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leonard brace fires boys clear

WOODLAWN FC.................. 2

BALSCADDEN BOYS............. 3

TABLE TOPPERS Balscadden Boys and Woodlawn FC went head to head at Sportslink on Saturday morning in a five goal thriller and showed exactly why they are the top two in the NDSL Under 7A1 standings.

A superb match provided some top quality entertainment. Skill levels were excellent, there were chances galore, some very good performances and action that never stopped for a moment. The eighteen players on show had certainly left nothing to spare at the end of a wonderful contest.

In the end the victory spoils went to the visitors and league leaders Balscadden Boys by virtue of a 3-2 scoreline, thus avenging the 3-0 loss they had suffered at the hands of Woodlawn on their own ground last month.

It had all looked so rosy for Balscadden barely a minute into the second half when they found themselves 3-0 ahead, but Woodlawn showed superb fighting spirit to pull two goals back and leave the outcome hanging in the balance right until referee Mark Connor blew the final whistle.

Balscadden were ahead after just two minutes as Andrew Ludlow played a clever one-two with skipper Alan Leonard before shooting home to an empty net.

It was a lightening start to a half that saw the action flow from end to end. Back came Woodlawn and Jack Power saw a shot just wide, while at the other end Jason Popa saved at the feet of Ludlow.

Then Ludlow turned provider for Leonard who was denied by a great stop from Popa before Luke Mitchell shot wide moments later.

Midway through the half Gavin O'Brien set up Power, whose shot across the face of goal was somehow cleared to safety by Peadar Tallon, while three minutes later a flowing move involving O'Brien and Adam O'Connor eventually saw Power fire his shot against the upright.

Ludlow thought he was in for a second soon after, but Popa pushed his shot around the post. The impressive O'Brien showed his skill with a fantastic run from deep inside his own half, only to see his shot from eight yards out hit the side netting.

It looked like a single goal would separate the sides at the break, but with the last kick of the half Mitchell's well struck corner ricocheted off an unfortunate Woodlawn player and nestled in the back of the net for 2-0.

A minute into the second half Balscadden were 3-0 up as their top scorer Leonard -- who was always a danger -- chipped the ball home to an empty net from outside the area.

But any thoughts that the game was over were quickly dispelled by the home side, who made a concerted effort to get back into the game.

O'Brien set up Cormac Meehan, who shot across the face of goal and inches wide. The number ten did so again minutes later, while in the 26th minute O'Brien's cracking shot looked destined for the back of the net only to come crashing off the crossbar.

Then Liam Fallon, at the other end, kept his side in the game, producing a perfectly timed block to deny Ludlow a certain goal.

Woodlawn, having had so many good chances in that second half, must have thought it wasn't going to be their day. But two goals in the space of as many minutes changed that.

Meehan made it 3-1 scoring from the tightest of angles in the 29th minute, while they were celebrating again less than two minutes later. Power fed O'Connor whose shot was blocked but Meehan reacted first to shoot home for his second and leave his side trailing by just one.

But the home side couldn't complete what would've been a remarkable comeback. Instead Ludlow and Leonard could have given Balscadden a bigger cushion, but saw their efforts saved.

However, both sides should take tremendous pride after what was a compelling contest.

WOODLAWN FC: Jason Popa, Aaron Walsh, Cormac Meehan, Jack Power (Captain), Gavin O'Brien, David Quigley, Adam O'Connor, Liam Fallon. Managers: Richie Power, Raymond O'Connor.

BALSCADDEN BOYS: Valentino Farrell, Peadar Tallon, Eoin Brooks, Luke Mitchell, Andrew Lee, Babatunde Salako, Sean Kissane, Alan Leonard (Captain), Liam Brennan, Andrew Ludlow, Ross Lyons. Managers: Alton Dicken, John Leonard.

Referee: Mark Connor.