AN AIDAN MCLAUGHLIN goal four minutes from time salvaged a point for Bonagee United in their Ulster Senior League opener against Swilly Rovers this afternoon.
Bonagee United 1-1 Swilly Rovers
It looked as though it was going to end in a frustrating home loss for the side from Dry Arch Park, who trailed to a goal from Laurence Toland after only 80 seconds.
Photo caption: The Swilly Rovers side who opened their Ulster Senior League campaign today with a draw against Bonagee United at Dry Arch Park
Bonagee dominated the contest thereafter and Swilly, who fielded an all-Ramelton side in manager Gerry Crossan’s first match at the helm, were digging in deep – especially with Martin McDaid red-carded on 63 minutes for raising his hands to Francesco Crisco.
So even though it was the hosts who had to strike late to get the point, it was still the visitors who headed for home happier with the result.
Swilly – and indeed Crossan’s tenure – got off to the perfect start when Ricky Fisher intercepted a pass from the Bonagee defence and laid off to Toland to sweep past Gareth Wade in the second minute.
That gave Crossan’s side, who were cobbled together after only two training sessions since his appointment last week, something to hold onto – despite the fact they had the gale force breeze at their backs in the first half.
Bonagee started creating chances – and lots of them. McLaughlin headed over a cross from Crisco on seven minutes before getting a shot off well on the turn, which just cleared the Swilly crossbar.
The Bonagee United team that took on Swilly Rovers this afternoon in the Ulster Senior League
Both players – McLaughlin and Crisco – then draw saves from Caolan Bolton before the visitors had a lucky escape. From a Crisco corner on 28 minutes, Kennedy Boachie’s initial shot was cleared off the line by Brandon Wilkie before the ball deflected back towards the Swilly goal and Duncan Patterson lumped away.
Shane O’Doherty, the Bonagee left-back, joined the attack and saw his shot gathered by Bolton and Crisco improvised an overhead kick on the stroke of half-time that was again saved by the Swilly goalkeeper.
Boachie, three minutes into the second half, scampered clear and when faced with an advancing Bolton, dinked the ball over the Swilly netminder but just off target.
McLaughlin’s back-header was then just off the mark as well. A fizzing drive from Boachie was than battened away by Bolton but Dean Larkin couldn’t get his foot over the ball with the follow-up as chances continued to come and go.
Swilly were hanging in there and their strikers living on scraps and they had little option but to retreat when McDaid was sent off.
Seven minutes from time, substitute Mickey Sweeney got away from a rare break and went to ground in the Bonagee penalty area, with Darek Frankowski in close attendance. Referee Tommy McAree waved for play on.[adrotate group=”63″]
Peter Moran, the Bonagee manager would’ve realised his side might’ve got away with one there, but was still an evermore frustrated character on the touchline. McAree approached him at one stage in the second half.
His team finally grabbed a goal on 86 minutes when a Chris Moran shot was blocked by a crowd of players, only for McLaughlin to pick up the pieces and shot past Bolton for a share of the spoils.[adrotate group=”37″]
Bonagee United: Gareth Wade; Taylor Russell, Jamie Lynagh, Darek Frankowski, Shane O’Doherty (Gareth Breslin 73); Dean Larkin, Aidan McCauley, Chris Moran, Francesco Crisco, Kennedy Boachie, Aidan McLaughlin.
Swilly Rovers: Caolan Bolton; Dylna Hegarty, Duncan Patterson, Shay Durning, Shaun Crossan (Paul Bradley half-time, Oisin Duffy 73); Brandon Wilkie, Martin McDaid, Barry Mooney, Ryan McDaid; Ricky Fisher (Mickey Sweeney half-time), Laurence Toland.
Referee: Tommy McAree.Tags: