Rock-ed Harps bounce back to take points
North East Football League: Boyne Harps 2-1 Rock Celtic
Boyne Harps began the business end of the season in exactly the way which they would have wanted, picking up all three points at home to Rock Celtic.
Despite dominating, Wayne Wright's side had to do it the hard way and come from behind. But with the first of two potential title-deciding fixtures against Trim Celtic on the horizon the Drogheda side needed a win.
The United Park-based side played a friendly early last week against Drogheda Town to mark Robbie Horgan stepping down as Town manager, but Harps appeared sharp and Ryan Connor almost scored inside the opening two minutes.
He smashed the crossbar with a powerful effort from a corner, an early warning for Rock.
On eight minutes Cormac McGroggan raced down the right wing, beating two defenders to the byeline, before cutting back to the penalty spot and letting fly. Unfortunately for the midfielder the man-of-the-match happened to be the Rock keeper who pulled off the first of what would be many fantastic saves.
Danny Coyle smashed a shot from the edge of the box, only to see it tipped over the bar by the big keeper. Killian Brennan tried his luck twice, only to fail to hit the target, but Harps were certainly knocking on the door.
Rock's two attackers were full of pace and always posed a threat and on the half-hour mark a mistake in defence was duly punished and the visitors took the lead very much against the run of play.
Jason Lowney was standing in for Ronan Brown who picked up an injury during the week, but there wasn't anything he could do to prevent the goal.
This prompted a swift and decisive response from Wright's team. Martin Kelly controlled the ball about 40 yards out and stepped forward to hit a dipping screamer from 30 yards and level the game.
Kelly could have had his and Harp's second minutes later when McGroggan squared a pass to him and from four yards out at the back post he threw his left boot at it and sent it wide.
The final game before the break saw Harps dominate Parkvilla in a similar fashion, only to finish on the wrong side of a 1-0 result, and they could be forgiven for feeling some déjà vu.
Harps started the second half well and went close, but Rock began to frustrate the hosts. Brennan slipped through Rob Cashman and he failed to beat the onrushing Rock keeper.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men when Ronan Sands was dimissed for a second yellow card and with less than ten minutes left Harps snatched a winner when James Traynor crossed from the left. At the back post, Danny Coyle headed back across goal and Ryan Connor rifled a very sweetly struck volley into the top corner from 12 yards.
From there the United Park side could have extended their lead, but they were thwarted again by the efforts of the Rock keeper.
Boyne Harps: Jason Lowney; Darren McCann, Manny Smith, Kevin Walsh, James Traynor, Killian Brennan (Kevin Thornton), Danny Coyle, Ryan Connor, Rob Cashman, Martin Kelly (James Burke), Cormac McGrogan (Kyle Molloy).
Rock Celtic: John Rogers, Gerry Lennon, Ed Maguire, Paddy Reilly, Liam McDonnell, Liam O'Callaghan, Oisin Meegan, David Ward (Dessie McKeown), Ronan Sands, Reggie John, Kizito Ekwueme. Subs not used: Jason Quinn, David McGeough.