Six Points

The NIFL Academy League got underway last weekend with our Under 16 and 18 sides winning against Carrick Rangers…

NIFL Academy U16

Coleraine 4-0 Carrick Rangers

A nervous sense of optimism set the atmosphere for Coleraine U16s as they welcomed a spirited Carrick Rangers to the UUC sports complex in what proved to be a dominant first outing for the young Bannsiders.

A frantic and scrappy start to the game, Coleraine soon settled and began to piece together attacks thanks to the quick and clever play by Kyle and Armstrong feeding the forwards saw KC baring down on the Carrick goal, but the scores were kept level thanks to the Rangers ‘keeper smart stop.

With Carrick looking to hit on the counter, Coleraine’s central defenders Dennison, Smith and Gault were able to keep the physical attackers at bay.

Coleraine soon took the lead when Devine combined with McGlynn who picked a cute ball over the top for the attacking run of McIntyre who calmly dispatched his shot beyond the Carrick keeper to make it 1-0.

Soon after, the Bannsiders doubled their lead as a powerful driving run on the right flank saw McIntyre bursting into the box before delivering a teasing pull back that eventually worked its way to Devine, who showed great poise to stroke the ball into the bottom left hand corner.

At the start of the second-half, a dogged and determined Carrick side were keen to put pressure on Coleraine, who survived oncoming waves of orange shirts to threaten the Carrick goal as Moore saw a long ranged effort comfortably saved.

Coleraine carried on their momentum with Kyle and Armstrong still pulling strings to combine with McIntyre who played a defence splitting pass for KC who gave the opposition goalie no chance with a accomplished finish into the bottom right corner.

With the score now 3-0, Coleraine had a firm grip on the game, Martin and Moffat replaced Moore and Devine and settled well into the game, whilst McToal replaced Gault and brought fresh energy to the left hand side of the Stripes’ attack.

Martin was beginning to link well with Kyle who in turn was finding Moffat in numerous pockets of space, before another killer pass was made by Kyle for KC who once again left no doubt in his ability in front of goal by bagging a quick fire brace to make it 4-0.

However, much credit must be given to the visitors as they kept hustling and put together a measured attack which saw a speculative effort sail over the top of Donnelly’s goal.

With 15 minutes left in the game, Olphert replaced KC, Devine and Moore came back into the game for the instrumental Kyle and Armstrong who all received a well deserved pat on the back from their manager.

Coleraine not resting on their lead kept the attacking pressure on with Olphert showing clever movement to threaten in behind, however the tenacious centre half for Carrick showed great desire in his attempts to halt anymore progress, resulting in the game ending 4-0.

First set of points on the board for the Bannsiders, who will be looking to build on each performance week on week.

SQUAD: Donnelly, Dennison, Gault, Smith, McIntyre, McGlynn, Kyle, Armstrong, Moore, Devine, KC, Olphert, Moffat, Martin, McToal.

NIFL Academy U18

Carrick Rangers 1-4 Coleraine

Coleraine 18’s made the trip to Carrick Rangers for the first game of the league season.

The opening stages of the game were an even affair with neither team creating any chances of note.  As the game settled down, Coleraine took the lead mid way through the half when Watton gained possession in midfield and found Kelly who burst forward and fired a low drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

However, this lead only lasted five minutes as Carrick equalised from a corner when the striker headed unmarked past Henry in the Coleraine goal.

This kicked Coleraine into gear and they created a number of chances before they regained the lead five minutes before half-time when Keogh headed home from a Kelly corner.

The second half was an open affair as both teams pushed for more goals. Coleraine done well to stand firm and soak up some Carrick pressure as they pushed for an equaliser before increasing their lead when Keogh got his second of the night finishing well from a Curran cross.

Coleraine had further chances to extend their lead but it was in the last few minutes that Keogh completed his hat trick from a well taken free kick from the edge of the area to seal the points for the Bannsiders.

“The most pleasing thing about this weekend was seeing players back on the pitch playing a competitive game,” said boss Marty Smith.

“The players have had a tough time over the last 18 months.

“Overall I was happy with Friday night’s performance and to score four goals away from home was a great way to start the season.

“10 of our starting 11 were a year young for the 18s age group so this will aid their development.

“Carrick tested us and made things difficult for us at times but we stood up to the challenge. We look forward to another tough game next week against Larne.”

SQUAD: Henry, Stewart, Mc Bride, Callaghan, A. Campbell, Gallagher, Kelly, Keogh, Cullen, Patton, Watton, Dealey, Greer, G.Campbell, Curran, McLaughlin.