Amateur League, Division 1A: Despite Barn United crashing to their fifth successive Division 1A defeat away to neighbours UUJ, assistant-manager Robert McKee said: “Someone will take a real battering from us one of these weeks.”
“We’re missing that killer edge. I don’t think any of our strikers have scored in the league,” he added. “Just like the Tandragee game the week before, we were the better team, but that’s not much use if you can’t get the goals. It’s something we’ll have to work on in training this week. We just need to get that bit of confidence; the boys just need a goal or two and then we can go on a wee run.”
Barn slip to third-from- bottom, just two clear of basement side UUJ who have a game in hand.
Shane McCullough, though, has certainly made his mark since taking over at UUJ. And, as an accomplished centre half in his own playing days; he has certainly tightened those defensive screws with only one goal conceded in the last five games.
McKee quipped: “I know how they don’t concede. They don’t come out of their own half; they’re Chelsea, park the bus – but they’re good at it. They sit back and try and hit you on the break! They’ve become hard to beat, rather than trying to go out and win games.”
Four wins in the last five, however, suggests UUJ are on the up and while McCullough admits he is trying to build from the back, on Saturday, his hand was forced by the lack of attacking options.
The wedding of UUJ’s Dee Magennis to team-mate Padraig Scollay’s sister, robbed them of frontmen, such as Padraig and Dee’s brother Johnny. And with Ciaran McMullan and Ryan Kelly injured, McCullough was hardly spoiled for choice; Anto Hughes made his first appearance of the season, certainly doing a job up front after coming off the bench.
It was left to midfielder Laurence Lyons to provide the firepower, netting the all-important goal on 35 minutes. Mark Dundas, who had the ball in the net moments earlier, provided a searching pass which eluded Rob Armstrong, allowing Lyons to race through and give Stephen Brennan no chance.
The Jordanstown side’s new-found defensive austerity will be tested on Saturday, in an Irish Cup tie away to a Crumlin United.
McCullough will hope to have a few players back, given that Lyons, who has scored six of the last seven, will be missing. Barn, meanwhile, host St Patrick’s YM in the league.