Tuesday 24 October 2017

Alarm bells ring as Mals are hit for six

Bluebell United 6 Malahide United 0

Paul Byrne

Malahide face a battle to preserve their top-flight status following their heaviest defeat of the season against high flying Bluebell. A second half collapse saw Pierce Walsh's charges concede six goals to leave them perilously close to the relegation zone.

Walshe believes his side need ten points from their remaining six games to avoid the drop and he will need to call upon all his managerial skills to get his side back on track. It's been a tough few weeks for the North Dublin side losing their captain Dylan Cashin to emigration as well as losing highly regarded goalkeeper Ben Kelly to Dundalk. There has also been a glut of injuries which have seen Malahide struggle recently as they continue to slide down the table.

Sunday's opponents Bluebell arrived in Malahide on the back of a good run which has seen them move up to third in the table following just one defeat in their previous nine games. They also ran League of Ireland side St Patricks Athletic close in last week's EA Sports tie losing by just a solitary goal. Having played poorly in last week's 0-0 draw against Drumcondra, Malahide were much better midweek as they held fourth placed Cherry Orchard to a 1-1 draw which gave them a big confident boost coming into this game.

And Pierce Walsh's men started this game well looking lively early on with Ciaran McGahon and Darren Craven causing the Bluebell defence trouble early on albeit without really testing their goalkeeper. The first real chance of the game came midway through the first half as an Alan O'Sullivan lay off was picked up by Ciaran McGahon whose fierce shot was well saved by the Bluebell goalkeeper. Five minutes later Malahide once again almost broke the deadlock as a Darren Craven free-kick whistled just past the far post. That was the last real action of the opening half and it was a case of so far so good for the home side who looked the more dangerous team for the most part. But that was all about to change as the Malahide collapse began just two minutes into the second period.

Shane Stritch opened the scoring with a fine low shot from just inside the box which left young Dylan Fitzpatrick with no chance in the Malahide goals. Although it was a setback Malahide were still in this game at that point but they suffered another blow just two minutes later as Carl Russell doubled Bluebell's lead with an effort from close range. It was all downhill for Malahide after that as Bluebell continued to pour it on as they went in for the kill. With half an hour remaining Malahide conceded a third as Gareth Cooney headed home powerfully to put the game beyond the visitors.

Further goals from David Scully and a brace from Steven Larkin completed a 6-0 rout as Malahide were left to lick their wounds following their heaviest defeat of the season. Next up for Malahide is a crucial match against the bottom side Tolka Rovers on Friday evening and it's a match you would think Pierce Walsh's men must win. Given the tight nature of the league a win on Friday evening could conceivably see Malahide jump from 10th up to 7th so it's not all doom and gloom for Walsh's men. First though they must ensure they bounce back from this confidence draining six goal defeat.

Malahide: Dylan Fitzpatrick, Mark Brennan, Gareth Craven, Gary Kenna, Ian O'Reilly, David Fallon, Timmy Doherty, Killian Timmins, Ciaran McGahon, Alan O'Sullivan, Darren Craven. Subs: Karl Melling for Gary Kenna, Darren Doyle for Ciaran McGahon.

Fingal Independent