Car­ton’s cracker!

Stal­wart’s sweet strike wins derby for Wick­low Town

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT -

A MO­MENT of sub­lime magic from Wick­low Town stal­wart Johnny Car­ton se­cured a sweet vic­tory over neigh­bours Wick­low Rovers af­ter an en­ter­tain­ing Pat O’Toole Divi­sion 1 clash at White­gates on Sun­day af­ter­noon last.

Car­ton had been in­stru­men­tal in help­ing Town get back into the game when he dis­patched a penalty late in the sec­ond half to level the game at 2-2 with the mo­men­tum swing­ing the way of the vis­i­tors at that late stage.

This was Wick­low Rovers’ first game in the Pat O’Toole Divi­sion 1 this sea­son and although they tasted de­feat on this oc­ca­sion, they can look for­ward to a fruit­ful sea­son ahead be­cause they are a young team with buck­ets of po­ten­tial all over the park and hav­ing no short­age of foot­ball be­hind them with many of their num­ber hav­ing played youths in the DDSL un­til re­cently.

But the vic­tory went the way of the Town and they can thank Car­ton, John Con­nors, Eric Dunne, Ian Mur­phy and Christy Moore­house for their vic­tory af­ter they pro­duced a dy­namic per­for­mance that saw them claw their way back into the game on two oc­ca­sions be­fore ham­mer­ing the fa­tal blow to the Wick­low Rovers cause when Johnny Car­ton bagged a won­der goal with time al­most up.

We’ll start with the win­ning goal. It was a thing of beauty. If Johnny Car­ton never kicks a ball again it should never bother him. If he scores a bet­ter one for the rest of his ca­reer, he’ll be do­ing very well.

A free from deep was launched to the edge of the box. There’s Car­ton, lurk­ing like a lethal preda­tor, his shark-like in­stincts fo­cused on one thing and one thing only, get­ting that ball into the back of Rossa Mar­ron’s net and thereby se­cur­ing a late vic­tory for his beloved Town.

A deft touch from the renowned at­tacker takes the st­ing out of the cross and leaves the ball bounc­ing gen­tly in front of him as he is closed down by Brian Har­ring­ton and Pa­trick O’Keane.

Car­ton’s not con­cerned. He watches the ball bounce twice in front of him as he en­gi­neers his poised frame into the op­ti­mum po­si­tion for a shot for the jugu­lar.

A swift swing of the hips and some nim­ble foot­work has Car­ton turned in a flash. He swings that right boot and makes an or­gas­mic con­nec­tion with the ball, send­ing it up­wards on a wicked arc that sees it sail ma­jes­ti­cally over the head of Mar­ron who can only col­lapse to the ground as the roars erupt from the Town play­ers and sup­port­ers. Epic!

Johnny Car­ton is swal­lowed up by his col­leagues and he gets the man­li­est of manly hugs from John Con­nors as the Town men cel­e­brate a mag­nif­i­cent strike.

Things hadn’t looked so rosy for Town af­ter 21 min­utes when Luca Ram­per­saud took the ball around Ian Mur­phy be­fore fin­ish­ing to the back of the net for the game’s open­ing goal. Rovers were look­ing full of in­tent and ooz­ing with po­ten­tial as they played some lovely foot­ball up and down the field with Pa­trick O’Keane and Ram­per­saud be­ing chief tor­men­tors of the Town de­fence.

Prior to that goal for Rovers, Ian Mur­phy had pro­duced a fan­tas­tic save from the boot of Ram­per­saud who ran on to an Adam Cud­dihy ball be­fore blast­ing it at Mur­phy.

The strike was at a rea­son­able height for a goal­keeper, but it was hit with the force of a rocket and Mur­phy did su­perbly to save.

The early stages were lit­tered with half chances and cleared dan­gers from both sides with Eli Graham, Jack Gib­ney and Ryan Cor­ri­gan look­ing use­ful at the back for Rovers while Dale Quinn, John Con­nors and Eric Dunne was putting them­selves about for Town.

Rovers’ lead didn’t last long. Town won a free for a foul by Hugh Humby who saw yel­low from ‘Butch’ Do­ran. Up stepped John Con­nors and the Pat’s hurl­ing leg­end stuck the ball in the top cor­ner of Mar­ron’s net to level the game in some style.

Chances came and went for both teams for the re­main­der of the first half with a great bat­tle de­vel­op­ing be­tween John Con­nors and Pa­trick O’Keane as the ath­letic O’Keane looked to pun­ish Town down the right wing time and time again but Con­nors stand­ing tall on more than one oc­ca­sion. Town would also lose Dale Quinn to in­jury with Keith Meila tak­ing his place in that open­ing half.

The ear­li­est chance in the sec­ond half fell to Stephen Fin­lay but his shot was gath­ered eas­ily by Mur­phy in the Town goal. Rob Ta­laga was pre­sented with a de­cent chance to take the ball around Mur­phy but the Town net­min­der stood up well and saved Ta­laga’s shot with his foot.

The early stages of the sec­ond half were all about Rovers, to be fair, as they brought a mas­sive en­ergy to their play to try and get that lead goal early on.

Luca Ram­per­saud will feel that he should have done bet­ter when he found him­self one on one with Ian Mur­phy only to see his right-footed ef­fort blaze wide.

The home side would find the way through a dogged de­fence in the 78th minute when Jack Gib­ney was gifted the ball as Town at­tacked.

He sent it for­ward to Hugh Humby who launched a mis­sile of a pass to the feet of Ram­per­saud who man­aged to dis­patch his shot past Ian Mur­phy be­fore be­ing clat­tered by the chas­ing Christy Moore­house.

Town now started to ask ques­tions of Rovers at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity as searched for the lev­el­ling goal. A cor­ner was swung in by Eric Dunne and Gavin Caf­frey stooped low to head while Ram­per­saud lifted the boot to clear it.

Both men looked to have eyes only for the ball, but Caf­frey went down hold­ing his head and ‘Butch’ Do­ran sig­nalled for a penalty. In fair­ness to Ram­per­saud he made con­tact with the ball and felt re­ally hard done by with the de­ci­sion.

Johnny Car­ton stepped up to take the spot kick and he sent it sweetly to the bot­tom cor­ner of the net with Mar­ron go­ing the wrong way.

All square at 2-2 when a neu­tral ob­server might have said that Rovers looked to be head­ing to vic­tory at cer­tain stages of this game.

It was in the 85th minute when Car­ton struck gold. Rovers would come call­ing re­peat­edly but Ian Mur­phy and his de­fence stood firm un­til the fi­nal whis­tle her­alded a sweet, sweet vic­tory for Town over the neigh­bours.

When these two sides meet in the re­turn leg, it would be a game well worth at­tend­ing.

TOP FORM: John Con­nors, Wick­low Town. Stood up when he was needed and cleared plenty of Rovers’ at­tacks. WICK­LOW ROVERS: 1. Rossa Mar­ron, 2. Ryan Cor­ri­gan, 3. Eli Graham, 4. Jack Gib­ney, 5. Dan Har­bourne, 6. Brian Har­ring­ton, 7. Pa­trick O’Keane, 8. Hugh Humby, 9. Stephen Fin­lay, 10. Luca Ram­per­saud, 11. Adam Cud­dihy. Subs: 12. Dan Fitzsi­mons, 13. James Lang, 14. JJ Power, 15. Rob Ta­laga, 16. Jack Evans.

WICK­LOW TOWN: 1. Ian Mur­phy, 2. Gavin Caf­frey, 3. Dale Quinn, 4. Sean O’Brien, 5. John Con­nors, 6. Michael Con­nors, 7. Jor­dan Sin­nott, 8. Eric Dunne, 9. Christy Moore­house, 10. Johnny Car­ton, 11. Pa­trick Mur­phy. Subs: 12. Craig Noal, 13. Keith Meila, 17. PJ Yeates, 18. Paul Kelly.

REF­EREE: Tony ‘Butch’ Do­ran

Wick­low Town, who edged out lo­cal ri­vals Wick­low Rovers on Sun­day.

Wick­low Rovers, who lost out to Wick­low Town in their Pat O’Toole Divi­sion 1 clash.

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