The first fixture of the new season saw The Dock line up against the newly promoted champions of the 1st division, Irby Club. As is usual, promoted teams always start the season with ‘ All guns blazing ‘ and this was viewed as a tricky fixture for The Dock.

After a scrappy first 15 minutes in which neither team got a foothold, Gary Reay had a goal disallowed by Referee Dave Richardson for a shove on the defender by Reay. It was a dubious decision made even more frustrating as Irby Club went straight up the other end and scored ! Irby Clubs lead never lasted long as on 22 minutes ,Gary Reay unleashed a 25 yard screamer. Paul Byrne dropped in another good ball from the right back position into Gareth McEvoy who in turn slipped in Reay and he did the rest, taking aim and drilling the ball into the top left hand corner.

On 25 minutes Craig Johnson put in Sean Holmes in the Irby box but the keeper beat him to it. A couple of minutes later, a good cross from Holmes found Reay who headed over to McEvoy only for his tame effort ending up with the keeper but it was better now for The Dock. A good ball from Johnson with the outside of his boot over the top found Reay who controlled the ball instantly to send in a left footed effort which the keeper saved. Ross Carragher made a fine last gasp tackle on 36 minutes to concede a corner as the Irby striker was set to shoot. It was nearly half time when Holmes sent in a free kick which found the head of McEvoy to head across to the unmarked Reay who headed straight at the keeper when he should of scored

Half-time. 1.1.

An early free kick from Holmes found Reay who got underneath his header in the 6 yard box . On 47minutes a moment of class from Holmes saw him turn the full back inside out and he drilled a left footed shot low into the keepers left hand post to make it 2.1.

Space was opening up down The Dock’s left and it was being exposed by Holmes, who was enjoying a good period of the game, beating the fullback at will and delivering good opportunities to his team mates. It was his corner which saw Johnson hit the bar with a close range header on 51 minutes and that could of proved costly as Irby equalised on the hour. Dock keeper ,Davis ,saved superbly from a free kick to concede a corner. From that corner, Irby got a free header in which evaded the keepers dive to end up in the back of the net. 2.2

On 65 minutes a good ball through the Irby defence by Johnson put Reay in only to be brought down by the keeper in the area. The resulting penalty was saved by the keeper from Reay , who shot low to the keepers right and he could consider himself lucky to still be on the pitch as he was the last man when he brought down Reay. There was a case for him to be dismissed but the referee chose not even to speak to him.

On 71 minutes Craig Donaghy was replaced by Hannon and 4 minutes later, Holmes lashed the ball into the net for his second goal. As the ball dropped onto his left peg , he made no mistake with a close range effort to give The Dock a 3.2 lead.

McEvoy was replaced by Danny Donaghy on 78 minutes and 5 minutes later Irby had a man sent off for abusive language to the referee. The Dock saw the remainder of the game out to take a well earned 3 points from the opening fixture.

M.O.M….Sean Holmes.

March Report by Mike Stephens