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Morale Boosting Derby Victory

posted 23 Apr 2012, 15:29 by Unknown user   [ updated 3 Jul 2012, 11:49 ]

Sarsfields 3-08 Wolfe Tones 1-12

Sarsfields were coming into this vital derby match on the back of their worst home performance in quite some time.

Possibly the proverbial boot up the rear end was what some of the players needed and the phrase ‘Things can only get better’ springs to mind. Undoubtedly what the team really needed was a morale boosting derby win against their nearest neighbours. The return of the four Stevenson’s, Peter, Richie, Michael and John certainly was welcome news. Peter and Richie might have had niggling injuries but they weren’t going to keep them out of this match. The teatime throw in had meant that there was a large attendance at the match and whilst much is made of the intense rivalry there was a lot of good natured banter amongst the crowd anticipating an entertaining evening.
Tones struck first with a point, but it was a super save from Darran McAvoy that denied them the goal. Both sides hit a few chances wide and the early indications were that both sides were you might say afraid to lose this vital match. Michael Stevenson settled the Highmoss nerves with a free and Thomas McAlinden quickly added the first Sarsfields score from play. Thomas McAlinden then had a goal chance go to the right of the posts. He brought the ball down and lost possession but was able to get in a shot that surely would have hit the net had it been on target. The Tones pulled level and might well have pulled ahead with a goal chance when a mix up in the Highmoss defence allowed the ball to bounce in the square to the advantage of the full forward. Again Darran McAvoy was up to the task and made a great save. Tones edged ahead again using the dangerous long ball tactic. A Michael Stevenson ‘45’ levelled matters, but Sarsfields conceded a free after being penalised for a short kick out and Tones regained the lead. When Michael Stevenson pulled the sides level once more it looked like little would separate the sides at half time. A great move though in the closing stages of the half saw Richie Stevenson hauled down with the goal at his mercy. The Tones defender was yellow carded and Paul McGeown stepped up and slotted the resulting penalty to the net, putting some daylight between the sides at half time. Just before the half time whistle the sides exchanged a coupl of frees and the Tones fisted a chance wide from five metres out.

On the restart Paul McGeown followed up on a Thomas McAlinden effort that was drifting wide and he punched the ball to the net. Tones replied with a free that was cancelled out by Eamon McGeown after good work in midfield by Eimeid Murray. Tones responded but put two efforts wide and another into the Highmoss keeper’s hands. Eamon McGeown had a chance hit the side netting from an acute angle and had another goal line chance after Mark Reynolds had put the ball in, but Tones cleared. Tones frees were keeping them in the game and they pulled the gap back to four points. The game turned against the visitors when Sarsfields were awarded a penalty for an off the ball foul in the penalty area. The penalty decision may have been harsh, but Paul McGeown stepped and sent the ball to the net for his third goal, regardless of the controversy. The visitors to their credit fought to the end but couldn’t close the gap enough to provide a tense finish. A penalty with the last kick of the ball pulled the gap back to two points but the result hadn’t been in doubt in the final ten minutes. The visitors may have pointed to a soft Highmoss penalty, but the reality was that one point of their 1-07 second half tally was from play. Sarsfields defence had coped with the Tones route one tactic, even if it required a couple of top drawer saves and the Highmoss midfield had played a bit better. Neutrals in the crowd wouldn’t have been impressed with the quality of football on offer, but for the home side it was the result that mattered.

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