CO ANTRIM 1 VENDEE FC 2
County Antrim again fell to defeat at the hands of foreign opposition after a late twist.
They met French side Vendee FC on Day Three of the tournament and were beaten after two well-taken goals from impressive striker Pierre Durand at the end of each half.
County Antrim went into the game with a win and a draw to their name, meanwhile their French opponents were unbeaten after two wins from their first two games.
The French side dominated for the most part and deserved their first half goal. Antrim thought they had secured a point until Durand struck in the closing stages to cancel out Antrim’s hard fought equaliser and secure his second of the game.
Zac Killinikos had the first chance of the game. Good work down the left side by Amory Geofritt created space for his Vendee team-mate Killinikos, he curled a great effort just over the bar.
Nicolas Mithra also had the Antrim goalkeeper Jason Craughwell on red alert. His driven free kick had the keeper at full-stretch, but luckily for him, and Antrim, it went wide.
County Antrim began to apply their own pressure as the half wore on. They forced numerous corners, and on in particular from caused particular trouble. Ross Holden’s in-swinging cross forced Maxime Teillet into a rash clearance after two attempts.
Chances were few and far between as both defences were proving hard to break down. A curled free kick from Vendee captain Arthur Durousseau found defender Guilaume Musseau but he headed just wide, despite the ball looking destined for the back of the net.
Vendee took the lead on the stroke of half-time. Striker Pierre Durand latched onto a smart pass after a good move and stabbed the ball past the Antrim keeper with the last kick of the half.
The County side came out after the interval and showed more intent.
Ronan Hale did well to get on the to end of a long ball from the back but he fired his shot straight at Teillet, who parried the drive out to his defenders to clear.
Hale was again involved in Antrim’s next chance. He hit a rather tame effort but thanks to a deflection Teillet was forced into a smart save.
Vendee struggled to break through, but when they did their goal-scorer Durand was key. He came close to doubling his goal-tally midway through the second half as he teased a free-kick towards goal that flew just past the left post.
Antrim came the closest they had to scoring around twenty minutes into the second-half. Midfielder Gary Donnelly picked up the ball following a gashed clearance from a Vendee defender following a corner, he smashed the ball low and hard at the Vendee goal, he beat the keeper but not Mithra who was still on the back-post and cleared the ball off the line.
County Antrim’s hard work paid off as they snatched their equaliser. Ronan Hale latched onto a sweet curled cross from the right side and nodded home with aplomb.
Vendee were shell-shocked from this equaliser out of nothing. They regained their composure and re-took the lead within minutes.
It was Geofritt and Durand who again combined well. The latter received the ball in the box, took a touch and then stabbed the ball past the on-rushing Antrim keeper.
It was a cruel blow to Antrim who fought admirably to get back into the game, but the side from France deserved to take all three points.
Co. Antrim: Jason Craughwell, Nathan Watters, Adam McCracken, Jordan Malone, Jack Smith, Marc Sykes, Ross Holden, Harry Griffin, Gary Donnely, Ronan Hale, Owen McKeown,
Vendee: Maxime Teillet, Tanguay Tran, Nicolas Mithra, Guilaume Musseau. Thomas Allemand, Arthur Durousseau, Amory Geoffrit, Arnaud Baron, Francois Girard, Achille Robin, Pierre Durand