Causeway Chronicle

Borbury bow out of Challenge Cup

Borbury FC – 1. Portstewart Town FC – 3

The unfamiliar territory of Boyne Row, Castledawson was the setting when Borbury met Championship side Portstewart Town in the Coleraine & District League Challenge Cup.  The Borbs arguably started the better amidst swamp-like conditions in Castledawson with overnight rain hindering proceedings.

The opening minutes brought little chances for either team as both sides attempted to settle into the game and adjust to the trying conditions. However, it was Portstewart who broke the deadlock on 17 minutes with a cross in from the right-hand side where Bradley Tweed excellently controlled the ball in the box and placed a shot into the left-hand corner beyond the stretching Jack Conway in the Borbury goal.

The second goal from the visiting team followed shortly on 21 minutes when a long searching ball from Portstewart Town captain Colin McAleese was latched onto by Alan Cahoon, who completed a superb rabona pass close to the touchline into the path of the adjudged onside Conail McGinn who converted at close range with the full goal at his mercy to give Portstewart a 2-0 advantage.

With the pitch conditions steadying declining and yet again faced with adversity, the Borbury began to grow into the game where the midfield of the Diamond brothers of Ben and Finn in tandem with Eoin McAuley started to exert more physicality against a more experienced & wiley opposition in the Division above.  Finding some composure and bouts of passing rhythm, the Borbury Boys began fashioning some chances with half time approaching.  

The first of which was when Borbury Captain Euan McBride found Logan Farrelly whose quick feet created a one on one with opposition Goalkeeper Robert McLelland only for the normally more assured Farrelly to agonisingly hammer the ball onto the crossbar from close range when a goal looked for all the world the more likely outcome.  A few minutes later saw Farrelly break through the defensive line using his devastating pace to cut the ball back to Martin Mackle whose shot went over the Portstewart Town crossbar to leave it 2-0 at the interval.

The second half began in a similar vein to the end of the first, with Borbury more threatening. The Borbury full backs of Jack Heron and James O’Connor found joy exploiting the narrow midfield of Portstewart, however it was Portstewart who capitalised on the 58th minute with a goal from Cahoon with a quick break following concerted Borbury pressure.

Undaunted, Borbury attempted an audacious hard-fought comeback via Mackle whose work rate the season to date has been top rate with his pressing and that came to the fore again when he seized upon a loose ball to drive and slot it calmly past the Portstewart goalkeeper for 3-1.   The introduction of the returning Noel Rafferty for Borbury made a noticeable difference in the middle of the park adding fresh legs and a different level of physicality for the Boys.  As the match entered the final quarter, full back Heron gallantly gave his all and presented real attacking impetuous down the right side. 

Embracing an all or nothing approach on 79 minutes, Borbury Manager Marcus McGuigan deployed a tactical change in replacing the full backs who worked tirelessly all game and going to a three at the back with Caolan Donnelly, Fergal McGuigan and Danny ‘Deep’ McCullagh on defensive duties, with substitute coming to add defensive balance while Ronan McKenna and Victor Mura introduced as wing backs.

While the change of shape allowed Borbury to steadily increase the attacking pressure in search of a crucial second in the hope that it might make for a nervy few minutes for the visitors, it did allow Portstewart opportunities on the counterattack.  However, the Boys’ back-line held firm and on the occasion a shot was unleashed Conway was equal to the task pushing brilliantly away from goal. 

With heavy legs setting in for both sides, on 89 minutes Borbury’s fresher Rafferty tore towards goal but was fouled by Jad Dorrian before entering the penalty area.   A yellow card was the result but one the defender was happy to take for the team.  The last significant Borbury chance shortly before the final whistle when a testing ball was delivered from the left with Farrelly rising highest but unable to redirect goal.   Soon after Referee Philip Caulfield blew the final whistle with both sides agreeing that the man in the middle had a stellar performance throughout a competitive & keenly contested game but encapsulated the very definition of a Ref who ‘done it right’ in letting the game flow at the right moments.

Credit to the Portstewart Lads who delivered a solid performance throughout and whose short passing & movement caused real issues from kick off.  Borbury would like to wish Portstewart Town all the best in the next round.

While small consolation, Borbury meanwhile can take plenty from the defeat.  However, the Boys will aim to tighten in a few areas ahead of their next game with Premier League side Dungiven Celtic the opponents in the next round in the Steele & Sons shield as they return to more familiar territory at Meadowbank.

Massive thanks to the Borbury supporters who ventured out to support the Boys.  Grateful thanks are also extended to this season’s primary sponsors Promould Limited, LJs Tavern and the Brackagh Quarry Wind Farm Community Fund for their continued support.

Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Portstewart Town travelled to Boyne Row in Castledawson to play Borbory in the Morning League Cup, booking their place in the next round. Pic: Johnny Evans
Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle