Sunday 25 August 2019

Five-star Swords don't break sweat

PJ Murray

Swords Celtic cruised into the second round of the Metropolitan Cup with a facile 5-0 win at home to Drogheda Town on Sunday afternoon.

Swords Celtic 5 Drogheda Town 0

The game was in serious doubt thanks to the weather, but an early pitch inspection on Sunday allayed any fears of a late abandonment.

The opening 15 minutes, however, was played in quite a lethargic fashion, as both sides started like they hadn't fully expected the game to go ahead.

Some instructions from the Swords sideline injected some pace into the game and the hosts quickly got on top.

Sean Gonzalez should have opened the scoring on five minutes when a ball from the wing was perfectly placed for the midfielder, but he lifted his shot too high and it hit the crossbar and the post.

Normally utilised as a right-back, Owen Jones was playing in an advanced position on the right wing as part of an attacking trio and it paid dividends as he bagged a hat-trick.

His first came on 25 minutes when he cut in from the wing and curled a shot into the far corner to give Swords a deserved lead.

Division 1B outfit Town had travelled to Balheary with a very young side - half of their starting XI aged 18 or younger - and they struggled to impose themselves on the game.

They did test Cian Daly twice in the first half, but the keeper was more than able to deal with the shots.

The hosts doubled their lead when Barry Caulfield slipped a ball through to Jones who buried his effort and Swords took a two-goal lead into the break.

Jones' third came early in the second half and it was a spectacular strike. A cross from the left saw the forward turn his body and connect with an overhead kick which had the keeper completely wrong-footed.

With a three-goal cushion Swords were moving the ball around with confidence, while Town dropped more players behind the ball in an attempt to limit the score.

The visitors' best chances of pulling a goal back looked to be coming from set pieces, but they could only force two corners and those were easily dealt with.

Jones turned provider for the fourth goal mid-way through the second half when he created space on the right and whipped in a cross for Barry Caulfield to finish, thus repaying the earlier assist from his fellow strike partner.

Sean Gonzalez completed the rout late on with his fifth goal as the midfielder made a run into the box, allowing him to receive a pass and finish from close range.

This result confirms an upturn in fortunes at Balheary as it's now back-to-back wins for Swords who didn't have a game the previous week.

It's back to league action for Niall Hudson's men this week as they travel to face St Francis on Friday night and they will be hoping to keep the winning streak going.

Whether the manager continues with Jones in a more advanced role following his impressive display on Sunday will be interesting to see.

Fingal Independent