MAGHERAFELT Sky Blues duly completed a back-to-back Ballymena Intermediate League double over 10-man Ballynure Old Boys on Saturday (January 12) when the teams clashed for the second week in succession.
With home advantage, Gary Burns’ lads had hoped to be able to reverse the previous week’s 5-1 rout, but once again the Blues finished comprehensive 4-1 winners.
During the first half the hosts had the major share of possession, but managed to turn round one down.
Simon McGreevy headed a Barry Penny cross over the bar, and then new signing, Stevie McDowell, fired straight in to the arms of the busy keeper, who also did well to thwart Mark Leckey.
Five minutes before the break Blues opened the scoring when the ball hit the roof of the net despite Lee Singleton’s attempt to tip it over the bar.
The visitors carried a slender lead in to the second session, but soon the scores were level, when Ronnie Burns netted from the penalty spot following a hand ball.
Leckey should have put his side ahead, but fired wide of a gaping goal after Burns had drawn the keeper out of position.
The Blues regained the lead on the hour from a set-piece, and in the 70th minute hopes of getting anything from the game faded when central defender, Paul McFarland was sent off for second bookable offence.
Moments later Blues doubled their lead from the penalty spot after Penny was adjudged to have handled the ball. And five minutes from time they made it four when one of their strikers profited from a wayward back-pass.
“Once again our defensive frailties were exposed and until this is sorted out we will continue to struggle,” said Ballynure club president Michael Graham.
“Traditionally, winning trophies and titles is built on our strong defence, but this year we are conceding far too many playground goals.”
Ballynure OB: Singleton; Penny, McFarland, Gibson, M Curlett; McDowell, Officer, Duff, McGreevy; Leckey, Burns. Subs: G Curlett, Robinson, McIlroy, Middleton.
The Reserves lifted some of the gloom in the ‘Nure camp when they thrashed Carniny Amateurs II 10-1 in a Ballymena Junior League Division 2 clash in Ballymena. Craig Heggarty and Ryan Davies each netted a hat-trick, with other strikes by John Boyd (two), Conor Graham and David Gibson.