Role of Dyas is crucial in Duleek's shock victory
Soccer: NEFL Premier Division
Karl Dyas popped up with a crucial goal that could have repercussions at both ends of the Premier table as Duleek dealt a severe blow to Newfoundwell's title hopes at the MDL Astro on Sunday afternoon.
Newfoundwell 0 Duleek 1
The 'Well were confident of taking maximum points from this fixture and the upcoming return game in Duleek to take a big step towards a maiden league crown, but with a home Leinster Junior Cup quarter-final to come against Sheriff YC next weekend there was no sign of the bottom club being distracted by that big knockout tie.
There was an early scare for Duleek in the second minute when John Kermode went through on goal for the Drogheda club, but he fired wide of the Duleek goal and it proved to be a costly miss.
The next chance also went to the 'Well when Tom Reilly's in-swinging corner picked out Stephen Murphy, but he completely fluffed his attempted header under no real pressure.
Duleek's goal, which came after barely 10 minutes, was a disaster from Newfoundwell's point of view as home keeper Keith Martin rolled the ball out to Kevin Bull who took a couple of touches before passing to defensive colleague Gaz Smith.
However, pressure came on the right-back from Duleek's Karl Dyas who managed to dispossess him and curl the ball into the top corner of Martin's net from 18 yards.
This seemed to settle the away team as Newfoundwell started pushing forward and looked to catch out the Duleek defence with long, diagonal balls. The home team created a few chances and the Kermode brothers John and Brian both had opportunities in the first half to draw the game level. However, they found the Duleek back four in defiant mood.
The second half started at a lively pace as ex Newfoundwell men Cormac Reid and Eoghan Mulroy continued to find space in a compact midfield area.
The home team's best chance of the game came in the last 15 minutes when substitute Carl Brannigan's shot was brilliantly parried by Keith Carolan. John Kermode latched onto the rebound with a volley that looked destined for the net, only for Carolan to react and somehow turn the shot over the bar. Duleek had the chance to wrap the points up when Jamie O'Leary's run saw him get the better of the Newfoundwell centre-half, but his shot was saved by the feet of Martin in the Newfoundwell goal.
In the end Duleek showed great determination not to give their points up cheaply and hung on for all three points, a result that lifts them off the foot of the table. With games in hand, they should be able to pick up enough points to move away from the relegation zone.
Among Duleek's best players were Reid, Jamie Flaherty and Robbie Daly, but their man of the match was Carolan who pulled off some top-class saves.
NEWFOUNDWELL: Keith Martin, Gaz Smith (Roy Kierans), Adam O'Connor, Kevin Bull, Stephen Murphy, Dean Carolan, Tom Reilly (Carl Brannigan), Brian Kermode, Craig O'Connor (Ross Reid), John Kermode, Ciaran Carroll.
• Duleek 2nds still harbour hopes of denying their Newfoundwell counterparts the Premier Reserve title after defeating Johnstown 5-1 on Saturday with goals from Shane Murray, Cormac McGroggan, Caelan Duff, Joey Martin and Rangel Maia.