Five-star Manor put battling Rush boys to Sword
SWORDS Manor gave a five-star performance to continue their impressive start to the season with a victory over Rush Athletic at St Catherine's Park on Saturday.
The visitors, who had no fewer than five different goal-scorers on the day, started sluggishly but clicked into gear in prolific fashion, producing a burst of four goals in the second half to condemn Rush to their first league defeat.
Sean Fullam's venomous strike from outside the box almost gave Rush an early lead, but Swords keeper Eoin Cantwell pushed his shot around the post for a corner.
Rush won a series of early set pieces but were frustrated by a resolute Swords defence, in particular centre half Valarian Anang who marshalled his area with assured composure.
Indeed, both sets of defenders were on top in a tentative first half. Rush's Immanuael Mbikakeu and Liam Monks were very commanding at the heart of their back-line, while keeper Peter Groome made some fine saves throughout the game.
But while Sean Fullam and David Udoh's probing failed to yield a score for Rush, Patrick Mangan broke the deadlock when he steered a Leo Ormond cross past Groome's despairing dive.
Michael Gozie's strike gave Swords a two-goal cushion from virtually the first attack of the second half and thereafter followed some delightful passages of sharp, one-touch passing, the majority coming from the Swords lads.
David Udoh gave Rush a lifeline with a screamer from the edge of the penalty area, but at the other end Swords restored their two-goal lead when Andrew Horan profited from a great solo run and cross to squeeze a shot between the upright and the fingertips of the unfortunate Groome.
Rush captain Conor Murphy rallied his troops and led by example when forcing a corner on 31 minutes.
Straight from the training ground, the home side produced a beautifully constructed move involving a sublime one-two, before Udoh curled a viscious shot into the top corner to bag his second of the contest.
At 3-2 and with eight minutes left the match was on a knife-edge, but with Udoh's great strike still at the forefront of spectators' minds Swords broke away swiftly to score again.
This time Matthew Redmond's deflected shot ended up in the back of the net following some crisp passing in the build-up.
In a breath-taking finish to the game, Ryan Stirrat forced a save from replacement keeper Somto Agbaje in the Swords goal, but another lightning attack gave the Swords boys some breathing space as Leo Ormond coolly slotted home a Ben Murphy pass to seal all three points for the Manor.
Manager James Ryan was satisfied with his team's performance and he attributed Swords' win to positional discipline and a quick passing game. They have won all four league matches to date.
However, Johnny Fullam's Rush squad showed enough in thsi match to suggest that they will be a difficult team to beat as their league campaign progresses.
Rush Athletic: Peter Groome, Daniel Martin, Christopher Dignam, Liam Monks, Daniel Redmond, Conor Murphy, Sam O'Brien David Udoh, Sean Fullam, Ryan Stirrat, Immanuel Mbikakeu.
Swords Manor: Eoin Cantwell, Andrew Horan, Anrai Poole, Ben Murphy, Patrick Mangan, Somto Agbaje, Matthew Redmond, Leo Ormond, Sam Cummins, Michael Gozie, Valerian Anang.
Referee: Sonia Russell.