AMATEUR LEAGUE: 18th edge past Kilroot Rec

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Division 1C: Eighteenth Newtownabbey Old Boys go third in the table after what turned out to be a surprisingly narrow 2-1 victory over a Kilroot Rec side who have now lost 29 out of 29 this season.

The Monkstown men were 7-0 winners when the two teams met back in August. But Kilroot have improved since then, and but for a missed penalty from Chris Blayney, they could have been celebrating their first point of the season.

As 18th boss Garry Campbell reflected: “We played the better football but, as we learned up at Mossley a few weeks ago, there’s no use being the better side if you cannot take your chances – and we missed them left, right and centre!

“To be fair to Kilroot they never gave up; they worked hard, got bodies behind the ball and they possibly deserved a point.”

Kilroot’s Mervyn Smith added: “We could have had a point. We might not have deserved it, but it wasn’t our fault 18th couldn’t take their chances. It was hard to think of one of their players, maybe apart from the goalkeeper, who didn’t have a chance but our keeper Gordon Priestly made some good and some lucky saves.”

While Terry Lyness stretching for the ball turned a Dee Hunter cross over from just a few yards out, 18th looked set to pay for their early waywardness when Kilroot snatched the lead against the run of play on 23 minutes. It was a first Rec goal for young Matt Hannigan who headed in a David Kidd cross.

The heroics of veteran netminder Priestly, coupled with some rather diffident finishing, meant there were no further first-half goals. The Old Boys, however, started the second session with a flourish and within a minute they had bridged the gap as substitute Brian Galloway lofted the ball over Priestly.

Newtownabbey forged ahead on 65 minutes when Ryan McClelland knock the ball over the line after it looked as though the scrambled effort from Steven Finlay, was going to float on the puddle on the goal line.

Kilroot could have snatched a draw, but for Blayney’s late penaltymmiss.

18th Newtownabbey OB: Hamilton – S Chambers, Brown (B Galloway), McKnight, Hunter – R Moore, Torrens, Jamison (Finlay), McClelland – Lynas, J Moore. Sub (unused) Wilson.

Kilroot Rec; Priestly – Potts, J Smylie, Hammond (M Galloway), Blaney, Rea – McAuley (D Aston), Kidd, McFetridge – Nelson (King), Hannigan.

More Amateur League coverage in this week’s Times