|CB||2||Blair Bateman (u20)|
|CB||4||Danny McAlistair (u20)|
|RWB||5||Ryan Milne (u20)|
|CM||6||Dylan O’Hagan (u20)|
|CM||7||Mark Anthony Byrne (u20)|
|CF||11||Conor McAteer (u20)|
|45||12||Michael McGaraghan (u20)|
|13||Josh Devine (u20)|
Following their 7-1 win last week, Colts were feeling confident entering the match, however, the team was cautious of the fact that previous games against Preston Athletic required more fight than flair to emerge as winners. This game proved no different. The aggression of the home sides play, combined with some questionable referring decisions, meant that Colts were up against it from the first whistle.
Colts began the first half the brightest putting together some good passing moves that created chances that were not taken. Immediately following kick off, keeper Kenny Giles was challenged by Preston forwards but made some good saves to keep the score level. The hosts then managed to force themselves back into the match and were awarded a penalty after a well timed challenge by Bateman was deemed a foul by the referee. Despite Giles making a good save to keep the spot kick out, it was the Preston forward who reacted the quickest to nod the rebound in.
Colts responded well and continued to press forward in search of an equaliser, but missed several opportunities to level. Connor McAteer impressed well on the left hand side in the first half but lacked the end product Colts needed to go level and Conor Murphy missed two opportunities to score in the half which seen the home side go in 1-0 up at the break.
Going into the second half, an injured Connor Murphy was replaced by Michael McGarahan, which also saw a slight change of shape. Once play had resumed Colts started the game with more energy and not long after the restart, O’Hagan levelled the score line with a cool finish, following a good passing move. However, the majority of the second half reflected the first, as refereeing decisions continued to favour Preston while fouls which should have been awarded to the Colts were overlooked.
Although the Colts successfully prevented Preston from going ahead, they also missed several opportunities to score themselves, and, as predicted, the match became more physical as time progressed but against the run of play, a lapse in concentration at the back saw the Preston midfielder sneak in behind the Colts defence to put themselves back in the lead.
There wasn't a long wait for another goal as Colts got their second equaliser of the night after substitute McGarahan pounced on a loose ball in the penalty box to level the score line once again. Colts were pressing in search of a winner however there wasn't enough time on the clock and despite Colts creating the best chances in the game were unable to find the winner to seal the three points on offer.
Report by Laura Quinn