Fir­house rally leaves Town reel­ing

SOC­CER LE­IN­STER SE­NIOR LEAGUE DIVI­SION 1

Bray People - - Sport -

A POW­ER­FUL sec­ond-half per­for­mance from league leaders Fir­house Clover saw the Dublin side de­part Bridgewater Cen­tre Park on Fri­day night last with all three points as Ark­low Town suf­fered their first de­feat of the sea­son.

Town, hav­ing started the sea­son brightly, faced the early pace­set­ters in this Le­in­ster Se­nior League Divi­sion 1 clash mi­nus the pres­ence of five first team regulars, all side­lined with in­juries.

The vis­i­tors started brightly, boosted by two wins from their two pre­vi­ous out­ings, push­ing the ball across the park as they probed the Ark­low de­fence for an open­ing.

Town were on the back foot from the off though the de­fence was ably mar­shalled by Gra­ham Lawlor, and Kevin Far­rell com­ing into the side for the ab­sent William Tyrrell. Slightly against the run of play the home side carved out a move that led to the game’s open­ing goal.

A sweep­ing move up the Town’s left flank re­sulted in winger Chris Burgess driv­ing a shot across the Fir­house penalty box and the ever lively John Fen­nell was per­fectly placed to get his head to the ball and di­rect home.

Wil­lie Doyle went close to dou­bling Ark­low’s lead with a right foot shot that glanced off the Fir­house goal­post. With half-time loom­ing Stephen Hur­ley tested the ‘keeper from dis­tance with a drilled ef­fort that fizzed just inches over the bar. The Dublin side made a num­ber of tac­ti­cal switches at the start of the sec­ond-half but still Town main­tained the up­per hand, search­ing for a sec­ond goal.

How­ever, just on the hour mark, Town were re­duced to ten men and Fir­house seized the op­por­tu­nity to level with a float­ing ball in from the left wing that de­ceived all and ended up dip­ping in­side the top right hand cor­ner of Town’s keeper Craig Brit­ton’s net.

Both sides pushed for a win­ner, and with Daragh Mur­ray off in­jured and John Fen­nell strug­gling with a hand in­jury, Town’s best ef­forts came from set pieces. With less than ten min­utes re­main­ing, Town were well placed, a free-kick award- ed level with the Fir­house penalty area.

An in-swing­ing cross from Stephen Hur­ley was cleared and Fir­house broke up­field on a coun­ter­at­tack, a sweep­ing move up their right flank. With the Town de­fence stretched, a Fir­house head was first to the ball as a cross reached the near post, and he steered home what proved to be the winning goal, much to the de­light of the Fir­house bench and sup­port.

Ark­low Town: Craig Brit­ton, Ian O’Reilly, John McEl­wee, Gra­ham Lawlor, Kevin Far­rell, James Dixon, John Fen­nell, Stephen Hur­ley, Wil­lie Doyle, Daragh Mur­ray, Chris Burgess. Subs. - Kenny Keogh (for Mur­ray), Ea­monn Doyle, Gearoid Red­mond, Billy Man­ley.

John Fen­nell, who opened the scor­ing for Ark­low Town in their 21 home de­feat against Fir­house Clover.

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