Rock suffer defeat at home to Kentstown
Bellurgan United 1
This had the feel of a relegation crunch match with the visitors in a slump and Bay propping up the table, with Duleek with one win and a total of four points, before Thursday night’s tussle at Rock Road.
Both badly needed a win and it was the hosts who managed that precious outcome that drags their opponents right into the mire with now five successive defeats, and the victors have closed the gap on them to two points with two games less played.
The Peninsula side had built up a fairly comfortable position, garnering nine points in the early part of the campaign, but they have sunk into a luckless run of form that was in evidence in this match, feeling aggrieved that Bay’s first two goals should have been ruled out for offside, certainly the first which broke the deadlock.
To compound their woes, Tadhg O’Connor fired a spot-kick over the crossbar in the second half when they had chances of perhaps redeeming something from the game, with a strong claim that a shot by the unlucky O’Connor crossed the home goalline.
However, Bay also wasted a penalty in first half injury-time which could have put them in a cruising position, 4-1 ahead.
Bay opened a two-goal lead in the first 10 minutes, with Sam Ezenwaka putting them ahead after only two minutes when played in by Alfonso Crespo .
Gavin Donnelly slotted home the rebound after Alan Dyas struck the post to make it 2-0.
Bellurgan came more into the game after that and tested ’keeper Seán Nolan from range and reduced the deficit 10 minutes from the break. Bay gave up possession in the middle of the park and Emmet Rogan fired an effort from 20 yards into the net
Bay restored their two-goal lead when Donnelly played Dyas in and the striker rounded a defender before firing home.
The home side had the chance to kill off the game in first half injury-time when Ezenwaka was hauled down in the box but the striker fired his penalty off the inside of the post and Bellurgan cleared their lines.
With just five minutes gone in the second half Bellurgan had a glorious opportunity to get right back into the tie when they were awarded a penalty. O’Connor stepped up but blazed the spot kick over the bar, much to the relief of Bay.
Bellurgan held the lion’s share of possession then but the stop-start nature of the half prevented them from getting any real momentum going with Bay’s defence remaining resolute.
In the dying moments, Conor Maguire broke through and lashed a strike against the post.
Bay: Seán Nolan, Andrew McDermott, Angelo Stanley, Clive Mtatwali, Alan Dyas, Sahnoon Buye, Stephen Woods, Shaun O’Connor, Alfonso Crespo, Gavin Donnelly, Sam Ezenwaka. Subs: Cornel Nazari, Brian McCloskey.
Bellurgan: Seán McGeough, Owen Armstrong, Colin Farrell, Seán McEvoy, John Smith, Luke Higgins, Conor Maguire, Conor Watters, Emmet Rogan, Alan O’Connor, Tadhg O’Connor. Subs: Seán Murden, Oliver McGuinness, Ryan Duffy, Joe Needham, Mark McArdle, Stephen Finnegan.
Rock Celtic 2
Kentstown Rovers 3
Rock are without a league win this season, and this more than anything has them flirting with relegation.
Once again, on Friday night, at Sandy Lane, they failed to build on a good result away from home, having accounted for title contenders Quay Celtic at Clancy Park in their last outing.
They also failed to sustain the impetus of an early lead, with Ronan Sands firing them ahead from the spot in the opening 15 minutes, surrendering control of the game in slack fashion.
They were punished for indecision near the midway point in the half as a ball rolled towards the endline. A Kentstown player nipped in to cross and a teammate, unchallenged, stooped low to head in the equaliser at the near post with a number of defenders in close attendance.
Soon after Rock lost influential striker Aaron Comerford when he had to retire due to injury. His replacement, Ronan Doherty, emerged as the home side’s best player from that juncture.
The sides were reduced to 10 men a few minutes from the end of normal time in the half after a general melee of which there were a couple in the opening 45 minutes. Jack Reid was the player to depart for the hosts.
They had still the better of the play and created the most of the scoring opportunities, but found themselves behind at the break as they made a lot of their own problems with the concession especially of needless free-kicks.
In the protracted period of stoppage time, a Kentstown player was allowed race free into the box, and Melvin Onu, who was one of a string of players booked, tackled him from behind inside the box and conceded a penalty which Kentstown converted to make it 2-1.
Onu remained on the field, but was hobbling and was forced to come off over the hour mark
Six minutes into the second half, Doherty’s pass released Kizito Ekwueme inside the box and his left footed shot eluded the goalkeeper inside the far post.
The decisive goal 13 minutes from time once again exposed Rock’s defensive frailties, as a visiting player easily got in behind their defence on the left. Conor McGowan averted the immediate danger at the expense of a corner. But from the resulting kick swung into the near post, a Kentstown player managed to get his head to the ball in the crowded goalmouth and find the net and secure all three points.
Rock: David Hayes, Liam McDonnell, Conor McGowan, Melvin Onu (Fergal Carroll 63), Brendan Rogers (Killian Duffy 45), Oisín Meegan, Jack Reid, Josh Todd, Ronan Sands, Kizito Ekwueme, Aaron Comerford (Ronan Doherty 25).
Albion 2nds 0
Glenmuir took over on goal difference – temporarily at least – as leaders of Division 2 of the North-East League with this convincing win on Thursday night at Glenmuir Park.
After an even opening quarter of an hour when the play flowed from end to end, Viktor Ihemeje rounded off a great move to put Glenmuir ahead. Receiving a pass from Robert Kilgallon outside the penalty box, he took it under control with a precise first touch before rolling the visitors’ centre-half and shot to the corner of the net.
His striking partner, Tomiwa Osho, who also has been finding the net regularly, made it 2-0 a few minutes later. Again, he finished off a finely-constructed move at the back post.
The home side had a couple more chances to stretch their lead, but the score stood as the teams went into the break.
Kevin McArdle sealed victory and the points for Glenmuir 10 minutes from time.
Osho provided the incisive pass in another good move that enabled McArdle to notch the winners’ third goal.
Glenmuir: Connor Weir, Ronan Molloy, Stefan McKevitt, Chris Stewart, Edgar Bitanis, Kevin McArdle, Robert Kilgallon, Daniel Brogan (Pat Kerley 75), John Byrne (Eanna McArdle 60) Viktor Ihemeje (Stephen McDonnell 65), Tomiwa Osho (Daniel Kerr).