Causeway Chronicle

Borbury ‘Crues’ to victory in top of table clash

Picture courtesy of @C.Heaneyphotography

Borbury FC – 3. Coleraine Crusaders FC – 0 

A misty Saturday morning at Meadowbank was the setting when the Borbury Boys met league title favourites Coleraine Crusaders in a long-anticipated top of the table clash.  As the mist of fierce battle cleared, it was Borbury who emerged 3-0 victors with a win that keeps title and promotion hopes alive for up to four teams in the Division.

Borbury started the game the stronger team posing the bigger threat with controlled spells of possession allowing the potent attacking threat of Logan Farrelly, Euan McBride and Ben Diamond to create moments of real danger in the opening exchange.  As good as the home side’s attack proved, the Crusaders’ experience and defensive unit were equal to the task in shutting out Borbury early on.

However, it was a free kick on 14 minutes from James O’Connor’s left wand of a foot who found Fergal McGuigan stealing into the box to put a controlled header into the corner of the Crusaders net beyond the reach of Nial Clarke in goal, making it 1-0 to the home side.

The remainder of the half saw Borbury continue to be threatening while Crusaders looked dangerous on set-pieces courtesy of Robert Hunter’s excellent left foot delivery.   With Borbury enjoying the better possession in midfield through Noel Rafferty, Eoin McAuley and Marking Mackle putting in the hard yards, the visitors were limited to shots from distance.  Working hard at the back for Borbury was Caolan Donnelly, Jack Heron, McGuigan and O’Connor who looked composed throughout. 

Indeed, it was Jack Heron who placed a beautiful pass to McBride on 22 minutes that saw him control Heron’s dinked pass, break the defensive line to finish cooly for what should have been 2-0, only for the Referee to adjudge it as offside.  Similarly, a quick counterattack on 39 minutes started by Jack Conway in the Borbury goal led to McBride bearing down on goal saw him again ruled offside.

The second half began with Borbury attempting to stretch the lead and hoping not to rue those earlier chances.  The Boys came close on 55 minutes to creating daylight when McBride bullied his way through the visitor’s midfield to allow the ball to fall to Rafferty at the edge of the box whose deft touch set him up for a ferocious volley which cannoned off the post and then agonisingly deflected toward McBride’s path but the Borbury Skipper was unable to convert on this occasion. 

However, relief arrived in the form of a second goal on 59 minutes through Borbury’s talented winger Farrelly.  Farrelly was set free courtesy of a quick pass from Diamond, allowing Farrelly to tease his way towards the opposition box and fire off a goal bound shot that would deflect off the unfortunate James Stirling to leave Clarke stranded as it arced into the net for 2-0 to Borbury.

Undaunted Crusaders continued to show their quality and title credentials in pressing high and started to pin back the young Borbury side.  So much so, that action was quickly taken by the Borbury Management by introducing Ronan McKenna and Aaron Murray into the fold on 72 minutes.  

These substitutions soon paid dividends on 74 minutes when the ever-hard-working Rafferty latched onto a James O’Connor clearance, controlled the ball on pressure and drove at the Crusaders bye-line.  Once there he picked the right option and calmly cut it back to the arriving Murray at the edge of the box to place produce a cultured strike to finish the move and the contest in general.  The strike was Murray’s first touch of the game.  The remainder of the game saw Borbury’s Conway in goal pull off a combination of consecutive great saves from a late Crusaders melee.  The clean sheet proving to be an equally important takeaway from the game having given up avoidable goals in recent games.

Again to their credit, Crusaders pushed on.  However, their day was made worse as Captain Adam Campbell suffered a bad injury with his studs catching on the surface on 86 minutes, leading to an unnatural movement with twisting of the ankle and knee.  With the stricken Campbell being helped off the field, it meant that Crusaders finished the game with 10 men while Borbury secured the points courtesy of the 3-0 win.  Borbury sends its best wishes go to Adam for a quick recovery.

Next up for Borbury is an away visit to fellow promotion candidates Bushmills United at Dundarave Park on Saturday 17th February for a 11am kick-off with both sides looking to build momentum going into the final stretch of the League campaign.

Many thanks to the Borbury supporters who turned out to provide support.  Thanks also to this season’s primary sponsors Promould Limited and LJs Tavern with a special mention to the Brackagh Quarry Wind Farm Community Fund for their 2023/34 funding.

Picture courtesy of @C.Heaneyphotography

Picture courtesy of @C.Heaneyphotography

Picture courtesy of @C.Heaneyphotography

Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle