Hat-trick for set-piece specialist McKee
Just as talisman Nicky Sharples finds his feet ‘down under’, Barn United recorded their best away victory of the season - and their first win of 2014 - with Saturday’s 6-1 success over Rosario Youth Club at Ulidia Playing Fields, just off the Ormeau Road.
Barn, nonetheless, remain in that all too familiar third-bottom rung. However, they are just three points behind Rosario, with four games in hand, and can overtake the Ormeau Road side if they ‘double up’ in the return fixture at Haslett Park this Saturday.
As Barn boss Jim Pherson said afterwards: “It was a day when our senior players such as Andy Kane, Gary McKee, with a hat-trick of free-kicks and Paul Mathers all stepped up to the plate. They needed to, after us going off at the break at one-each having had the better of the first-half! We were starting to think it was going to be another one of those days.”
Despite playing into the howling wind, it was Barn who produced the early bite, taking the lead on 25 minutes when Omar, not for the first time, was chopped down just outside the box. Gary McKee piloted the resultant 20-yard free-kick into the top corner of the net.
Perhaps on another day, a defining moment might have come when Omar’s shot was turned round for a corner via a defender’s hand. The Barn manager classed it as ‘the most obviously penalty I’ve ever seen’. And to compound United’s misery, Rosario broke away from the resultant corner to blast in an equaliser which appeared to take a deflection off a defender, looping over the helpless Stephen Brennan.
Barn were feeling a little sorry for themselves in the latter stages of the session, but Rosario failed to take advantage.
The Carrick boys, nevertheless, edged back in front just five minutes after the resumption; Kane swivelling round to beat the keeper at his far post.
Another McKee free-kick on the hour, into the top left-hand corner this time, gave the Carrick boys some valuable breathing space and the points were surely heading back to Barn once Paul Mathers got his head to a Neil Lammey corner for the visitors’ fourth.
There was still time for McKee to complete his hat-trick, with another free-kick, from even further out this time, opting for sheer power, in arrowing the ball past the keeper.
Barn rounded off the formalities 15 minutes from time, with Kane finishing off a pass from new recruit, Jackie Moore.
Barn United; Brennan – Sharkey, Alexander (Boyce), P Mathers, G Patterson, Lammey (Riddell) – Armstrong, McKee, McFetridge – Kane, Omar (Moore).
Players in: Jackie Moore, S, 18th Newtownabbey OB; Aaron Sharkey, D/M, Grove United; Johnny McFetridge, M/D, Kilroot Rec.