Renwick left Numb as Jay’s Football Friends give them 99 Problems

17 Dec

The opposition manager

Another week, another defeat for Renwick, as McCullough’s men were beaten 2-1 by the dubiously-monikered Jay’s Football Friends at Grove on Wednesday. The defeat leaves Renwick with only one win to show for their opening 6 Belfast Super League fixtures. With the league not recommencing until February, management and players alike will have plenty of time to mull over the performances in the opening 6 games of the season.

The match itself was a drab affair, reflecting the overcast sky under which it was played. The standard of football was low from both sides. Things were largely even in the first half, with Jay & co causing occasional trouble to the Renwick defence through their strength and determination. Renwick themselves rarely threatened, relying on lone striker Adam Devenney to provide any menace in the opposition half. It was Devenney who opened the scoring after 25 minutes, powerfully outmuscling his marker and latching onto a through ball from Mr. Skills before squeezing the ball past the keeper and into the bottom corner. Devenney almost doubled his tally 5 minutes later, flicking a throw-in onto the top of the bar after defensive shenanigans from the Friends. This was as good as it got from Renwick, who struggled to get on the ball and play the neat football that they’re capable of.

However, in the second half, instead of making the improvement needed to see out the game, Renwick got worse. Jay’s crew grew in confidence, and began to dominate proceedings, pouring forward in numbers. Despite this, Renwick had some joy with long balls over the top to Devenney, however he was guilty of being wasteful with these chances. On 70 minutes, Jay’s equalised, catching the Renwick defence cold, leaving their striker with a simple finish. Once the first goal went in, there was a sense of inevitability about the second, which duly came five minutes later. Renwick failed to clear a corner, the ball was played back in, pushed out by McCullough but only the land at the striker’s feet, leaving him with a simple finish once again. Renwick changed shape, throwing Joel Cromie up front to link up with Devenney, but chances were scarce. The best fell to McCaughan, who wriggled his way into the box, but could only fire straight at the keeper from close range. The game petered out, leaving Renwick with much to consider over the Christmas break.

This game was the fifth time that Renwick had thrown away a lead in six league games, and this is a problem that will need to be addressed over the next month or so. The neat possession football that personified McCullough’s side in pre-season has all but disappeared. They will need to rediscover their confidence if they are to make anything of this season.

Man of the match: Although no Renwick players can come out of this game with any real credit, Richard McKelvey deserves a mention for another solid performance at left back.

Renwick (4-5-1): McCullough; Fallows, Carson, Hanna, McKelvey; Aicken, Hawthorne, Skills, Peoples, Cromie J; Devenney. Subs: Cromie R, Blackwell, McCaughan

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