Magical Mason hat-trick sinks Downpatrick

Magical Mason hat-trick sinks Downpatrick

10 October 2018

DOWNPATRICK’S search for a first league win continues after making the short journey to play derby rivals Drumaness on Saturday.

The Meadowvale pitch looked in spectacular condition on a glorious sunny afternoon, but the game lacked the competitive nature seen in previous derby meetings.

The young Downpatrick outfit made life difficult for the more experienced home side in the opening 10 minutes, closing down and forcing numerous errors. It was from one such defensive mistake that they took a surprise lead. 

An ambitious back-pass to the ‘keeper fell to the feet of Ryan Cassidy on the left. He weaved his way inside and squared the ball to Andrew McCoubrey whose first time shot from 12 yards was drilled low and hard past Ryan Campbell for the opening goal.

The Mills almost hit back five minutes later when Stefan Mason picked up the ball wide on the left and dribbled his way to the byline. His cross to the near post found Marc Feenan, hooking a volley just wide of the upright. 

The visitors continued to frustrate Drumaness whose increasing dominance went without any reward. That was until the 24th minute when a three-goal burst in six minutes changed the whole course of the game. 

Stefan Mason and Sean McQuoid worked their way down the right wing and McQuoid’s cross from the byline found Aaron Ibinson waiting at the far post. His powerful volley flew into the net past Kieran Gordon. 

A minute later a quick corner from McQuoid on the right caught out the Downpatrick defence and found Mason at the edge of the box. His first-time shot was cleared off the line by Kyle McKeever.

Philip Rogan then went on a solo run down the right and cutting into the box produced a delicate chip into the middle which found McQuoid stooping to head home from eight yards. 

On the half hour mark Feenan won an important tackle in the middle, and as the Downpatrick defence pushed out, a delicate chip over the top put Mason clean through on goal and he confidently placed the ball beyond Gordon for the third. 

The same tactic almost produced a fourth just before the break, this time Rogan was the provider and as Mason was about to fire home, a late offside whistle halted the move.

It was a tactic that Drumaness were to continue using after the interval. Three times in the opening ten minutes McQuoid and Rogan sent Mason through on goal, but on each each occasion a combination of poor finishing and Gordon’s legs prevented the striker from adding to his tally. Gordon almost handed the Mills a gift when Rogan fired in a shot from 25 yards. The ‘keeper fumbled the ball which bounced perilously close to the goal line before being gathered at the second attempt.

Downpatrick’s stubborn second half resistance was finally broken after 68 minutes. Rogan pushing through the midfield, played a defence-splitting pass which found Mason cutting in from the left and he approached goal and fired past Gordon into the far corner for his second. 

Mills substitute Conor McCarron then went on a dazzling solo run down the right and cut in along the byline before pulling the ball back to McQuoid who blasted wide from the six yard line. However, McQuoid made up for that miss on 75 minutes when a Mills corner was cleared to Charlie Holland on the left. As the Downpatrick defence pushed out, a clever pass inside found McQuoid who waltzed his way through a crowded area and placed the ball beyond Gordon for his side’s fifth. 

Five minutes later Stefan Mason completed his hat-trick when McCarron played an outstanding pass to Rory Mason releasing him down the left. His pinpoint cross into the middle found Stefan, who trapped the ball, turned and hammered his shot past Gordon from 12 yards.

With five minutes remaining the Mills completed the scoring when Holland broke free down the left and found Feenan on the edge of the box. Feigning a shot, he cleverly laid the ball square for McCarron to place the ball in the corner of the net for number seven. 

Downpatrick almost grabbed a late consolation when Drew Barnes took possession of a poor clearance from the Mills defence. From 25 yards, he hammered an absolute beauty which seemed destined for the top corner of the net until Campbell rose acrobatically to tip it over for a corner.

Drumaness Mills 7

Downpatrick FC 1