Malachians had to battle hard to eventually overcome a strong and committed Drumaness Mills side by two goals to one at the re-vamped Stadium of Sand, with the pitch in superb condition and the improved spectator facilities on show. Mals were without Dee Hughes and Odhran Close with Brendan Adams, Jerome McAtee and Lee Hickey re-joining the first team squad and Niall Largey taking over in goals. Hickey in particular looked solid throughout at full back and Largey looked confident back between the sticks.
Drumaness started well and grabbed an early goal through Chris Cochrane but Mals, despite starting with a defensive line up, turned it around with two goals in a minute on the half hour mark. First Terry McDonald, looking sharp and committed, finished well after being cleverly slipped in by Pearse McAuley, what a difference he has made in just two games. Then Eddie Begley powerfully directed a McDonald corner in off a post and Mals were in front.
The game really opened up in the second half with the visitors pressing hard. However firstly on seventy minutes they lost Tommy McConnell to a straight red card from referee Noel Crossin, and then on eighty minutes Gary Murdock was off as well for a second yellow. However it was never a dirty game despite the cards just well contested. Despite being down to nine Drumaness never gave it up and, pushed on from defence by the evergreen Mark Holland, continued to press as Malachians sat back and seemed unable to take advantage of their numerical supremacy. McAtee entered for McCready and then Shields replaced Davis as the home side endured a nervous finish to the game to hold on for what was overall a deserved victory.
The defence of Barnes, captain Downey, Eddie Begley and Hickey looked strong and well organised throughout. In midfield McDonald, James Begley, Adams and McCready were clearly up for the battle and what another impressive performance from Begley, driving his side on at every opportunity and deservedly winning the manager’s man of the match award for the second week in a row. Up front McAuley and Davis were a real handful all afternoon for the visiting defence. So another vital three points on the board in what will clearly be an extremely competitive division this season. Well done to managers Carmichael and Logan and all involved and the club looks forward to next week’s fixture, which will be decided at the fixtures meeting on Monday night, with optimism. Up the Mals !
FT: Malachians 2 Drumaness Mills 1