PORTRUSH II 2
SOUTH ANTRIM IV 0
Following back to back 1-0 defeats, Portrush II were keen to get their season back on track and welcomed a South Antrim side who were looking to leapfrog Portrush in the league table.
A strong Ports outfit began the game well and were passing the ball with confidence.
From the offset, James McCook, Barry McMullan and Andy Dalzell were causing the South Antrim backline problems and were able to create chances at will.
James McCook fired over the target from close range when the ball fell kindly to him in the ‘D’ and Barry McMullan’s reverse effort was fired wide after excellent build-up on the right involving Andrew McConaghy and Craig Henry.
Despite Portrush being on top in the game, any pressure exerted by South Antrim attack was swiftly dealt with by the confident Portrush defence, with Peter McMullan in particular making a number of crucial interceptions.
Portrush were able to take the lead in some style after a swift counter-attack saw Andy Dalzell and Barry McMullan exchanging passes before Dalzell fired confidently beyond the South Antrim ‘keeper. It was no less than Portrush deserved in an excellent first half performance but were keen not to rue missing a number of excellent opportunities.
The second half saw South Antrim pose more of an attacking threat but the watertight Portrush defence came out on top on a number of occasions with Peter McMullan and Andrew McConaghy winning the battle with the South Antrim attack.
When South Antrim did get opportunities in the ‘D’ Gordy McAllister was on hand to make a number of crucial clearances including an excellent save from a South Antrim short-corner down low at his right hand post.
With Portrush creating numerous opportunituies at the other end, the South Antrim ‘keeper too was also in superb form, denying James McCook from a tight angle and Peter McMullans effort from a short corner.
Portrush continued to create chances at will but time and time again were unable to seal the game with a second goal. Barry McMullan’s point blank effort was superbly smothered by the South Antrim ‘keeper once again and with Portrush unable to kill the game off, nerves were evident throughout the team.
The South Antrim side gained confidence from still being in a game which should have been over as a contest and the Portrush midfield were having to provide excellent defensive cover with Graeme Kerr able to break up the play and with Craig Henry’s energetic bursts forward, the Portrush defence were able to re-group time and time again.
With just seconds remaining, another South Antrim attack was broken down by man of the match Peter McMullan whose clearance found James McCook wide right. McCook was able to find Barry McMullan in space with a fine pass and McMullan, through on goal, completed a superb performance when he rounded the ‘keeper and slotted past the desperate defenders on the line to seal all 3 points.
A fantastic team performance saw another defensive master class from Portrush, with Peter McMullan and Andrew McConaghy excellent throughout. The character shown by the whole team in a tough second half was encouraging as Portrush travel to Mossley next weekend looking to set-up a promotion push for the second half of the season.
Portrush II: Gordy McAllister, Josh Hutchinson, Andrew McConaghy, Peter McMullan, John McMullan, Graeme Kerr, Craig Henry, Eoin Sayers, James McCook, Barry McMullan, Andy Dalzell, Jonnie Watton, Adam Holmes
Man of the Match: Peter McMullan