Monday 15 October 2018

Leaders' agony as Kermode strikes

North East football league - Boyne Harps 1 Newfoundwell 2

All eyes were on United Park last Thursday evening as two of the NEFL Premier title contenders went into battle - and the bragging rights ultimately went to Newfoundwell.

Danny Gartland's still-unbeaten charges came from behind to snatch all three points, but they were pushed right to the wire by a Boyne Harps side who retain top spot in the table - albeit with more games played.

In the first half it was Harps who had the edge and their best scoring opportunity arrived on the quarter-hour mark when Stephen Carter skied the ball over the bar from six yards.

Long-range efforts from Mickey Matthews and Tom Reilly flew wide and high respectively, while at the other end keeper Ryan Brown had very little to do.

The 0-0 stalemate remained going into the half-time break, but the second period was a more evenly contested affair as Newfoundwell raised their game.

Nevertheless, it was Boyne Harps - playing veteran Manny Smith as a lone forward - who eventually broke the deadlock on 55 minutes when Nathan Llewellyn teed up Carter for a close-range finish, atoning for his earlier miss.

Gartland and joint manager Paul Crowley responded by making changes, bringing on the likes of John Kermode, and just past the hour mark they got back on level terms, albeit in fortuitous circumstances.

A corner kick was cleared before being returned wide to the same corner, from where the second ball in was sliced into his own net by the luckless Reilly.

Newfoundwell weren't about to settle for a point and they went in search of a winner to boost their title credentials, and the all-important goal arrived on the 75-minute mark.

Harps' Austin McCann, who was arguably man of the match alongside his centre-half colleague Luke McDonnell, tried to shepherd the ball out of play, but the ever-alert Cormac Reid dispossessed him near the line and went off on a superb run before crossing for Brian Kermode who got in front of his marker to fire past keeper Ryan Brown.

Now it was Harps' turn to chase the game and they gave the 'Well some anxious moments in the latter stages, notably when Carter got another sight of goal but was denied by an excellent save from the visitors' keeper Ronan Brown.

Harps will look to increase their lead at the top when they host last season's champions Muirhevnamor in United Park this Thursday, while Newfoundwell welcome Rivervalley Rangers to DIFE in the FAI Junior Cup on Sunday.

BOYNE HARPS: Ryan Brown, Kevin Walsh, Austin McCann, Luke McDonnell, James Traynor, Tom Reilly, Mickey Matthews (Carl Dowling), Stephen Carter, Nathan Llewellyn, Alan Wilton (Darren McCann), Manny Smith. Subs not used: Dean Fitzpatrick, Chris McDonnell, Alan Sweeney, David Woods.

NEWFOUNDWELL: Ronan Brown, Stephen Murphy (Daryl McDonagh), Paddy O'Boyle, Kevin Bull, Alan Murphy, Brian Kermode (Ross Reid), Conor Brannigan (John Kermode), Ryan Connor (Adam O'Connor), Cormac Reid, Ian Devine.

Newfoundwell's second string continue to set the pace in the Premier Reserve division after extending their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-0 victory over OMP United.

Drogheda Independent