Relegation battlers cancel each other out
Shane Leonard breaks forward for Newtown during their draw with Belcoo on Sunday.
Belcoo 0-06; Newtownbutler 0-06
NEWTOWNBUTLER find themselves at the bottom of the pile in Division One, despite a late point earning them a draw away to Belcoo, who are close to the relegation trapdoor themselves.
In a game where errors were plentiful, neither side could take what would have been a valuable two points, with both now fighting to keep their Division One status for next season.
Testing conditions led to a lethargic opening to the contest, with both teams struggling to find any rhythm in the early stages. Belcoo did manage to get the first score of the game after seven minutes though, Aaron Dolan finding the target from close range.
The home side were perhaps looking the sharper early on, and they doubled their lead soon after when Jonathan Feeley fired over. Newtown eventually got their first point midway through the half when Niall Mohan fisted over for them from a Ryan Carson free, but two frees in quick succession from Paul McGrath and Jonathan Feeley kept Belcoo on top.
Newtown were finding it difficult to build up any momentum at this stage, but a Ryan Carson free kept them in touch. Indeed Carson added another free as half time approached, before Jonathan Feeley landed a free for Belcoo to leave it 0-05 to 0-03 at the interval.
Just before the break, Paul Johnston suffered what looked like a bad knee injury, with the full extent of the injury not yet known. Newtown managed to put that setback behind them at the start of the second period, and brought themselves to within a point, Carson again the marksman from a free.
The game was becoming ever sloppier with conditions deteriorating underfoot, which meant scoring was at a premium. With ten minutes remaining Niall McGovern found the target to leave Belcoo ahead by two points.
The away side though, were given a glorious chance with full time looming, when they were awarded a penalty for a jersey pull. However, Jarlath Jackman's effort went narrowly wide to let Belcoo off the hook.
Newtown dug deep though, and with time nearly up, Ryan Carson hit his fifth free of the contest, before Shane Leonard fired over the dying moments of the game to earn his side a much needed draw.
It was a game that neither could really afford to lose, and with just four games left in the league, both teams will need to pick up points fast if they are to remain in the top flight next season.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 16 Aug 12