Tummery Athletic 1 NFC Kesh 0

A Kyle McCrory goal just before half time was enough to give Tummery victory over Kesh, as two of the expected title contenders clashed at Crawford’s Lane.

After an evenly contested first half, Kesh dominated much of the second period, but it was Tummery’s defensive display that prevailed as they clung on to take all three points and maintain their 100 per cent record this season.

Kesh Manager Scott Robinson was left frustrated as he saw his side fail to make the breakthrough.

“We created and created and kept knocking on the door, but they defended like champions, which is what they are,” he said.

“They are the champions for a reason and on Saturday you were able to see why. Once they got that goal they sat deep and although we were able to get in behind them, we weren’t able to find the back of the net, which was the most frustrating thing.

“We just came off a bit disillusioned. We kept pressing and pressing, and I don’t think we could have done any more. I don’t think we were ever as on top in a game. It was incredible. We created a good few chances, and they created one and scored from it.

“It’s hard to fault the players because they were excellent, even though we came away with nothing.”

Tummery boss Ryan Hanna agreed that his side’s defensive performance was key in taking maximum points.

“It was a very tight game,” he acknowledged. “We edged the first half and maybe got the goal at the right time. The longer the game went on, we dropped deeper, and to be fair to Kesh, they played very well and created a few chances and we had to make a few saves.

“We rode the pressure well and dealt with free kicks and corners, and as a team I was proud of our defending – the back five and the keeper, particularly. That is what the game is all about. There is no point attacking if you can’t defend, and vice versa.

“We scored when we had the chance and we defended when we needed to.”

In a tight first half, goal-scoring opportunities were few and far between, with Ryan Campbell’s shot straight at McCrory the closest either side came to opening the scoring.

It looked as though the sides would reach half time deadlocked, but a minute before the break a Tummery throw-in routine presented Kyle McCrory with an opportunity, and he lashed his volley in off the underside of the crossbar.

Having fallen behind, Kesh came out in the second half pressing forward in search of a goal.

They forced a succession of corners and free kicks, and Campbell, McClure, Frempong and Beatty all had efforts at goal but could not find a way through the Tummery rear guard action.

With ten minutes remaining Ryan Beatty received a second Yellow Card to reduce the visitors to ten men, and with the numerical advantage Tummery saw out the game to claim an important three points.