24 MAY 2017
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Barcroft promoted at first time of asking

18 May 2017

Barcroft joined the elite few who have won promotion in their first season in the Carnbane League when they beat Rockview Utd on Saturday.

Should Kilkeel lose to Greenfield Park tonight (Wednesday) Barcroft will win the league too but it was all about promotion at Willie Davis Park on Saturday, with victory imperative for Barcroft while Rockview only needed a draw to guarantee promotion to the top flight. 

The match favoured Rockview at 1-1 until a penalty on 72 minutes that also saw Rockview reduced to 10 men, put Barcroft in the driving seat. 

They say football is a game of fine margins however and with five minutes of normal time remaining that proved to be the case. Rockview’s Ryan Brown was denied the equalising goal by the post. A goal that would have seen his side promoted and in with a chance of winning the league. Seconds later Dylan Devlin made sure of a Barcroft victory with a goal at the other end.

While it was heartbreaking for Rockview who came so close but ended up with nothing, the scenes of sheer joy for Barcroft were infectious in Derryleckagh. The club, who haven’t played in the league for 20 years, reformed this season and raced into an almost unstoppable lead from the start. Their only blips, one draw and three defeats, the most recent to Kilkeel last week which almost knocked the heart out of Barcroft, earned them their ticket to the Premier Division. A total of 93 goals with only 32 conceded helped them on their way and after a stellar performance on Saturday, Barcroft’s 3-1 victory was more than enough to prove their worth.

It was Rockview who got on the front foot early in this game however. Barcroft were caught cold when Lee Anderson escaped two defenders and toe-poked home to give his team a 1-0 lead. Brown was on the run searching for a second two minutes later, but his shot was well blocked by defender Sheagh Dobbin.

On 10 minutes Barcroft equalised with a terrific goal, even though this time it was Rockview who were caught napping. Terry Morgan got on the end of a long ball at the edge of the Rockview box to the left of goal. He almost lost it with his first touch but in a split second managed to control the ball and lifted it high into the roof of the net.

While that made Rockview nervous, Barcroft still needed another goal and those Rockview nerves seemed to be justified considering the hunger both teams were displaying, indicating there could to be plenty more goals to come.

That didn’t prove to be the case however, with the next not materialising until late in the second half. There were numerous chances though, the first of which arrived for Barcroft on 26 minutes from a free 20 yards in front of the Rockview net. Conor Carroll dummied the ball for the terrific Kevin Marks who whipped it in, forcing an excellent diving save low to the left from Rockview keeper Eddie McGoldrick. Four minutes later it was Rockview’s turn to come close when a sideline free from Brown saw Joe Campbell head just over the top from the edge of the box.

On 31 minutes Anderson had a chance with a close-range header after a dangerous ball in the box hopped up off Marks’ foot as he attempted to clear, but the match remained 1-1 at the interval. Five minutes after the restart Anderson got on the end of an excellent long ball yards from the Barcroft net but he shot straight at their keeper Padraig Carville who was there to make the save. Almost immediately the action moved to the other end of the field where a long cross from the left by Ryan Johnson almost reached Marks at the far post and had he got a toe to it he would most likely have slipped it between keeper and post.

On 16 minutes Rockview full back David McKevitt displayed some brilliant individual skill when he raced down the left flank with the ball with chasing defenders unable to catch him. He cut in from the end line and had a shot across the face of goal which just skimmed past the far post.

Barcroft upped their game after that though and increasingly looked more likely to score. Morgan was through on goal but Peter Markey made an excellent tackle to thwart him. Barcroft sub Matthew Harrison attempted a bicycle kick from a corner on 64 minutes but his effort flew over the bar. Rockview sub James McKevitt made a big impact at the back when he came on for Johnny Bogues to help out his twin brother David. He was only on the pitch when he was called into action with a couple of super tackles. A goal looked imminent however but when it did arrive on 72 minutes, it was from the penalty spot. Markey fouled Morgan and while he was on a yellow already, Referee Peter Cunningham showed him a straight red. Marks stepped up to take the penalty which he drilled straight down the middle past the diving Rockview keeper.

That spurred Barcroft on even more while panic began to set in for Rockview. Dylan Devlin came close to increasing the lead a couple of times, the second attempt came from nowhere on 78 minutes, when he latched onto a loose ball and fired in a shot from 35 yards and the Rockview keeper could only watch as the ball floated inches over the top. 

Rockview did do their utmost to level as the clock wound down but it wasn’t to be their day. With five minutes left to play, Brown made a run down the right wing and got a brilliant strike away only to see it ricochet to safety off the left-hand post.

Immediately the ball was down the other end where Devlin scored to make it 3-1 and seal the deal for Barcroft. There were a few more chances with Barney Preece missing a sitter five yards in front of the Rockview goal at the start of injury time but he almost redeemed himself two minutes later with an on-target shot that forced a good save from McGoldrick. Just before that Joe Magill almost scored for Rockview from a corner but it was immaterial at that stage and the Barcroft players and supporters could barely wait for the final whistle to blow and the celebrations to begin.

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