Thursday 19 January 2017

Title in the bag for super Slane

Published 09/04/2014 | 05:28

SLANE Wanderers survived a late fightback from fellow challengers Albion Rovers to secure the Under-10 Division title in a thrilling contest played on Sunday morning.

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SLANE Wanderers survived a late fightback from fellow challengers Albion Rovers to secure the Under-10 Division title in a thrilling contest played on Sunday morning.

Victory for Albion would have given them a chance of catching Slane at the top of the table, but the Meath side were in no mood to surrender their proud 100% record and a cracker of a game ensued, with the intense exchanges reminiscent of a cup final.

Slane played the first half with a strong wind behind them and they showed why they were top of the table by pinning Albion back in their own half. However, the Monasterboice side were holding firm at this stage, with Aaron Smith proving to be a rock at the heart of their defence.

Eventually, though, the Slane pressure told and they went ahead with a long-distance shot.

As the half wore on, Albion started to threaten the Slane goal, with Brandon Arnold up front showing some great hold-up play to allow the Albion midfielders to get into attacking positions, but the match firmly swung Slane's way just before the break when a goalmouth scramble following a corner resulted in one of their players poking the ball into the net for a two-goal lead at half-time.

Albion Rovers came out for the second half with the wind now behind them and they were determined to show the form that secured them second place in the league. Right from the start they attacked Slane at every opportunity, but despite winning a series of corners and coming close to pulling a goal back, it was Slane who got what ultimately proved to be the decisive goal after another well-worked set piece was finished at the back post.

Despite being three goals down, Albion had the resolve to up their game to another level and it wasn't long before Sean Connaughton applied the finishing touch to a move started by Liam Gaffney in his own half.

Albion now piled the pressure on Slane, and mid-way through the half the now-dominant midfield of Liam Gaffney and Sean Connaughton combined with striker Thomas Murray in a flowing passing move that tore the Slane defence open and ended with Thomas Murray sweeping the ball into the net - 3-2.

For the last 10 minutes the game was end-to-end, with Albion bursting forward through Tadhg Plunkett and Joseph Amoah, who both won big tackles in their own half before taking the ball the length of the pitch into the Slane penalty box - only to be thwarted by superb goalkeeping and committed defending by Slane.

With Albion trying desperately to score an equaliser, at the other end of the pitch goalkeeper Daniel Harmon put on a superb display of safe handling and sheer courage,y bravely diving at the feet of Slane forwards to halt several of their breakaways.

In the end the clock was Albion's enemy and Slane celebrated winning the league, but the Monasterboice boys deserve great credit for their comeback and by 'winning the second half' every member of the team played their part in a truly entertaining and captivating performance from both teams.

Albion Rovers: Daniel Harmon, Tadhg Plunkett, Aaron Smith, Joseph Amoah, Liam Gaffney, Sean Connaughton, Thomas Murray, Brandon Arnold.

Drogheda Independent

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