Premier Section: Ponte Preta 3-0 Co. Londonderry
County Londonderry fall short against Brazilians
Ponte Preta 3 – 0 Co. Londonderry
The Brazilians have flattered to deceive in this year’s competition so far as, despite playing some neat football in their opening 2 fixtures, they had still to get a point on the board, before this evening’s fixture against the host county.
It was Ponte Preta who started the better in front of a sizeable crowd at the Coleraine Showgrounds and they could have been in front within the opening few minutes, Gabriel Diaz pulled his effort just wide after a lovely, floated free kick from Lyncon.
The county side grew into the game after a slow start, and they were having some success down the right side, where Noel Doherty & Tyler Goligher were combining in impressive fashion, giving the Ponte Petra left back a torrid time. Londonderry’s first clear chance of the game came about as a result of these 2 once again, as they made space to slip a ball through to Aaron McGurk up front, who could only hit the side netting from a tight angle.
With the home side starting to gain the upper hand, their, hard work was undone after an error at the back. A poor clearance fell straight to the feet of Gabriel Diaz who lashed it straight past the diving Glen McMullan to give the Brazilians the lead against the run of play.
Losing this goal appeared to rattle the county lads and they almost lost a second as Mateus hit a cracking 25 yard drive which McMullan just managed to push by for a corner. The Londonderry keeper became very busy and he was forced into action again, rushing off his line to smother the ball after an excellent run by the Ponte Preta right back, Emerson.
As the first half drew to a close, Londonderry had managed to get back into the game with Matthew Kirk, in particular, was showing some great skill in the middle of the park, some touches which his opponents would have been proud of!!! However, a failure to utilise their wide men enough meant the county side remained one behind at the break.
Given Kirk’s impressive end to the first half, it was somewhat of a surprise that he did not remerge for the second half, I can only presume an injury had forced him off to be replaced by Corey McKeary who, in fairness, proved to be a very capable player himself as the second half wore on.
An entertaining start to the second half saw Londonderry continue to keep the pressure on their Brazilian opponents, Guilherme was called into action early to save a shot from Jack McClelland before Connor Lundy blazed well over having worked the space well to create an opening.
Londonderry were enjoying some great possession but, as they played the ball along the defence, a sloppy ball gave Lyncon a sniff and he showed great speed to intercept, driving the ball across the box for the onrushing Wallison to slam home, leaving McMullan no chance.
Once again, the goal knocked the confidence in the Londonderry ranks and the Brazilians started to push for a 3rd which would kill the game. They thought they had it as sub Luis Otavio rose to meet a wonderful cross with a firm header towards the top corner of the goal. However, Glen McMullan pulled off an unbelievable one handed save to push the ball on to the post. It would not be an exaggeration to say that McMullan’s save was world class.
However, the keeper was not finished there as another chance was fashioned by the increasingly confident Ponte Petra, this time Lyncon clean through but McMullan shot off his line, managing to smother the ball without fouling the oncoming striker, great keeping once again.
Eventually the Brazilians did get their 3rd but not after Londonderry had a couple of chances of their own. The pace and power of Lyncon had caused the county defender problems all evening and he ran through them again, before playing a lovely ball into the path of Otavio who slotted home.
Despite this setback, Londonderry continued to push to get on the scoresheet, and McGurk almost got the goal his workrate deserved, only to see the ball crash off the post in the dying minutes of the match.
However, it was not to be and the Brazilians celebrated their first win as the final whistle sounded
by Ray Baxter (@8ballRB)