DOWN AREA WINTER FOOTBALL LEAGUE ROUND UP Week 3

22-09-2019

DOWN AREA WINTER FOOTBALL LEAGUE ROUND UP Week 3

DOWN AREA WINTER FOOTBALL LEAGUE ROUND UP

The Down Area went goal crazy this week with 150 goals being scored in the 23 matches played, so with a high average of 6.5 goals per game, not to mention the usual near misses, there was plenty of goalmouth action to whet the appetite of those on the sidelines.

Premier Division

The weekend started with three teams holding 100% records, so would those records still be intact by the end of the weekend! Clonduff had a free weekend, so it was up to the other two, 8th OB and Newtownards RBL, to see if they could maintain their excellent starts to the new season. 8th OB have started in excellent fashion, scoring nine goals in the two games played whilst conceding only one, so will they be the surprise package for this season! This week saw them with an away fixture against Queens Grads III, who, despite an impressive campaign last season, have started this season in terrible form, conceding 20 goals in the two games played with only one goal scored, so could they shore up their defence to stop them leaking goals and start scoring at the other end! 8th OB would have been firm favourites based upon form and they lived up to that billing by rattling in 13 goals this week, with hat-tricks from Josh Clarke and Chris Beck, aided by braces from Conor Lynn and Chris Clarke, leading them to their biggest win of the season following a 13-0 scoreline to lead the way at this early stage of the season. Newtownards RBL have also shown an attacking prowess this season with 14 goals being scored at start of play and like 8th OB had looked defensively strong with only one goal conceded, so buoyed by their win over the reigning champions on their previous match, could they build upon that to maintain their own challenge to claim their first Premier title! This week saw them face Vision Athletic, who were looking to pick up their first points of the season following two defeats, but they showed last year that on their day they were a match for anyone, so could they surprise one of the pre-season favourites by turning the form book upside down! The answer was no as RBL continued their excellent start and like 8th OB looking defensively sound as they eased to a comfortable 5-0 win to maintain their good start to the season. Reigning champions Greenwell Star suffered a heavy defeat in their last outing and would have been looking a reaction to that defeat in their attempt to retain the title. This week saw them up against Carrowdore YM, who had also suffered a heavy defeat in their last outing, so which way would this game go! Greenwell would have been regarded as favourites as the reigning champions, but it turned our to be a tight game, with only one goal separating them at the end. However, it went in favour of the champions as they edged a 3-2 win to claim an unconvincing three points, so are we already seeing the title easing from their grasp! The final game saw Comber YM looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season and having scored 12 in their previous outing, had they now found their scoring touch as they look to reclaim the title they lost last season without a whimper! This week saw them up against Corrymeela, who were another team looking their first points of the season, but with only one goal scored and 8 conceded to date, this looked like only going one way as Comber YM looked to live up to their pre-season billing as one of the favourites for this year’s title. Corrymeela have been another team to show that on their day they could match anyone, but their run of poor form continued, despite having home advantage, as Comber YM claimed the points following a 4-1 win to leave them sitting third at this early point in the season.

Division 1

The weekend started with five teams claiming maximum points in the opening fixtures, so with two of those teams meeting each other, that number was going to be reduced this week. Ballygowan suffered relegation last season, but they have started this season in impressive form as they look to claim an immediate return to the Premier Division. This week saw them up against Bangor Swifts III, who had also made an impressive start to the season, so with both teams 100% starts to the season on the line, would we see a tight battle between these early challengers! On form, Ballygowan looked to be the favourites, with Bangor Swifts showing a defensive frailty that Ballygowan didn’t seem to have, and they lived up to that as they eased to an emphatic 6-0 win to claim pole position at this early point in the season, but clearly setting down a marker for the rest to follow. Portavogie Rangers II had also started the season in impressive form and had yet to concede in their opening two wins, so could they keep that form going! This week saw them up against 43rdDundonald, who had a free week last week but had opened the season with a 2-0 win, so both teams were looking to protect their 100% records whilst yet to concede. This therefore looked like it could be a tight affair with few goals being scored, but it turned into being a seven goal thriller, with Portavogie edging it 4-3 to keep their 100% start intact and sit behind Ballygowan on goal difference. Comber Star have made a good start to the season after narrowly avoiding relegation last season, so are we going to see them challenging at the opposite end of the season this time! This week saw them travel to Billy Neill to face Castlereagh FC 82, who were yet to claim a point or score any goals this season, so this looked like it would only go one way. However, it didn’t turn out that way as despite taking an early lead, Comber Star found themselves 3-1 down and Castlereagh FC 82 looking to be on the verge of pulling off a surprise, but Comber Star were to show great resolve, despite being reduced to 10 men in the second half, to pull back to claim a point following a 3-3 draw and keep their unbeaten start to the season intact. Could this point kick start Castlereagh FC 82’s season! 3rd Bangor were another team who had suffered relegation last season and had continued that poor run of form into this season with an opening day defeat. This week saw them up against Comber Rec III, who had also started the season in poor form following 2 defeats, despite winning the opening Dennis S Nash Charity Shield, so which way would this game go! It turned out to be a high scoring clash, with eight goals being scored, but with a brace apiece from Jonny Gibson and Kyle Moore, it was Comber Rec who were to claim their first points of the season following a 5-3 win. Ards Rangers III narrowly missed out on promotion in their last campaign so would have been looking to go one better this season, but 2 opening defeats had already left them with a gap to bridge, so could they kick start their season! This week saw them at home to newly promoted Groomsport II, who were looking to bounce back from a narrow defeat in their last outing. Groomsport had shown in their two games that they were difficult to score against, with only 2 goals conceded, but with only one goal scored, did they have the firepower to claim their first three-point weekend! Despite scoring two, their defence was to cave in as Ards Rangers III went goal crazy with a hat-trick from Lewis Lyttle and a brace from Owen Phillips leading them to a comprehensive 8-2 win, so will that win turn their season around! The final game saw Colin Valley III looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the season following their promotion last season. This week saw them up against established DAWFL outfit Abbey Villa III, who were looking to claim their first points of the season, so who would come out top in this first meeting between the teams! Colin Valley had shown a cutting edge in their last outing and they looked defensively sound, whereas Abbey Villa had shown a defensive vulnerability, so Colin Valley were, perhaps, slight favourites. The game proved to be a very tight affair, with only one goal being scored, but it went to Colin Valley who maintained their unbeaten start, so can they make it back to back promotions this season!

Division 2

Agape, following their return to the DAWFL, have started the season in unbeaten form, so they would have been looking to continue that as they look to get back to former heights. This week saw them up against Ravenhill YM Colts, who were playing their first game of the new campaign and no doubt looking to start of on a positive note. Agape had conceded 4 goals though in their opening games, so no doubt will be looking to tighten up defensively if they are to maintain their challenge and they took a step in that direction as they picked up their first clean sheet and showed an attacking flair as they eased to a comprehensive 7-0 win with a brace from Kelly helping them along the way. Millisle FC entered the DAWFL this season and despite a winning start, had suffered a defeat in their last outing and therefore looking to bounce back. This week saw them up against Willowfield Parish 10th OB, who had drawn their opening 2 games and therefore looked to be difficult to beat. However, Millisle were to turn in an inspired performance as 2 hat-tricks, one from Adam Couser and the other from Adam Scott, led them to an emphatic 8-0 win, so will Millisle be one of the teams to watch out for as the season progresses! Lagan Swifts had started the new campaign off in style with a comfortable 5-1 win and with no league fixture last week due to Junior Cup action, they would no doubt have been looking to build upon that good start. This week saw them up against Cregagh Wanderers, who had narrowly missed out on promotion in the last campaign, but with 4 points in their opening two games were looking to maintain their unbeaten start to this campaign as they look to go one better this season. Games between these two proved tight affairs last campaign and this one proved as tight as they delivered a seven goal thriller, but it was Lagan Swifts, a pre-season front runner for this year’s title and promotion, who edged it following a narrow 4-3 win. Bloomfield III had suffered a narrow defeat in their opening fixture and with a free week last week were looking to pick up their first points of the season. This week saw them up against Victoria Athletic, who had picked up their first point in their last outing. This game looked on paper that it could go either way, but it went to Bloomfield following a narrow 3-2 win to give them their first points of the season. The final game saw Clarawood entertaining Bangor YM III, with Clarawood looking to pick up their first win of the season and Bangor YM looking to build upon their win from last week. This looked to be a tight affairs, with both teams showing they could score goals and they delivered a goal fest, with eight goals being scored, but it was the home team, Clarawood, who would come away with the points following a narrow 5-3 win.

Reserve Division 1

Former champions, Comber YM II, are looking in formidable form as they look to retain the title they lost in the final game of the last campaign. This week saw them face a Comber derby, as they faced Comber Star Reserves, who were looking to pick up their first win of the new campaign having lost in their opening fixture and having a game cancelled last weekend. With local bragging rights up for grabs, a tight feisty affair was expected, but it turned out more convincing as Comber YM claimed the points following a dominant performance, with Gary ‘Goals’ Eachus and Jason Boobyer claiming a brace apiece as they claimed a 5-2 win, so will Comber YM go all the way to reclaim the title or will we see another tight battle building as the season progresses! Newtownards RBL II claimed their fir points last week following a narrow opening day defeat, so no doubt they will have wanted to build upon that to mount their own challenge for this years title. This week saw them up against Clarawood II, who look to be struggling following an opening day defeat an inability to field a team last week, so this clearly looked like going only one way. I proved that way as RBL went goal crazy to claim a convincing 8-2 win to leave them on the heels of the early leaders. North Down II had suffered a heavy defeat in their last outing, so will have been looking to bounce back from that. This week saw them up against Vision Athletic II, who were looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the new campaign, but this game looked like it could go either way. A tight game ensued, and the teams had to settle for a point each following a 2-2 draw, so will either team have a say in this year’s title race!

Reserve Division 2

Like their first team, 8th OB II have started the season in impressive form ans entered the weekend looking to extending their 100% start to the new campaign. This week saw them up against Millisle II, who had suffered two heavy defeats as they acclimatise to life in the DAWFL, so on paper, this looked like a comfortable win for the league leaders. It certainly proved that way as a brace from Eddie Ferguson led 8th OB to their third straight win following a 4-0 win and with only one goal conceded to date and 18 goals scored, they certainly look the team to beat in this years campaign. Queens Grads IV have started off the season unbeaten with a win and a draw, so would no doubt have been looking maximum points from this weekends fixture, where they faced 43rd Dundonald II, who were looking to build on last weeks win following an opening day defeat. This looked like it could be a tight affair, but there were plenty of goals with 10 being delivered between them. However, led by a 4 goal haul from Callum Rennie and aided by 2 own goals, it was Queens who were to extend their unbeaten start following a 6-4 win to sit on the heal of early leaders 8th OB. Agape Swifts started their return to the DAWFL with an opening day victory, but a defeat in their last game had shown them that they are going to have to work harder if they want to be involved in this years title and promotion race. This week saw them face Ballygowan II, who were yet to savour victory this year as they went in search of their first points in the new campaign following 2 narrow defeats, so this looked like a good contest that could go either way. It proved a bit more comfortable than envisaged, but it was Ballygowan who picked up their first points of the new campaign following a 3-1 win, so will this be the start to their challenge for the coming season! Willowfield Parish 10th OB II started the season with a heavy 12-0 defeat, but despite being beaten in their last outing, the narrow 2-1 defeat would have given them some confidence to build upon, so could they claim their first points! This week saw them play host to Cregagh Wanderers II, who had picked up their first win of the season in their last outing and no doubt wanting to build upon that. Cregagh would have been regarded as favourites to claim the points and they duly delivered following a 5-2 win to leave them in touch with the early leaders. The final game saw Lagan Swifts II looking to build on their 100% start to the new campaign and as one of the pre-season favourites would have been looking to maintain that start. This week saw them play host to 3rd Bangor II, who were also trying to protect an unbeaten start following a win and a draw. Lagan, with home advantage and being one of the favourites for this year’s title and having scored 14 goals in their opening games would have been regarded as favourites to claim the points, but it was 3rd Bangor who maintained their own unbeaten start following a narrow 2-1 win so can they mount a serious challenge for an immediate return to Reserve Division 2!

Summary

In the Premier Division, 8th OB are the early leaders following an impressive start to the campaign, followed closely by Newtownards RBL, with Comber YM, Clonduff and North Down being the only other unbeaten teams in the division. Queens Grads III look in serious problems as they leak goals, but with Newtown Forest, Vision Athletic and Corrymeela still to pick up any points, it’s early days yet in this relegation battle. In Division 1, Ballygowan lead the way along with Portavogie Rangers II, but with Colin Valley III and Comber Star remaining unbeaten, this could turn into an exciting battle. 3rd Bangor have continued their woes from last season and Abbey Villa III have started off poorly to remain the only teams still to register a point. In Division 2, only Lagan Swifts have maximum points, but it’s Agape who currently lead the way as the only other unbeaten team in the division. Ravenhill YM Colts started their campaign with a heavy defeat so this looks like it could be another difficult campaign for them. In Reserve Division 1, Comber YM II lead the way with Clonduff II and Vision Athletic II being the only other unbeaten teams to date. Comber Star Reserves and Clarawood II, two of the promoted teams from last season, occupy the bottom 2 positions albeit Comber Star Reserves should gain the points from last weeks cancellation to move them up the table. Newtown Forest II are the only other team yet to pick up points. In Reserve Division 2, 8th OB II lead the way after a great start to the season closely followed by unbeaten Queens Grads IV and 3rdBangor II. Willowfield Parish 10th OB II and Millisle FC II remain the only teams yet to pick up points