Arklow advance on penalties
SOCCER S.F.A.I UNDER-12 NORTON CUP
CUP FOOTBALL always brings out the dramatic and few games in this round of the SFAI U-12 Norton Cup will have provided as much drama as the meeting between Beechwood (SDSL) and Arklow Town.
High winds and a small pitch were both factors in Town’s sluggish start to the game as they were unable to apply any width to their game.
Instead, the dimensions of the pitch ensured Town opted for a more direct approach; through the middle or over the top.
Either way, the Arklow side got going and were soon ahead. Kyle Jordan and Jordan Gannon, both excelling in midfield all game, created an opening for Kaelim Broughan to put Town ahead and he did not need asking twice.
Two minutes later, Arklow’s lead was doubled. Keith Byrne’s inch perfect pass played in Broughan to score his and Town’s second, hammering into the top corner.
Town almost made
it three before the break, with Kyle Hilliard going close from a Cormac Murphy free-kick on the edge of the Beechwood box. After the half time interval, it was Town once again looking the likelier to score and even though three chances were spurned it looked as though they might still cruise to a comfortable win. Not so, as the final ten minutes, and beyond, provided enough drama to keep RTE in business for a winter season.
The home side dragged themselves back into the game with a shot from distance, deflecting off a Town defender and looping beyond the despairing hand of Town keeper Aaron Jackson and nestling in Town’s net. With just three minutes remaining the Dublin side levelled, a defensive blunder gifting the home side an equaliser.
Into extra-time, Town recouped and really should have put the game to bed. Chances in both first and second halves were not converted ensuring the lottery of penalties would decide the outcome.
Town’s Cormac Murphy stepped up to slot home the opening spot-kick. Aaron Jackson then made a wonderful save to give Town a slender advantage, but that too was short lived as the Beechwood keeper denied Kyle Hilliard with the following spot-kick. Kyle Jordan restored Town’s edge and when Aaron Jackson again denied Beechwood it finally began to look like Arklow’s day. Kaelim Broughan increased Town’s advantage and with the next Town penalty it was Keith Byrne smashing home that final nail in Beechwood’s Cup aspirations and ensuring Town advance to the next round, where they will welcome a Newbridge Town side to Arklow.
Arklow Town's Jordan Gannon, who was highly influential in Town's dramatic win over Dublin side Beechwood.