In the Premier Intermediate League Moyola Park beat Sport and Leisure Swifts 3-0
They welcomed the Swifts to the Mill Meadow on Saturday after a two week break and were looking to make in three home wins in a row.
The game did not disappoint as it ended with three goals, a missed penalty, two red cards and numerous yellows.
Moyola Park manager Mervyn Pattison began with the same starting eleven from the Queen’s game.
The referee turned down an appeal for a corner for the visitors in the 7th minute. and three minutes later Saunders made a great save from a Rafferty volley.
The 11th minute saw Saunders in action again when he saved from a McIlhatton header following a corner from Beggs.
The first booking came in the 15th minute when McIlhatton saw yellow for a foul on Tully and two minutes later the impressive Saunders made another save from an effort from Rafferty. The 19th minute saw a second booking with Beggs being shown a yellow following a rash challenge.
The 23rd minute saw Rafferty have two shots blocked and a minute later McQuillan saw his header cleared off the line. Moyola continued to attack the visitors’ defence and the 25th minute saw a long range effort from McIlhatton saved by Saunders. The keeper saved a header from McIlhatton following a free kick from Forrest.
With half an hour gone the referee reached for the cards again when he booked Johnston for a foul on Rafferty and from the resulting free kick from Rafferty, McIlhatton headed over. The 33rd minute saw a cross on the left from Rafferty just missed by Paul and McCann at the back post. The referee was in action shortly after this as he booked McAuley for a foul on Beggs and Daly for dissent.
The home side opened the scoring in the 35th minute when a pinpoint corner from Beggs was headed powerfully past Saunders from close range by McIlhatton. With the game coming to the end of the first half, Paul found Rafferty and his effort was saved by Saunders and the 41st minute saw Beggs shoot wide following a pass from Paul.
The last action saw a terrific free kick from McCann saved superbly by Saunders. The home side went in at half time wondering how they were only 1-0 up and this was due to the impressive goalkeeping from Saunders in the visitor’s goal.
The visitors made a double change at half time with Lynch and Gallagher replacing Cavanagh and Tully and the first action of the second half came in the 49th minute when Glenholmes headed wide. He again shot wide in the 52nd minute following a challenge by Gallagher on Farniok.
The home side should have doubled their lead in the 58th minute when McIlhatton flicked on and Rafferty found himself unmarked right in front of goal. However he shot straight at Saunders. The 59th minute saw Burns booked for a foul on Beggs and two minutes later the visitors made their final change with G Largey replacing Johnston.
The visitors had an opportunity in the 62nd minute when Glenholmes controlled and shot wide, and ten minutes later an exquisite touch around Gallagher by McCann saw him run towards goals. However his pass towards Rafferty was blocked. A minute later Paul passed to McIlhatton and his effort was well saved by Saunders. The 76th minute brought a red card when Daly brought down McCann as he was about to shoot, however Saunders made a great save from McIlhatton’s penalty and from the resulting corner by Beggs, McIlhatton had a shot saved by Saunders. With nine minutes left Beggs made a tackle on Burns and the same player made a rash challenge on the Moyola number 7 and the referee reached for a straight red which left the visitors with nine men.
A minute later Rafferty shot wide and the 82nd minute saw a great run by Beggs down the left and he crossed to Rafferty to roll the ball past Saunders for his fourteenth goal of the season.
With four minutes left the home side replaced Paul and McCann with Taggart and Moore.
With three minutes left a superb pass from Rafferty found Moore free on the right and his speculative shot somehow evaded Saunders in the visitors’ goal and leave the final score 3-0. The final change of the game saw McNamee replace the impressive Beggs and the referee wasn’t finished with his cards as he booked D Largey and G Largey for the visitors with a minute to go.
This was a very impressive performance from the home side who would have had more goals only for an outstanding performance from Saunders in the Sport and Leisure goal.
Moyola Park: Farniok, Harris, Doey, McQuillan, Forrest, McAuley, Beggs, McIlhatton, Rafferty, McCann, Paul. Subs: Taggart (Replaced Paul), Moore (Replaced McCann), McNamee (Replaced Beggs). Subs not used: McAllister, Mullan.
Sport and Leisure Swifts: Saunders, Burns, McConnell, D Largey, Carland,Johnston, Daly, Cavanagh, McAuley, Tully, Glenholmes. Subs: Lynch (Replaced Cavanagh), Gallagher (Replaced Tully), G Largey (Replaced Johnston). Subs not used: McMullan, McKissock.
Moyola Park’s next fixture is on Saturday 18th February when they travel to New Grosvenor to play Lisburn Distillery and this game will kick off at 3pm.