FASSAROE YC kept their title hopes alive and kicking thanks to Stephen McGrain's late winner which finally broke Carnew United's impressive resolve.
FASSAROE YC 1
CARNEW UNITED 0
A record of six losses in seven games suggested that the visitors would not be causing the title hopefuls from Bray too much difficulty but the men with former Oscar Traynor boss Declan Greene on the sideline were in for an unpleasant surprise.
United dug in and had an answer for everything the hosts threw at them until the 78th minute when Stephen McGrain, guilty of spurning some gilt-edged opportunities earlier in the contest, finally found his shooting boots to kill off the Division 3 battlers.
It looked like a trouncing could be on the cards when with just three minutes on the clock Fassaroe's Adam Moorehouse released McGrain with a cool flick with the outside of his left foot. McGrain's finish though was anything but cool. The striker skipped past 17 year old goalkeeper Mark Walsh but then having done the hard part; he fluffed his effort and sent it wide.
Fassaroe had to wait 17 more minutes for their next opportunity. A free kick was awarded 25 yards out and to the right of the Carnew penalty area but nonetheless Moorehouse's vicious effort had to be palmed away by Walsh. Allen Harris collected the rebound and crossed for McGrain, who's shot was blocked on the line by a sea of Carnew bodies.
Harris' deliveries caused another problem in the 28th minute when John Graney met it with a powerful connection but he was foiled by Carnew defender Mick Doyle who had timed his sliding block to perfection.
The siege on the visiting goal didn't halt there. Graney's pass should have been cut out by the Carnew defence but for once they weren't at the top of their game and the ball rolled through for McGrain. The striker had the goal at his mercy but instead he contrived to side-foot wide and as he stood with his head in his hands it told its own story.
Frustration was beginning to eek into the home side's game as the Carnew defence grew and grew in confidence. The deadlock was almost broken very early in the second period when Graney spun smartly into space but he was denied by a fine stop by the legs of Walsh.
Having been under the cosh from the first whistle, the Back Alley club stole up the other end and almost took a shock lead on 56 minutes. Some fine work by Quentin Hosey resulted in him whipping in a cross from the left that Maurice Kinsella flicked on but the ball zipped menacingly past the far post, much to the relief of Daniel Gaynor in the Fassaroe net.
This Carnew side are a very inexperienced one, with most players looking likely to struggle to get served in an off-license and this youthfulness told at stages. When older, wiser heads would have used gamesmanship to eat up precious minutes, the young guns were constantly operating at full speed.
And their naivety cost them in the end when Graney landed the all important killing blow with 12 minutes remaining. Walsh's punt was headed off Kinsella and in a flash Graney had been released and this time the Fassaroe hot-shot kept his cool to squeeze home a low effort past Walsh.
Carnew United tried desperately to salvage a point; changing to a more attacking formation for the remaining minutes but they returned home with nothing to show for their courageous efforts.
That win allows Fassaroe to leapfrog Avonmore FC B into fifth and they keep to within five points of joint leaders Fairwood Celtic and Shamrock Celtic. Carnew United's ambitions are a lot more modest. They still languish down in 11th spot but they should set their sights on catching MK Dons and winning the 'best of the rest' category.
Top Form: Steven Byrne (Carnew United): Superb showing from the centre half. Didn't put a foot wrong.
1. Daniel Gaynor, 2. James Johnson, 3. Cathal Doyle, 4. Sean McAteer, 5. Ger Watters (Booked), 6. Willy Cox, 7. Allen Harris, 8. Darren Devlin, 9. Adam Moorehouse, 10. Stephen McGrain, 11. John Graney. SUB: Scott O'Neill for Graney (71). Not used: Stephen O'Neill, Scott Meaney, Pearce Devitt.
1. Mark Walsh, 2. Robert Moules, 3. Mick Doyle, 4. Steven Byrne, 5. Jack Kearney (Booked), 6. Jonathan Smith, 7. Lee Molloy, 8. Jimmy Davis, 9. Robert Young, 10. Maurice Kinsella, 11. Quentin Hosey. SUB: Martin Doyle for Hosey (72). Not used: Matt Eude.
VENUE: Fassaroe Community Centre
REFEREE: Mick Quinn