TEN-MAN Glebe North came within a hair's breadth of pulling off an unlikely victory over a strong Phoenix side and were still happy to claim a point at Market Green last Friday night.
The new-look Balbriggan side made a hugely encouraging start and deservedly went ahead after 25 minutes when Austin McCann converted a penalty after Keith Murray had been taken down following a through-ball from Noel Barrett. Glebe's inexperience showed coming up to the interval, however, as they sat back too deep and invited Phoenix forward, resulting in an equalising goal for John Brophy right on the stroke of half-time.
The match seemed to take another twist in favour of the visitors on 51 minutes when Keith Richardson's wild challenge on a defender after he'd cleared the ball earned him a red card, but Glebe's 10 men defended valiantly to ensure that keeper Ciaran Bizzell didn't have a save to make over the next 40 minutes. And when Barrett got on the end of a pass from substitute Rory O'Connor to find the Phoenix net in the first minute of stoppage time, Glebe looked odds-on to pick up three precious points. However, there was one final twist as Phoenix forced a corner in the 93rd minute, from which they snatched an equaliser. Manager Liam Kelly was far from downhearted, though, as he reflected afterwards on the outcome. 'We would like to have won the game, but would have taken a point before it started,' he summised. 'In fairness they had all the play after we had Keith sent off and I had no complaint about the red card. He had got booked just before that and I was going to sub him.
I had sent Rory O'Connor to warm up and was going to make the change. 'But it was a really good game between two sides who tried to play football and I was proud as punch of the players, the way they defended and then broke forward to get the goal, even though Phoenix got the equaliser right at the end.' Glebe face a testing examination tomorrow evening (Wednesday) at 7.45 when they host early leaders Mount Merrion who are the only team still with a 100% record in the Senior Division. GLEBE NORTH: Ciaran Bizzell, Jason Rankin, Reece McEnteer, Darren McCann, Ryan Thorpe, Noel Barrett, Stephen Chambers (Rory O'Connor), Pat Campbell, Keith Richardson, Austin McCann, Keith Murray.