Dramatic win eases Swords' drop fears
Senior Division Sunday: Portmarnock 1 Swords Celtic 2
Two late goals helped Swords Celtic snatch all three points as Portmarnock fell to their first home defeat of the season on Sunday morning.
The home side were left scratching their heads after the game, having dominated the game for long spells. However, a number of squandered chances ensured Swords remained in the game and their never-say-die spirit was rewarded late on with two goals in the final 15 minutes, which helps ease their relegation worries.
Porto came into the game keen to maintain their unbeaten home record and they looked up for it from the start, with Whelehan and Noel McGinty bossing the midfield area early on.
The hosts' excellent start yielded results almost immediately, with the opening goal arriving after just four minutes. Porto were awarded a free kick 25 yards out from goal which was expertly curled into the top corner by winger Barry Caulfield.
Willie O'Leary's side could have doubled their advantage just two minutes later had Sam O'Connor not snatched at a great chance inside the penalty area.
Swords Celtic were really under the cosh throughout the first half and they had the crossbar to thank on the half-hour mark when the ball cannoned back off the woodwork after Caulfield's chip looked destined to double his side's lead.
The pressure from Porto was relentless now and five minutes before the break they created yet another excellent opportunity which was once again missed.
This time it was the excellence of Swords keeper Stephen Trimble which kept the score at 1-0 as he got down smartly to tip Chris Burgess' shot around the post.
There was still time for one last chance of the half as Raoui Lassoued found himself through on goal with only the keeper to beat. Lassoued opted to square the ball rather than shoot and that proved the wrong option as Craig D'Arcy got back to deny Sam O'Connor with a last-ditch tackle.
That proved to be the final action of a first half which was dominated by the hosts, and Swords would have been happy to go in just one goal down.
The visitors came out for the second half and began to find their rhythm and put pressure on the home defence.
The game was a lot more even now and Porto knew they needed a second goal to kill off Swords.
Chris Burgess almost got it with a snap shot from inside the box, but once again he was denied by Trimble who pulled off a decent save.
With 15 minutes remaining Swords were given a lifeline when the referee awarded them a controversial penalty after a Porto defender was adjudged to have handled in the box.
Porto protested, but their pleas fell on deaf ears as Johnny Lyons stepped up to make it 1-1 from the spot.
Portmarnock began to take risks late on as they searched for that elusive second goal, but they were hit on the break with five minutes to go as Lyons leapt higher than anyone to head home the winner from inside the penalty box to spark big celebrations from the visitors.
It was a tough loss for Portmarnock but a crucial victory for Swords who move clear of the bottom two as they continue their battle against relegation.
Portmarnock: Brian Kane, Philip Rusk, Sean Murphy, Gareth Whelan, Robert Gaul, Barry Caulfield (James Rice), Noel McGinty, Ray Whelehan, Raoui Lassoued (Graham Rusk), Sam O'Connor, Chris Burgess.
Swords Celtic: Stephen Trimble, Adam Boulton (Jamie Hanly), Craig D'Arcy, Johnny Lyons, Gavin Nolan, Andrew Bermingham (Sean Kelly), Eoin Jones, Andrew Timmins, Jack McGlade (Anthony Burke), Stephen Breen (Evan Kelly), Gavin Smith (Stephen Blake).