Newmarket 4 Strand 2 NEWMARKET showed plenty of class and resolve to overcome a two-goal deficit and eventually beat Strand United 4-2 in Newmarket on Tuesday evening. In a repeat of the President's Cup final, Newmarket went into the game with a slim chance of promotion and had to hope Ballincollig would slip up against Lakewood.
The home side were caught cold with the first attack of the game when Alan Vaughan broke down the right, he unleashed a powerful effort that flew past Niall O'Connor in the Newmarket goal. Newmarket immediately looked for a reply and had two glorious chances, firstly the ball broke to Eddie Allen but his effort was cleared off the line. Seanie O'Connor then broke down the right side of the Strand defence, his cross looped over the Strand keeper but it rattled the crossbar and was cleared to safety.
Newmarket were unlucky to still be trailing but it got worse when Strand doubled their advantage, an ambitious high ball was launched into the Newmarket defence and following a mix up David Gaffney latched onto the break and calmly lobbed the helpless O'Connor in goal.
Newmarket have shown plenty of character to overturn deficit's this season and this game was no different.
John O'Callaghan was first to get Newmarket back into the tie when he ran onto a Shane Murphy flick on and beat Foley in the Strand goal with a lovely finish.
Soon after it was all square, this time it was Shane Murphy who capitalised as he was sent through on goal by TJ Bodie. His first effort came back off the post but he got the luck the move deserved to finish calmly at the second time of asking.
Newmarket were now bossing the tie and finished off a great first half by taking the lead. The ball was sent into the Strand box, Brian O'Riordan shot and when his first effort came back off a team mate he had a second chance to shoot and easily beat the Strand keeper.
Newmarket killed the game off soon into the second half when John O'Callaghan was sent through the Strand defence and he stayed calm to beat the keeper first time. Strand had their only chance to work their way back into the game when Vaughan dribbled his way into the Newmarket box and was one on one with O'Connor but his effort was excellently saved.
The home side restricted Strand to long range efforts from here on out and held on for the three points. However the win wasn't enough as Ballincollig beat Lakewood 3-1 and secured promotion with their final game against Newmarket left to play.
NEWMARKET: Niall O'Connor, Tj Bodie, Kevin O'Connor, Colin O'Sullivan, Nicky Flanagan, Eddie Allen, Tim Murphy, Brian O'Riordan, Seanie F O'Connor, Shane Murphy, John O'Callaghan. Subs: Trevor Murphy for Colin O'Sullivan, Timmy O'Keeffe for Eddie Allen, Vinny Molloy for Seanie O'Connor.
STRAND: Charlie Foley, Jessie O'Regan, Michael Barren, Mickey Foley, James Driscoll, David Gaffney, Richard Long, Alan Vaughan, Shane Buckley, James Buckley, Padraig Murphy. Subs: Ciaran O'Connor, Terry Ryan.