Posted 5 years, 10 months ago.
The Gladiators of 1st Bangor left the fiery colosseum of 18th Newtownabbey battered and bruised but equally elated with the prize of 3 precious points grasped tightly in their possession after an emphatic 4-0 win away from home.
The cauldron-like atmosphere of Newtownabbey's Monkstown ground with spectators perched on the high-banked slope overlooking the pitch and baying for blood will no doubt intimidate many teams that venture there and will certainly send plenty home slain with nothing more than aches and pains to show for their efforts. 1st Bangor though are made of much sterner stuff this season, and every ounce of that inner steel was needed to take home the spoils from the match on Saturday.
18th Newtownabbey are a towering team of physical brutality and many onlookers may have expected the young, fleet of foot 1st Bangor side to have rolled over and admitted defeat before a foot was even set on the muddied, rain-sodden pitch. How wrong they would have been. Bangor not only matched Newtownabbey in strength and passion but excelled them. Like war-hungry warriors they stood toe-to-toe with the fiercest of challengers and did not blink.Instead they got in the faces of Newtownabbey from the start, matched their physicality and then let their superior football do the talking. The back four of Corkum, Nicholl, Sproule and Gourley, and goalkeeper O’Neill, stood tall like the mythical Titans, an impenetrable barrier to the Newtownabbey's forwards’ attacking intents. Corkum and Nicholl mopping up each attack and leaving Sproule and Gourley free to push forward and threaten down the narrow flanks.
In midfield, Oliver and Caldwell sprinted like gallant gazelles against the faltering
Scott and debutant McCracken meanwhile worked tirelessly up front, fighting for each ball like war-hardened veterans fighting for a cause more important than themselves – the greater good of the Club and more presently its promotion prospects. Elbows and late challenges like cannon-fodder as they led the relentless charge forward towards glory.
The action heats up as Oliver drops the ball back to Nicholl, Nicholl hangs a delicious ball up to the back post, McCracken’s there, McCracken volleys, McCracken scores – 1-0 to 1st Bangor, the first knife into the side of Newtownabbey. The onslaught continues, Oliver whips in a fierce ball to the near post, Newtownabbey in panic, just cleared…corner…Corkum header - blocked, Caldwell shot – blocked, Newtownabbey survive…just.
Oliver again from wide, crossed low, McCracken takes a touch, sets himself, arrows his shot right into the corner and into the heart of Newtownabbey, 4-0 1st Bangor. 1st
"It is not enough to fight. It is the spirit which we bring to the fight that decides the issue. It is morale that wins the victory."
Team: C O’Neill, M Corkum, C Nicholl, B Gourley, J Sproule, A Caldwell (D McPhillips), R Oliver, M Robinson, S Beattie, C Scott (S McCormick), C McCracken