Two in a row for Cherry

Cherry Orchard 2 – Mount Merrion 1.

For the second time in seven days MM were beaten by cherry Orchard, while there could be valid complaints about the first result this defeat was justified. Orchard were the better side and simply made fewer mistakes then MM. Both managers could be accused of playing ducks and drakes as both sides had numerous changes from the last meeting.

The game started much like the previous encounter with MM looking like the better passing side up against a very functional Orchard outfit, the orchards simple philosophy of never playing football within fifty yards of there own goal and living off the oppositions mistakes won them a league last year and one them this game. MM had a great shout for a penalty in the first 15mis when Austin Skelly was blatantly taken down in the box, the referee seemed to be about to whistle but bizarrely gave a goal kick. Our new signing at the back nearly scored from a corner which would have been justified for MM early domination. The orchard however looked very dangerous on the brake with Sheppard causing a lot of problems for the MM back four and requiring one outstanding save from Paddy Whealen after another short pass between defenders let him get the strike away. Poor passing again at the back let Sheppard in just before the half and he made no mistake this time to put the Orchard one nil in front.

MM turned around with the wind behind them and started to put a lot of pressure on the Orchards defence but to there credit they defended very well as a unit and never looked in any real trouble. MM resorted to some long range shots which never really troubled the keeper. Then halfway through the half MM started to look stretched at the back as they pressed for an equaliser, Sheppard was making some great angled runs and got behind the defence on a couple of occasions, hitting the post once and narrowly missing with a lob. Then a very soft freekick awarded in the middle of the MM half finished the game as a tie. The orchard took a quick free kick and switched the ball wide for a good delivery to be headed home by the ever ready Sheppard to score his second. MM showed good resolve to keep going and grab a late consolation when Mikey McCann snatched his third of the season. On the positive side we have played the orchard twice and there is nothing to fear, they play a very direct style of football and have scored five goals against us over two matches four of which were unforced errors in our own half. There was another excellent performance from James Timmons who was the best midfielder on show, but man of the match has to go Sheppard who ultimately has been the difference between the two sides, hard to see how the Orchard can hold on to him when the LOI clubs will come knocking at Christmas.