Sunday 18 March 2018

Derby spoils go North as home side rue late misses

Brian Baneham

GLEBE North survived a second-half onslaught against local rivals Balbriggan to maintain their 100% record at the top of the Under-14B table, in a thrilling finish at St Molaga's last week.

In a typically frenetic derby, two goals either side of the half-time interval gave Glebe a 3-0 lead, having gone ahead through a Jonathan Grassi screamer on 17 minutes.

However, Balbriggan scrapped their way back to 3-2 and came desperately close to an equaliser when David Bell's shot came off the post in the final few minutes.

Bell had pulled his side back into the game eight minutes after the break, finishing a great move down the right. A quick throw-in from Adam Mohan found Jack Casey free by the endline and he drove a low cross to Bell who stylishly tapped home from close range.

It was no more than Balbriggan deserved at that point, having penned the visitors into their own half for the majority of the previous 20 minutes, but Glebe's Graham Thomas, Daniel Talabi and Jonathan Grassi were unyielding at the back.

Grassi's goal, to give Glebe the lead, was an absolute gem. It came after a long throw from the right was headed away by Balbriggan's Carl Sullivan and fell nicely to the feet of the elegant centre-half who, not standing on ceremony, blasted an unstoppable shot past David Forde in goal for the home team.

On the stroke of half-time, Alan Arkins' Glebe were 2-0 up when Graham Thomas' perfectly weighted through-ball fell to the advancing Eunis Lievins who made no mistake with a powerful shot.

Lievins turned provider for Glebe's third just after the half-time cup of tea, when he split Balbriggan's defence with a slide-rule pass to the quick-fire Yonus Weakliam who slotted it past the sprawling dive of David Forde.

But five minutes later Bell struck with a cool finish to make it 3-1, which instigated the Balbriggan revival, and when Shaun Ryan expertly found the net from a spot kick it looked like Balbriggan were going to pull a draw out of the fire - and they very nearly did.

Frank Forde's Balbriggan side were awarded a free on the left following a poor tackle by one of Glebe's defenders. Jack Casey's long, searching delivery broke invitingly to David Bell, but his prodded effort struck the bottom of the post and went agonisingly wide.

Glebe managed to keep their slender lead intact in a hectic last few minutes, with Jonathan Grassi and Abdul Beshir clearing the danger on several occasions as Balbriggan pressed for an equaliser.

But the visitors survived in what was a gripping finale to the contest, and they remain on top of the table with an impressive seven league wins from seven.

Balbriggan: David Forde, Adam Mohan, Carl Sullivan, James Byrne, Jack Casey, Shaun Ryan, Craig Toland, Luke Dunne, Tige Boyne, David Bell, Haso Beharic, Ciaran Traynor.

Glebe North: Craig Keogh, Graham Thomas, Jonathan Grassi, Abudi Beshir, Eunis Lievins, Aaron Corcoran, Paddy Mc Cabe, Dyllons Lyons, Yonas Weakliam, Harry Maguire, Michael Orimolade, Ryan Campbell, Junior Akande.

Referee: Willy Scully (Skerries)

Fingal Independent