Draperstown travelled to Ballymoney for the first round of the NI Youth Cup with every chance of winning, even with this being their first game in six weeks and the fact that they were missing three key players, including captain Gary Conway. And indeed, they started much the brighter. It didnt take long for them to pin Riada back, and played attractive, fluent football. However, the final ball always seem a little off. However, it was only a goal-line clearance that kept the scores level after ten minutes.
A beatuful corner in by Higgins was met by McKillion, but his effort was turned way from the line. Minutes later Kennedy was unlucky not to score when set free. His shot however went just wide. By this stage all Riada could manage to do was clear the ball deep into the Draperstown half, allowing Draperstown to attack once more.
This continued until McKillion clipped the ball past the last Riada defender, leaving hima clear path to the goal. However, he got nicked on the way past, but managed to stay on his feet. With a clear advantage to be played and a real possibility of a goal chance, the referee called play back for the foul.
In the second half Riada improved and at least match their opponents, but still failed to get any real chances. Draperstown, for all their possession, also failed to carve any openings. With the game still deadlocked, Draperstown won a corner. This got cleared and on the counter Riada scored. It had been their first attack and did not reflect the general flow of the game at all.
With this Draperstown made two changes, with Murray and Quinn replacing McCullagh and Taggart. This meant a more attacking formation, and it almost worked instantly, with the two subs combining down the right, with Quinn releasing Murray. Murray whipped in a superb cross which Kennedy first headered from 5 yards out. This was somehow cleared off the line, but only back into the path of Kennedy. Only he will know how he missed the second chance, skying the ball from all of 5 yards.
With Draperstown still pushing, Kennedy came off for ONeill. However, Draperstown left themselves exposed at the back, with Riada ruthlessly took advantage off, scoring their second from yet another counter attack.
Draperstown continued to push and looked as though they may get a goal back when Kelly was very cynical fouled on the half way line. Kelly reacted angrily, pushing his aggressor. Suddenly, the Riada striker began throwing punches and a large-scale fight ensued with nearly all members of both teams involved, including the substitutes. When things were finally calmed down, Higgins and a Riada played got their marching orders. Moments later the final whistle blew in a ill-tempered match where the result did not match the story of it.
Draperstown are scheduled to face Heights Westbank away next week in the league, which will be their first league outing in seven weeks