Gilford Crusaders 1
MONEYSLANE Firsts travelled the short distance to Ferris Park, Dromore last weekend for their second league fixture of the season against a well fancied Gilford side who did very well in Division Two last season.
Slane got out of the blocks at a fast pace and were pushing the visitors deep into their own half. Ervine and McCann were combining well and Ervine had two shots well held by the keeper in the early stages.
On the quarter hour the visitors had a chance but it was headed just wide of Bickerstaff's far post.
McCann played the ball to the feet of Bingham who dinked it back to McCann and his goal bound effort heading for the top left hand corner was impressively finger tipped over the bar thanks to an outstanding save by the Gilford keeper.
Wilson and Gibbons were tight at the back for Slane while McConville and Boyd had their work cut out with the speed of the Gilford striker.
The deadlock was broken on the half hour when neat work up the line by Niblock resulted in a great cross to Ervine who was in on goal and was up ended by the last man in the box. The ref had no choice but send the defender off and award a penalty which was converted into the top corner by Ervine.
Fairley crossed to Ervine who had his shot well saved and the resulting corner was headed of the bar by Rowan.
Bickerstaff pulled off a good save low to his right to halt the Gilford side from equalising.
Bingham split the defence with an inch perfect ball to Niblock who again pulled a fine save out of the keeper.
There was a sucker punch right on the stroke of half time for Slane when the visitors broke up the field and striker broke free to lift the ball over Bickerstaff.
Slane took the lead in the first minute of the second half when Niblock caressed the ball up the line to Fairley who swivelled one way, then another and hammered his shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
McCann and Ervine were linking well up front and the play maker Bingham again found space to find Niblock wide on the left and his cross into the danger zone was converted by McCann who reacted the quickest in the box.
With half an hour to go Gilford lost another player with his second yellow card of the game. Davenport was introduced to the game and turned it on it’s head with his inventive play up the left.
McCann played the ball to Davenport who side stepped inside the defender, hammered his shot across the face of goal and past the outstretched keeper for the goal of the game.
Fairley crossed to Scott who had his effort well saved. The corner was swung in by Fairley and met on the half volley by McCann for his second of the game and Slane's fifth.
Best for Slane on the day was Thomas McCann who was outstanding, covered a lot of ground, scored two and only for the some good saves he would have had four or five goals more.
Team - G Bickerstaff, N Wilson, N Gibbons, D Boyd, J Davenport, C McConville, N Bingham, J Fairley, A Rowan, T McCann, M Ervine, J Niblock, K Scott, N Hanna.