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Killymoon Rangers 7
68th Newtownabbey 2
Saturday 17th February 2018
Ballymena League - Division 2
2:00pm ko @ Fairhill, Cookstown
 
Killymoon Rangers hosted 68th Newtownabbey on Saturday past in their 10th League game of the season, with the home team hoping to continue their unbeaten run at Fairhill Park this season.
Killymoon started well with lots of possession down either flank, with plenty of balls being delivered into the danger area by Stefan Shields and Christopher McNicholl. The home side had a few half chances in the early moments from Warren Smith, Stuart Donaghy and Richard Donaghy, but the Newtownabbey keeper was equal to them all.
It wasn’t long before the deadlock was broke however, with Stuart Donaghy winning a free-kick on the edge of the area and Stefan Shields stepping forward, seemingly ready to take a long range effort at goal. However, the winger laid the ball off cutely to Warren Smith who struck home from the edge of the area after ten minutes (1-0). Soon after it became two-nil. Following a quick link up between Ciaran Blake and Richard Donaghy, the ball was played through to striker Stuart Donaghy who struck home with his left foot whilst under pressure from the Newtownabbey centre half.
Possession ebbed and flowed for the remainder of the first half, with both teams putting in tough tackles as they battled for control. Notably, Killymoon’s Ciaran Blake, back in the starting eleven, put in a great shift in the centre of the park and broke up play very well for his side.
There wasn’t much separating the two sides as chances fell to both teams just before half-time, but both goalkeepers were in fine form and equal to the efforts. This said, with only minutes to go before the break there were two goals in quick succession, one from each team. Warren Smith scored his second of the game after a Stuart Donaghy effort was well saved and the ball fell at the feet of the veteran forward who made no mistake and tapped home (3-0). The away side then scrambled home a goal after a mix-up in the defence saw the ball fall to a Newtownabbey front man, who it home well under pressure. HT 3-1
The second half saw Killymoon start quickly, and inside thirty seconds Stuart Donaghy had his second and Killymoon’s fourth of the game. A quick attack and deflected threw ball found its way to Donaghy who took one touch and finished well from a difficult angle. 4-1
They away side didn’t show much in the way of attacks or shots on target, but as we know, all it takes is one chance to change a game, and this is exactly what happened on sixty minutes.
The away side broke free and outrushing goalkeeper Kyle Dobson, who tried to get to the ball first, unfortunately didn’t, and was adjudged to have taken down the Newtownabbey striker inside the area. A penalty was awarded, and up stepped, wait for it… the Newtownabbey goalkeeper to take the resulting spot kick. He slotted the ball into the right corner as the Killymoon goalkeeper dived left. 4-2
As the game progressed, Warren Smith finally got his hat trick. Again, some excellent build up play in midfield from Ciaran Blake, Robert Allen and Richard Donaghy opened up a nice chance for the front man who made no mistake in getting his third of the game (5-2).
Killymoon pushed on and added another two great goals to the tally, one from captain Richard Donaghy, who struck home from 25 yards, and the other from a Christopher McNicholl free kick, which may have took a slight deflection on the way in. Regardless, the home side finished very strong and could have had several other goals on the day, including one which was seemingly scrambled over the line by Stuart Donaghy only for the referee to wave play on. There were also notable efforts from Stefan Shields who hit the post, and Robert Allen who hit one just wide of the mark. 

An impressive performance from Killymoon, especially in the first half and towards the end of the second.
Killymoon now sit top of the league, with an equal number of games now played between them and second place chasers Clough Rangers, who they are yet to face in the League due to multiple postponements as a result of the adverse weather this winter.
Man of the match, sponsored by Sid Wilson, went to Warren Smith – picked by the supporters on the day.



 
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