Kilbarrack Utd (2) v (0) Ayrfield Utd
In what was a crunch game for Kilbarrack Utd as they seek to capture the AUL Premier A title, they came away as convincing winners in a game that had plenty of incidents and action. It was the visitors who started the better in the first half with two shots on goal in the first five minutes with Keith Rock in particular having a good effort. As the half wore on Kilbarrack came back into it and were easily the better side with John Meleady looking back to his best looking confident and comfortable on the ball. Stephen Sheehan in the centre also looked comfortable on the ball and he had two good chances to open the scoring on a rare first team start for Kilbarrack.
The best chance of the half though fell to Ayrfield Utd with Martin Clynn hitting a 40 yard screamer towards the top corner only for the impressive Mark Hatton to pull off a superb save to keep the score 0-0. The ever impressive Mark Townley was causing the Ayrfield defence problems with his pace running onto balls being knocked long by the Kilbarrack defence. The major incident of the first half occurred on 40 minutes when a rash challenge from Kilbarrack’s Mark Dunne resulted in a second yellow card after he had been booked just two minutes earlier for dissent and Kilbarrack were down to ten men. Te man advantage seemed to spur Ayrfield on and it was them who finished the half on top but the score remained 0-0.
It was Kilbarrack who came out the better early in the second half with two chances for Mark Townley going abegging. However on 53 minutes they broke the deadlock after excellent work down the right-wing from Sean Beresford and his perfect cross finding an unmarked Aaron Humphries whose looping header found the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Kilbarrack.
On 69 minutes the man advantage that Ayrfield held was wiped out when their own Brian Mahone chopped down the rampaging Sean Beresford and he received a red card to even up the numbers between the two teams. After this it was Kilbarrack who were dominating a tired looking Ayrfield and Keith Kirwan, who had come on for Stephen Sheehan was causing all sorts of problems for the Ayrfield defence with his height and his header from a Sean Beresford cross made it 2-0 to Kilbarrack and made it impossible for Ayrfield to find a way back into the game. Sean Beresford was causing all manner of problems for Ayrfield and his work on the right-wing produced another chance for Kirwan on 78 mins but his deft header just clipped the outside of the post. Kilbarrack maintained their dominance in the final stages and it finished up at 2-0 to leave them 5 points clear at the top of Premier A having played two more games than Sheriff YC.
Man of the Match: Sean Beresford
By Derek McKenna