It's the Pitts for Rovers as Oscar heads winner
OSCAR PITT stepped up with a superb 79th minute header that proved the decisive goal, handing all three points to his struggling side and leaving second-placed Bridge Rovers bemoaning some missed gift chances in this exciting Division 1 clash at Rosslare Harbour on Sunday last.
For lengthy periods it looked as if high-flying Bridge Rovers were on the cusp of collecting three vital promotion points, but they were hit twice by two excellent counter-attacks from the home side. And there was to be no denying the seasiders as their second winning goal was beautifully excecuted and clinically finished.
A big black cloud hung over Bridge Rovers on the final whistle as they saw this as a missed opportunity to close in on league leaders Park Hotspur. They enjoyed much of the outfield possession but spurned some excellent chances in front of goal.
Close on full-time their left full-back, David Kenny, found himself in on goal slightly to the right. He did everything right, only to see his final shot go under the 'keeper and just outside the post, which was their last chance of salvaging a point which was no more than they deserved.
Both sides started with an emphasis on attacking football. The respective back fours came under periods of incessant pressure but one had to wait until the 19th minute for the game's opening goal when the home side's Aaron Kehoe struck home a superb low shot from just inside the area, leaving it 1-0.
As the game developed, there were chances at either end, with Rangers' Paul Boyce seeing a rising shot go just over the top. At the opposite end, Jason Murphy and Niall Murphy were beginning to impose themselves on the game, with their excellent ball play creating gaps in the home side's back four.
Nine minutes before the break they got back on level terms. Full-back David Kenny, who had been threatening with excellent runs down the left wing, provided the ammunition for that levelling goal. Having held off several tackles, he fired over a hard, low cross that Tiarnan Rossiter could only deflect high into his own net as he attemped to clear the danger, leaving it 1-1 at the interval.
But while the first-half was interesting, the second period developed into a game of free-flowing football. Five minutes into the second period the home side's Paul Boyce had a shot blocked away for a fruitless corner, while two minutes later excellent play from Oscar Pitt saw him fire over a great cross that Emmet Byrne got his head to, only to see the ball go just outside the left-hand post.
But it was wasn't all Rangers as Bridge Rovers gradually played themselves back into the game, with Mark Mceldowney having a low shot well held by home 'keeper Wayne O'leary. At the opposite end after a great move it was Oscar Pitt and Tiarnan Rossiter who combined, before Pitt sent over a great ball to the far post that was powerfully headed down and just wide by Emmet Byrne.
Rosslare Rangers were enjoying a real purple patch with Kevin Driver and Oscar Pitt having shots well saved by 'keeper Shane Birney. After 79 minutes came the decisive moment. The ball was played quickly through midfield out to right full-back Chris Kelly.
He held the ball, beat two defenders, and sent over a rising cross that saw Oscar Pitt move quickly in front of the waiting 'keeper to power a superb header into the roof of the net, making it 2-1.
The home side had a chance of sealing the points five minutes from the end, but Aaron Kehoe miskicked from a few metres when all was needed was a simple tap-in.
Then came Bridge Rovers' late surge which should have yielded a draw, but Rosslare Rangers will be happy to have collected all three points which should help to lift them up the Division One table.
Wayne O'leary, Chris Kelly, Tiarnan Rossiter, Mick Burke, Emmet Byrne, Niall Walsh, Kevin Driver, Mark Furlong, Paul Boyce, Oscar Pitt, Aaron Kehoe. SUBS: David Wickham, Ryan Meyler, Alan Hyland, Shane Byrne, Jack Duggan.
BRIDGE ROVERS Shane Birney, Mark Mceldowney, David Kenny, Colin Redmond, Mark Tobin, Kevin Byrne, André O'brien, Feargal Hynes, Riley Ronan-john, Jason Murphy, Niall Murphy. SUBS: Alan Walsh, John Ryan, Cian Lambe, Jack Murphy. VENUE: Rosslare Harbour.
REFEREE: Brian Fenlon.