OLD Boys returned to winning ways at Blackberry Lane on Saturday with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over struggling Gymns in the Canada Life Premier League.
Although Brian Gartland’s side fully deserved their win, the visitors battled all the way and still look like a side capable of beating the drop, if only they can find the back of their opponent’s net.
Following a cautious start the hosts gradually stepped up the pressure and the lively Mark Burman tested Gymns keeper Steve Downward with a well-struck effort from distance. Then, minutes later, the home side went even closer when the exciting David Quirk rattled an upright with a stunning free-kick.
It was no real surprise when, midway through the half, the Tromode side’s luck ran out as Old Boys scored. The visitors failed to deal with a cleverly-flighted free-kick into the box that allowed leading scorer Callum Stewart to steer home.
The goal, however, appeared to inspire the visitors and up to the break they enjoyed their best spell of the game. Despite their competitive performance in midfield, in which Nick Bowden looked sharp, their main problem remained the lack of being able to create a clear scoring opportunity.
The home side, though, looked dangerous on the counter and just before the interval Burman produced another fine effort which required an equally smart stop from Downward.
The uneven pitch was far from conducive to flowing football but the home side made a highly impressive start to the second period. The pressure duly told after just nine minutes with a well-constructed and decisive second goal. The move of the game involving David Quirk, Burman and Craig Stewart resulted in a smart pass to Lee Gartland who finished in style.
As the half progressed Gartland’s side continued to pose a threat and the busy Callum Stewart could well have done better with a fine header from right in front of goal. Then late in the half another darting run from David Quirk ended with a well struck shot that whistled past the goal.
Old Boys: Sam Holliday, David Quirk, Iain Ramsey (Tommy Miller) Martin King, Karl Gartland, Phil Knox, Craig Stewart, Michael Hooper (Ian Kirk), Mark Burman (John Quirk), Lee Garland, Callum Stewart.
Gymns: Steve Downward, Jonathon Broad, Barry Hardinge, Danny Kewley, Gareth Gawne, Mark McCarrick, Nick Bowden, Mark Connor, Simon Dixon (Jay Corrin), Jez Lovett, Steven Cretney.
Referee: Chris Taggart
Assistants: Willie Cowley and Winston Taylor
Man of the Match: David Quirk (Old Boys) - maintained a fine shift on the right hand side, causing a series of problems to the Gymns rearguard
Match rating: 3*