), J White (N White) and McNally (Timoney).