UUJ FC 2-0 Abbey Villa

NAFL 1A Saturday 8th October 2011

UUJ Line Up 

1. Eamonn Browne
2. Chris McKeown
3. Paul Darby Goal
4. Kyle Ferguson
5. Colin O'Neill
6. Kevin O'Neill Sub Off
7. Paul Esler
8. Ciaran Murray
9. Dan McAlea
10. Anto StuartSub Off
11. Sean Walsh
14. Cris Marsella Sub OnGoal
15. Michael Brannigan
16. Johnny Magennis Sub On

UUJ finally got their first league win of the season with a confidence boosting performance and result against a struggling Abbey Villa side.

The management made a number of changes to the team with Chris McKeown coming in at right back and Ciaran Murray partnering Kevin O'Neill in the middle of the park. There was also a welcome return for the veteran Kyle Ferguson who slotted in beside Colin O'Neill at centre back.

UUJ had the better of the early exchanges and after Sean Walsh skint his marker on right wing, his cross came in and fell to the on rushing O'Neill who slipped just as he was hitting his shot.

The heavy rain over the past couple of days was taking its toll on the pitch and it seemed to be cutting up badly, stopping both teams from playing decent passing football.

The impressive McKeown at right back was certainly playing his part in both attack and defence throughout the first half and he played in McAlea after winning the ball at the back. McAlea then played in Walsh who skipped past his man and returned the ball to McAlea. He floated a cross to the back post to Stuart who headed narrowly wide. Laurence Lyons, missing this week with a groin injury, was providing some excellent punditry for anyone within earshot on the touchline stating "I would have buried that... 3 yards out is my speciality!"

UUJ finally capitalised on their dominance when Anto Stuart used some intelligent forward play to draw a mistimed tackle from the centre half to give the referee no choice but to award a penalty. Up stepped Paul Darby who gave the keeper no chance with his finish.

HT 1-0

It wasn't long into the second period when UUJ were gifted an opportunity to double the lead. The referee awarded a free kick inside the Abbey Villa box after the keeper picked up a back pass from his defender. With 9 players on the line, Abbey Villa were able to block Darby's free kick which was laid on by McAlea.

The UUJ management decided to shuffle their deck and introduced Cris Marsella to the game replacing Kevin O'Neill. With Marsella pushing out right, Paul Esler tucked in alongside Murray in the middle and Stuart dropped back to left midfield with Walsh moving up front.

Some brave defending from Esler stopped Abbey Villa from getting a shot in on goal after a dangerous free kick out right. He stretched to get his head in before the attacker and cleared the ball, picking up a knock in the process.

The injury didn't seem to hold Esler back and he was soon in the thick of the action at the other end. After some great determination to close the ball down by Marsella, he squared the ball into the box for Esler who placed his shot with his left foot only to see it trickle wide of the keepers' far post.

Johnny Magennis replaced Dan McAlea with 12 minutes remaining and it wasn't long before he linked up with fellow substitute Marsella to put the game beyond doubt. A throw in on the left was taken by Darby and after a quick one two, Magennis was left one-V-one with his marker. A little shimmy of the hips saw him skip past him with ease before delivering an excellent left footed cross to Walsh, whose shot was brilliantly saved by the keeper. As the ball bounced lose in the box, "Cristofoldo" Marsella was on hand to mop it up and drive the ball into the roof of the net

Villa had a great chance moments later to get back into the game, the substitute missing from a matter of yards after a free kick was not cleared. He somehow managed to blast the ball over Browne's bar before remarkably claiming for a corner.

The final chance of the game fell UUJ's way after a long throw from Marsella was cleared back out to him. His first time cross to the back post found McKeown who played the ball back across the face of goal. It was Anto Stuart who had made up the ground to get on the end of it but his header went agonisingly wide.

Next week UUJ are away to Dundonald and will be hoping to build on this excellent and industrial performance to earn some much needed points in what will prove to be a tough trip.

FT 2-0

Website Man of the Match - Chris McKeown