03 Feb Match Reports – 27/01/24
CYFC u18’s 2 – 1 Ballyclare Comrades
NL Cup Quarterfinals
Last Friday night the Whites made the short trip to Meadowbank 3G to face Ballyclare in the quarterfinals of the National League Cup. On paper the Comrades looked stonewalled favourites after dispatching league leaders and cup favourites Annagh Utd in the previous round. But positively, Cookstown were on a bit of a run since the turn of the year with an unbeaten two wins and two draws in their last four fixtures – and we all know anything can happen in a cup knockout competition. Both teams cancelled each other out in the opening 15 minutes of the game with both defences dominating proceedings in windy conditions.Ballyclare’s strong pressing tactic created an error in Cookstown’s defence on 22 minutes, with their forward ruthlessly exploiting it with the opening goal of the game. Keeper Gordon then made a great save before Cookstown created two half chances through McKnight just before halftime.
Into the second half with the wind on their backs Cookstown began to get a foothold into the game. Defender Burton pounced on a near post flick to thunder home the equaliser from a powerful header from close range on 50 minutes. McKnight and captain McLean then went close with good efforts before substitute Murphy was denied. The back four of Kudrenko, Keturakis, Burton and Martin were resolute throughout as Ballyclare pushed for the winner. The midfield of Whitten, Kerrigan, McLean, Wilkinson, McKnight and Og Shields worked their socks off in and out of possession to try and create that one chance. The game went into extra time with both teams taking advantage of the wind in each of the 10 minute halves. Again Cookstown were resolute in the first half against the wind but went for it with the long ball in the second. With minutes remaining and penalties looming striker Murphy latched unto a through ball to calmly slot home the winner from 15 yards to the joy of the Cookstown parents and supporters – what a result!
Oliver Plunketts in the semifinals up next.
MOM Benas Keturakis
Squad: E. Gordon, L. Martin, J. Kerrigan, Og Shields, J. Burton, A. Whitten, A. Kudrenko, T. Wilkinson, J. McKnight, B. Keturakis, P. McLean, J. Murphy.