Clin­i­cal Clover con­demn Mals to fourth loss

Fingal Independent - - SPORT - BY PAUL BYRNE


AN im­proved sec­ond half per­for­mance from Malahide wasn’t enough to pre­vent a fourth de­feat of the sea­son for Terry Palmers men in the Le­in­ster Se­nior League’s top flight.

Malahide were hop­ing to bounce back from a 5-1 drub­bing at the hands of Crum­lin United three days ear­lier but were un­done thanks to a clin­i­cal firsthalf dis­play from Firhouse Clover who scored two goals from their only real clear-cut chances of the 45 min­utes.

Malahide were dealt a blow right be­fore kick-off as Glen Daly pulled up in the warm-up, which meant Col­lie Cur­tis came in for his first start of the sea­son.

Nev­er­the­less, Malahide started well, with Gareth Craven and Mark Bren­nan look­ing lively in the open­ing ex­changes, al­beit with­out trou­bling the Firhouse goal­keeper too much.

How­ever, af­ter that ini­tial bright start Firhouse slowly be­gan to take con­trol of mid­field and looked dan­ger­ous on the break when­ever Malahide lost the ball high up the pitch.

Firhouse took the lead af­ter 20 min­utes af­ter Malahide lost the ball in mid­field. The vis­i­tors quickly turned de­fence into at­tack and al­though Dar­ren Forsyth saw his ini­tial shot saved by Stephen Cashin, Conor Byrne was in the right place to slot home the re­bound and give the vis­i­tors a de­served ad­van­tage.

Malahide con­tin­ued to push for­ward, but Scott Law­less was hav­ing a fine game at the back for Firhouse and the hosts strug­gled to cre­ate any clear-cut chances in the open­ing half.

Malahide’s woes deep­ened just be­fore the break as they lost the ball once again in mid­field due to some sloppy play. Carl Forsyth picked up the loose ball for Firhouse be­fore spray­ing a won­der­ful 40-yard ball to Ryan Coombes who beat the keeper to make it 2-0 to the vis­i­tors.

The sec­ond half saw an im­proved Malahide per­for­mance as they fi­nally be­gan to cre­ate some chances for in-form striker Dar­ren Craven.

A lovely move which be­gan at the back with Ja­son Rankin saw the ball end up at Craven’s feet just out­side the penalty box, but his snap shot flew just wide of the tar­get.

Substitute Cil­lian Tim­mins went close on the hour mark, but his low drive was well saved by the Firhouse goal­keeper.

Malahide con­tin­ued to pour on the pres­sure and were al­most re­warded with 20 min­utes re­main­ing when Brian Fo­ley rose high­est to meet a Gareth Lo­gan cor­ner. How­ever, his pow­er­ful header was once again well saved by the keeper as the home side be­gan to re­alise that this would not be their day.

Malahide fash­ioned a cou­ple more half chances late on, but in truth they were strug­gling to break down a res­o­lute Firhouse rear­guard and in the end the vis­i­tors left Gan­non Park with a de­served three points.

Palmer’s young side will be hop­ing to bounce back this Thurs­day evening when they take on Ark­low at home in one of the cup com­pe­ti­tions.

MALAHIDE UNITED: Stephen Cashen, Ja­son Rankin, Brian Fo­ley, Col­lie Cur­tis, Karl Mellin, Robert Dug­gan, Mark Kelly, Mark Bren­nan, Gareth Craven, Gareth Lo­gan, Dar­ren Craven. Subs: Sam Burgess for Mark Kelly, Dave Fal­lon for Rob Dug­gan, Karl Moody for Mark Bren­nan, Kil­lian Tim­mins for Dy­lan Cashin.

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