UUJ FC 0-1 East Belfast

NAFL1A Saturday 24th September 2011

UUJ Line Up 

1. Eamon Browne
2. Ryan Rossborough Sub Off
3. Paul Esler
4. Colm Maxwell
5. Paul Darby
6. Johnny Magennis
7. Cris Marsella
8. Laurence Lyons Sub Off
9. Sean Walsh
10. Dan McAlea
11. Michael Brannigan
14. Kevin O'Neill Sub OnSub Off
15. Michael McBriarty Sub On
16. Dominic Friel Sub On

Following last weeks performance, UUJ made a great start to the game against East Belfast at the Factory Ground with some neat passing football. A number of changes had been made from the Irish Cup game and it was Cris Marsella who looked to make an immediate impact on proceedings. In a matter of minutes, he skipped passed his marker with ease and delivered two crosses into the box, only for these to be dealt with easily by the opposition defence.

Against a strong middle two, the lightweight Johnny Magennis alongside Laurence Lyons, were getting the better in midfield and were trying to get the ball down and create things from deep.

Marsella again looked dangerous on the break, using his pace to get away from his man and trying to catch the keeper off guard with an ambitious shot from long range.

East Belfast had their first opportunity of the match when they took a quick free kick and then delivered a dangerous ball into the middle. Maxwell uncharacteristically misjudged the flight of the ball and the unmarked centre forward headed over from close range.

Sean Walsh began to look dangerous as he got more involved in the game. He picked the ball up on the right before leaving his marker with knobbly knees after a great nut meg, before squaring it to Magennis. Magennis in turn played in Lyons who shot over from the edge of the area.

Paul Darby then had a free kick well saved by the East Belfast keeper, driving a typical left foot shot towards goal as UUJ looked to capitalise on their bright start.

East Belfast were finding it difficult to break down the UUJ defence and decided to employ a long ball tactic to use their strength and height to advantage. This almost paid off when the ball was picked up by the East Belfast striker who sped away from the defence, rounding Browne only to be put under pressure by Darby and Esler and this was enough to put the striker of his shot.

With East Belfast beginning to get a firm grip on the game, they opened the scoring late in the second half. After UUJ had cleared the ball out of defence, it was quickly returned towards the box. A well organised defence stood their ground on the edge of the area and called for offside, but their cries fell on deaf ears and the unmarked centre forward, who was at least 5 yards offside, applied a cool finish past the stranded Browne.

HT 0-1

UUJ had an excellent opportunity to level the scores shortly after the restart. A McAlea shot from a corner that was not cleared properly by East Belfast, deflected off Walsh who knew very little about it, just as it looked to be flying towards the bottom corner of the net.

UUJ then hit East Belfast with a counter attack, Brannigan playing in Lyons who switched the play to an unmarked Marsella out right. Marsella then played in Magennis whose cross was headed towards goal by McAlea, only for the keeper to tip it round the post for a corner.

UUJ made a double change shortly after, with Kevin O'Neill coming on to replace Lyons and Dominic Friel on for Rossborough.

East Belfast came very close to scoring again. The centre forward turning the defence and unleashing a drive towards goal, which cracked off the outside of the post and out for a goal kick.

UUJ had another great chance to equalise, this time a free kick from Darby on the half way line was delivered towards the back post, where it was met by Maxwell who should have done better, heading wide from close range.

UUJ won a free kick out right after a late challenge on Walsh by the East Belfast number 4, who was walking a thin line having already been booked in the first half. The free was cleared and eventually made its way to McAlea who was now deployed as a Right Back. McAlea played a quick one-two with Magennis before beating his man and cutting the ball back to O'Neill, who shot over from 12 yards.

Things got worse for UUJ as the influential O'Neill had to be replaced by Michael McBriarty following a 50-50 challenge. It takes a lot to keep O'Neill down and hopefully the injury was not as bad as first feared.

The final and best chance of the game arrived with seconds remaining on the clock. Another dangerous delivery from a Darby free kick was aimed towards Maxwell at the back post. Maxwell did enough to pressure the defender into misplacing his clearance. It fell to an unmarked Sean Walsh in the area and as the ball spinned down out of the air, he managed to place his header to the wrong side of the post with the keeper left glued to his line.

This week, UUJ face an away trip to Seycon Park to face second placed Derriaghy CC.

FT 0-1