County Down played French outfit Vendee in their third match of the Milk Cup Premier section. County Down all kitted out in red, were hoping to respond from yesterday’s narrow defeat to Motherwell.
Vendee coming into the game without a single point, having lost 4-1 in yesterday’s fixture. It was the French side who carved out the first chance when Baptiste Trichet worked his way into the box before shooting low towards goal but was denied by a good save from Reece Kane.
County Down were awarded a penalty as Timmy Browne was fouled in the box. Up stepped Reece Neale to cooley slot into the net to the delight of the County Down supporters.
Vendee were nearly level as Charly Chevrier hit a sweet freekick, the ball skidding along the turf and beating Kane before crashing off the post.
One then became two for the boys from County Down as Timmy Browne headed the ball into the top right corner after a superb left wing cross from Jack McLaughlin.
Vendee, however, pulled a goal back after County Down failed to deal with a corner, the ball falling perfectly for Charly Mestre who hit a left foot shot low into the bottom corner of the net giving Kane no chance.
But County Down restored their two goal lead as Aaron Devlin scored a real stunner from 12 yards as he hit a left foot volley sweetly into the top corner leaving the ‘keeper with no chance.
Reece Kane made a superb save to stop John Bailey’s side lead being cut he tipped over a powerful drive from Quentin Davy.
County Down were playing some fantastic football – an assured performance from the men in red – and could have been going in at the break 4-1 up as Luke Murtagh was sent through but his shot sailed wide of the target.
County Down started the second half well, putting pressure on their French counterparts nearly adding a fourth when a super piece of play by Neale found McLaughlin, his wonderful cross headed away by Alex Baranger.
Vendee were reduced to 10 men when Teddy Negrit was shown a red card for spitting at County Down Reece Neale! The red card killed the game as a contest but County Down were playing well, not allowing Vendee to get any shots on goal.
Vendee could have been reduced to nine as Hugo Blanchard put in a heavy tackle on Keegan Rice.
Reece Neale was leading by example with a fine captain’s display as his non-stop talking seemed to spur his side on as they were on cruise control entering the final stages.
The game fizzled out and County Down picked up a vital three points.