Ten-man Swords well worth the point
TEN-MAN Swords earned a valuable point in their promotion chase on Sunday against third-place Templeogue.
Swords have struggled to put back-to-back wins together - they ran out 5-0 winners last Wednesday over bottom side CYM Terenure - but they now know their fate is in their own hands as they no longer have to play any of the top sides.
Injury forced Gerry Gossan to rely on Swords' U-17 keeper Martin Kowalczyk between the sticks, but the youngster made a seamless transition to the Senior side.
Ten minutes into the game Mark Gibson strove forward before unleashing a 35-yard drive at goal which rifled into the top corner, leaving the United keeper with no chance.
Five minutes following that, all the euphoria from the goal was to evaporate as Gibson went in on a 50/50 ball and the referee brandished a red card.
Things went from bad to worse as Robbie Farrell, only really returned from injury, picked up a knock and was forced off, and this was quickly followed by the enforced change of Barry Caulfield as Swords had used two of their subs in the first 30 minutes.
Templeogue levelled when a sliced clearance fell to a United striker who would have been offside were it not for the back-pass, and although Kowalczyk came to close him down the striker slipped a ball underneath him into the net.
The young keeper did pull off some fantastic saves as the momentum of game swung back and forth.
Despite being a man down Swords didn't drop off and they actually pushed for the lead goal. Inspired by Jordan Nolan they hit the front when he took a quick free and raced into position to get the return pass. He then beat two players into the box and deftly chipped the keeper to make it 2-1.
With 85 minutes on the clock the visitors equalised in controversial circumstances when a free into the box saw the defence push out, leaving the strikers exposed in an offside position in Swords' view, but the referee didn't blow as as a Templeogue player toe-poked the ball into the net.
With time up Jordan Nolan almost won it for Swords. Stephen Walsh released the makeshift striker and he beat the cover, only to be denied by a brilliant save from the visiting keeper.
Swords have seven games left and will be playing both Wednesday and Sunday for the remainder of the season.
Swords Celtic: Martin Kowalczyk, Adam Hanley, Niall Hudson, Bernard Smith, Keith O'Reilly, Stephen Walsh, Mark Gibson, Jordan Nolan, Anto White, Barry Caulfield (Andrew Timmons), Robbie Farrell (Adam Hanley).