IT was somewhat of mixed fortunes for Maiden City Academy under age teams in the NIBFA Cup at the weekend.
The Under 14’s defeated Crusaders on penalities, the Under 13’s narrowly lost 1-0 at home to Carryduff Colts, while the Under 12’s won 2-1 at Crusaders in the National League.
(Maiden City won 6-5 on penalties) MCA U14’s progressed to the 16 of the NIBFA Cup thanks to a hard fought victory over Crusaders at Lisneal on Saturday.
It was Crusaders who took the lead however when they broke quickly after an MCA corner and despite the best efforts from MCA keeper Toraigh McConnell they made it 1-0.
It was 2-0 to Crusaders shortly after when a clearance was put back into the box and Crusaders forward turned quickly to fire home with a great shot.
Just before the break MCA got back into it when out of nothing David Parkhouse found the bottom corner with a sharp turn and finish from outside the box. After the restart MCA raised the tempo and got their deserved equaliser when good play down the right resulted in a cross which found Mattie at the far edge of the box and his shot flew into the opposite corner.
The game now was stretched and chances were coming for both teams but again Crusaders took lead from a corner when their player rose unchallenged to head home from close range.
With time running out MCA through four men up front and it paid off in the last five minutes when Alex Carolan found space 30 yards out and struck an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
No more goals followed in ordinary time and extra time so the game went to penalties which MCA won 6-5 to set up a home tie with Shankill.
Credit has to go to both teams for their attitudes and performance despite the constant barracking from the away support. Best on the day for MCA were Michael O’Hara, Gareth Crawford and Matthew Duffy.
Carryduff Colts U13...1 MCA U13’s crashed out of the NIBFA Cup following a disappointing display at Lisneal on Saturday.
Maiden City started brightly and played the much better football in the opening fifteen minutes.
Cian Catney playing a central midfield role was involved in most of City’s good work and looked reassured throughout. City created a number of early opportunities but were unable to capitalise. Justin McGee went close but was thwarted by the quick reaction of Carryduff’s keeper.
Jack Doherty, celebrating his birthday, was unlucky not to score following a great delivery from a Josh Green free kick, the striker saw his shot go the wrong side of the post with Carryduff’s keeper stranded.
Maiden City looked comfortable in defence with Ryan Higgins putting in an outstanding performance to earn City’s man of the match. Maiden City went behind following a free kick awarded at the edge of the box. The ball was delivered into the back post and City failed to deal with it. The ball fell kindly to Carryduff’s centre forward who had an easy opportunity to slam the ball home.
In the second half City made a number of changes. Ian Maxwell, Jack McCloskey, Ewan McGrath and Odhran McCrossan were all introduced.
With time running out City pushed centre half Ian Maxwell up front but unfortunately City were unable to find a breakthrough and Carryduff greeted the final whistle with delight and jubilation.
MCA U13: Shane Wallace, Ryan Higgins, Adam Gillespie, Michael Kelly, Adam Doherty, Eoghan Crilly, Josh Green, Cian Catney, Justin McGee, Ethan Coll, Jack Doherty. Subs (all used): Ian Maxwell, Ewan McGrath, Odhran McCrossan, Jack McCloskey
MCA U12...2 The Under 12’s had an early start on Saturday morning as they travelled to Belfast to take on Crusaders two weeks after they had knocked City out of the NI Cup.
The Belfast side, despite controlling possession and territory were rarely able to break down the organised City defensive unit and when they did Ben Mills was in fine form pulling off a few good saves and taking the pressure off his back four from crosses and corners.
After fifteen minutes City managed to break away and force a corner from which Ross Barr was on hand to score his goal for the team, which did come firmly against the run of play.
City doubled their lead through Cahir McMonagle whose shot from outside the box was too hot to handle for the Crusaders keeper. The second half saw both sides really have a go at each other and the game become very stretched. City looked the more likely to score and created good opportunities to extend their lead further but found the Crusaders keeper in good form.
When City failed to convert the chances created you had a feeling it might come back to haunt them and with ten minutes left on the clock a shot on the City goal was heading harmlessly in the hand of Ben Mills before taking a deflection and landing at the feet of the striker who tucked it away nicely. A nervy final minutes could of been avoided but Marc Dixon and Cahir McMonagle just failed to put the finishing touches to a few slick passing moves.
City are home this Saturday to Magherfelt Sky Blues in the National League Cup.
MCA U12: Ben Mills, Ross Barr, Tom King, Tom McLaughlin, Christopher Clifford (Aaron Rush), Tyler Toland, Odhran Friel, Jamie Robinson, Sean Carlin (Marc Dixon), Matthew McGarrigle, Cahir McMonagle.