Celtic rescue point in derby
Brilliant Bradley leads fightback and secures a draw
A SPIRITED Gorey Celtic fightback, led by the sensational Bradley James, rescued a valuable point for the hosts in their Wexford Schoolboys League Under-13 Division 1 match in Mullawnfin on Saturday.
James, Celtic’s talisman in this derby, had looked dangerous in the first-half even though his side were up against it.
But, it wasn’t until Rangers had doubled their lead ten minutes after the restart that the Celtic winger really took the game by the scruff of its neck.
Supplied by Conor Redmond’s pinpoint pass, he blasted his opening goal into the roof of the net 17 minutes into the second-half, and just seven minutes after Rangers had got what looked to be their winning second goal.
It certainly made for a frantic finish with chances at either end, but when Cormac Goodwin’s corner fell at the feet of James twelve yards out from goal with only six minutes of normal time remaining, there was no question about where that shot was going to end up.
The draw earned both sides a valuable point with the season still in its early stages.
With the majority of the drama and excitement coming after the re-start, the first-half was noticeably quieter, with Rangers shading proceedings and grabbing an opening goal just before half-time.
Frankie Swinton and Luke Christie both fired early shots off target, and Artemy Pershankov had to be at his best in the heart of the Celtic defence to deny Tiernan Meyler and Swinton, as both attackers bore down on goal on two separate occasions.
James ended two winding runs by forcing Cian Wilson into two routine saves, but first blood was drawn four minutes before the break when Tom Funge collected in midfield, drove past the Celtic back line, and finished calmly to give his side the half-time advantage.
Another winding run by James set up Jamie Butler just after the re-start, but his first-time effort crept agonisingly wide of the near post.
That came minutes before Rangers had a clear penalty claim denied. They certainly have the right to feel aggrieved after referee Kevin Murphy failed to punish Pershankov for a rare mistimed challenge on Funge inside the Gorey area.
However, all appeared to be forgotten moments later when Matt Ryan whipped his free-kick in over goalkeeper Naoise Byrne and into the corner of the Celtic net.
2-0 is always a dangerous scoreline in football because one goal can completely shift momentum in the direction of the trailing side, and this was exactly the case on Saturday as James’ opener turned the game on its head.
Gorey Celtic: Naoise Byrne; Craig Bailey, Artemy Pershankov, Cormac Fleming; Tadhg Byrne; Bradley James, Dara Kelly, Cormac Goodwin, Filip Klempa; Jack Smyth, Jamie Butler. Subs. (rolling) - Ethan Goodwin, Louis O’Halloran, Conor Redmond, Jamie Hughes, Daniel Kemple.
Gorey Rangers: Cian Wilson; Casey Kennedy, Matt Ryan, George Kavanagh, Conal Flood; Frankie Swinton, Darragh Gethings, Ben Mordaunt, Luke Christie; Tiernan Meyler, Tom Funge. Subs. (rolling) - Max Ryan, Jack Steadmond.
Referee: Kevin Murphy.
The Gorey Celtic squad before Saturday’s drawn derby tie.
The Gorey Rangers crew who shared the spoils with Gorey Celtic.
Darragh Gethings (Gorey Rangers) evades Jack Smyth (Gorey Celtic).
Filip Klempka of Gorey Celtic battling with Tom Funge (Gorey Rangers).