18th Newtownabbey 0-4 1st Bangor FC

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 Newtownabbey backline, cutting through them like a moment of pure silence cuts through the noisy and unforgiving atmosphere in Monkstown.  Beattie and Robinson were lions in midfield, feasting on possession like it was their last meal and baring their teeth when in and around the Newtownabbey box.


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.


1st Bangor had now tasted blood and were in no mood to show any mercy as the second half got underway.  Beattie to Scott at the edge of the box, Scott back to Beattie who surges goal-ward, Beattie out-muscles the Newtownabbey defender, takes aim and fires in a magnificent finish in off the bar and into the net, 2-0 1st Bangor.


1st Bangor’s gladiators now in full command in the hostile arena, feeding on the animosity of the home support as they strode forward again.  High ball into the box from Sproule, Oliver header – off the post, back to Beattie, across to Scott, 1 yard out, Scott volleys home, 3-0 1st Bangor.  Newtownabbey bloodied, down on one knee… but 1st Bangor unrelenting.


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 Bangor’s warriors emerge victorious, as delighted with the clean sheet as with the 4 goals, but most of all proud of their efforts in taking 3 points against a strong and powerful Newtownabbey side.


"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

18th Newtownabbey 0-4 1st Bangor FC

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