Benburb 2 Rossvale 0: First league defeat for Rossvale

Rossvale manager Gordon Moffat (pic by HT Photography/@dibsy_)
Rossvale manager Gordon Moffat (pic by HT Photography/@dibsy_)

Rossvale crashed to their first defeat in the league for seven months to a very good Benburb team at New Tinto Park on Saturday.

In a match between the sides who began the day second and third in the Championship table, the warnings signs for Rossvale came as soon as the first minute.

A long ball found Kyle Richford breaking forward and he lobbed the outrushing Jamie Donnelly only to see his shot land on top of the net.

Rossvale came close in the 15th minute with a neat bit of inter play between Gary Giffin and Kirk Forbes and the former could only watch as his shot was turned out for a corner.

Martin Mullaney broke down the left for Benburb and sent over an excellent cross to the back post but Kieran O’Hear just couldn’t get his head to it.

At the other end Giffin then skinned Alexander McFarlane on the bye-line and brought out a good save from keeper Calum Dillon at the second attempt.

Willie McLaren tested his shooting from 25 yards out and his curling shot went narrowly past the Vale goal, although Donnelly looked as if he had it covered.

But Benburb’s efforts were becoming increasingly dangerous and Ciaran Mulcahy whipped in a dangerous ball for Richford whose header was turned out for a corner.

McLaren was unlucky when his curling shot looked as if it was going into the top right corner of the net only to see Donnelly bring off a magnificent save.

The Bens man then fired in another dangerous cross which Richford met with a fine header which Forbes cleared off the line.

Now it was constant attacks from Bens and Donnelly brought off two excellent saves from Richford in a minute and then a McLaren shot from outside the box nearly sneaked in under the crossbar.

Just before half-time Mulcahy missed from a couple of yards out as Bens continued to bombard the Vale goals.

Rossvale got to the interval still level, but on the hour McLaren fired a free-kick into a crowded box for Ryan Livingston to outjump the Vale defenders, send his header out of the reach of the diving Donnelly and put the Bens deservedly one up.

Vale were unlucky with one of their rare shots at Bens goal in the second half when Liam Crichton headed onto Liam McGonigle who tried his luck with a first time shot but it went well over.

Bens then went straight up the park to increase their lead as Mulcahy won the ball from a throw in and weaved his way through the ‘Vale defence to stick the ball in the corner of the net.

With the game slipping away a Forbes free-kick brought out a good save from Dillon, but Vale looked a shadow of the team that had gone seven months unbeaten in the league and were beaten by a team much hungrier and up for it on the day.