Tummery Athletic 0 NFC Kesh 0

Tummery and Kesh shared the points in a tightly contested match at Crawford’s Lane, despite Tummery playing more than half the match with ten men.

The dismissal of Ruari Sludden threatened to hand Kesh the advantage in the clash between two of the anticipated challengers for the league title, but the Fermanagh side could not capitalise and had to be content with a draw against the reigning champions.

Although they could not convert their numerical advantage into goals, Kesh manager Scott Robinson was content with his team’s performance.

“Overall, I felt we dominated the game and deserved more out of it, but at the end of the day we got a point away to the champions and a clean sheet,” he said.

“It was a really good game of football, nip and tuck the whole way between two really good teams. We knew the way Tummery play, and I knew the way we had to play to make sure we could combat them, and for me it worked.

“We were just unlucky that we didn’t come away with the three points, but they are a good side.

“They are well organised, strong, fit and physical and they play football too.

“We will just take each Saturday as it comes and keep building. We have to do the hard work now and make sure we don’t do anything silly in the next few games, like we did last year when we were dropping points against teams below us.”

Tummery boss Ryan Hanna admitted the outcome could have been worse for his side after the sending off put them on the back foot.

“It was a tight game,” he acknowledged.

“Kesh have made a couple of good signings and made a push to the semi-final of the Junior last year, so I knew this was never going to be a simple game. It got more difficult for us with the sending off of Ruairi Sludden at the end of the first half.

“We were disappointed not to get three points but at the same time it is a point gained given we were a man down for that length of time.

“All in all, we were content. Nothing was won or lost, and we will just move on to next week.”

Goal mouth action was at a premium in a cagey first half. The best chance of the opening half fell to the normally prolific striker Mark Jones, but the Kesh striker saw his shot come off the post when faced with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Jones also struck the post following a cross from Nathan Cashel, and Jack Kerr had a long-range effort well saved.

Tummery’s best chance of breaking the deadlock came from a vociferous penalty appeal for handball, but the referee waved away their claims.

Sludden’s straight red card just before half time for an elbow seemed to have gifted Kesh a great opportunity, but it was ten-man Tummery who started the second half looking the most likely to score.

Twice Aidy McCaffrey failed to capitalise on long range efforts, while Nigel Beacom went close for Kesh with a header from six yards out that he directed over the crossbar.

Cashel then had a shot saved by Tim Harney, while at the other end McCusker denied McCaffrey.

Both sides had late opportunities to nick the win, but Kerr failed to find Fleck with a cross when he was well placed, while Emmett McNabb had an effort saved by McCusker as the match ended goalless.