Gilford’s recent run of bad luck in the league continued to haunt them on Saturday as they failed to match last week’s feat of notching 10 goals.
Looking to capitalise on that result and fielding a mainly unchanged side they took the field confidently, but not overly so.
You could not have asked for better conditions this late in the year to play a match and both teams relished the opportunity to increase their points tally.
Castlecaulfield looked a very strong team physically and it did not take long before they took the opportunity to test the Gilford defence.
Only some assured keeping by McKinstry and a perfectly timed tackle by the veteran captain Barry prevented them from taking the lead.
It was not, however, all one way traffic. McAreavey was, again, very strong in midfield, constantly trying to find the killer pass for the Magee brothers to connect with but not afraid to have a go himself if the chance arose.
Gilford’s bad luck continued when Castlecaulfield somehow scrambled the ball over the line in the 13th minute after the ball broke loose in the Gilford box.
The goal seemed to spur Gilford on and they went on to produce some of their best football of the match in the next 20 minutes as they pushed forward.
Both Magees had chances to level, a call for a penalty was turned down as Conor was brought down in the box, McAreavey had a free kick go just over and only a fine save from the Castlecaulfield keeper stopped O’Hare’s netbound header from Gillen’s finely struck free kick.
It was not all one way and McKinstry again proved his worth when he flung himself the length of his goal to stop a well struck free kick.
The second half was played at the same tempo and style as the first half and would ultimately render the same result goal wise as the first half.
If anything the tempo was slightly higher as the game ceaselessly flowed from end to end as both teams sought out the vital second goal of the match.
Clear cut chances were rare with neither keeper being particularly troubled by the final shots being fired at them.
Castlecaulfield’s second of the day was as lucky as their first as their player broke into the box and toe poked his effort under the oncoming McKinstry.
The young keeper balletically threw himself backwards to retrieve the ball and appeared to have done so only for the referee, who was some 35 yards away, to adjudge that the ball had crossed the line.
Not even introducing the three substitutes John McKiverigan, Eamonn Mac Aoidh or retuning alumnus Stephen Donaghy could rescue the result for Gilford and Castlecaulfield ultimately ran out 2-0 winners.
Next up for the first team is a home league match against Stranmillis on Saturday November 7 at 2.15pm.
The reserves are away to Lurgan Utd Reserves on the same date.