Friday 20 April 2018

Fastnet pull the plug

(abandoned after 58 minutes)

IT WAS touch and go whether this game would go ahead or not given the underfoot conditions, but it was still to end in dramatic circumstances as Fastnet Rovers bade farewell to the game with a dramatic walk-off after 58 minutes at a time when Wexford Bohemians led 2-0 in their Spinglo Wexford Cup game at Drinagh on Sunday last.

With games falling by the wayside all over the county, referee Mark Hogan decided to give the go-ahead for this second round clash, a decision that may not have met with the satisfaction of the visiting side. Although the pitch was heavy, there was no surface water, leaving it playable at the start, so it was a correct decision from the man in charge.

It may have been a case of reacting in hindsight as Fastnet Rovers, clearly annoyed with the game taking place, saw their frustration eventually boil over. Already down to ten players, after having Craig Power sent-off on a second yellow card after 13 minutes, it was again unlucky 13, this time into the second-half.

Wexford Bohs, who were dominant for the most part, saw Marty O'Connor cut into the area where he was brought down by Liam O'Neill, leaving referee Hogan with no option but to point to the penalty spot. At this stage Fastnet Rovers manager Richie Walsh became exasperated with the situation, ordering his players from the pitch and saying: 'We've had enough. This game should not have been played, there is not even markings on the pitch'.

Fastnet Rovers must now await their fate in the boardroom, but their dream of a cup run is well and truly over. They face heavy sanctions, dismissal from the cup, plus a big fine, as the defence of their actions will be very limited.

It was a bizarre first-half for Fastnet Rovers as clearly they did not have their minds on the game. Following Power's early dismissal, they fell behind in the 19th minute when Derek Bergin powerfully headed home a Robbie O'Connor free-kick, with 'keeper Gavin Cunningham having no chance as the ball flew into the top right-hand corner of the net.

Ten-man Fastnet were offering little in the way of attacks, as the home side pushed forward incessantly. After 29 minutes of almost continuous pressure the ever-impressive Paul Underwood was taken down as he cut into the area. Underwood picked himself up off the ground to slot the resulting penalty low into the bottom right-hand corner, making it 2-0.

Fastnet Rovers survived many dangerous moments, with Gavin O'Brien hooking a Dermot Flood effort off the line with the 'keeper beaten, while minutes later netminder Cunningham saved excellently from Marty O'Connor's well-struck shot from outside the area.

With the visitors unable to muster a worthwhile attack, it was no surprise when Bohs went in with a 2-0 interval lead, which should have been greater.

The second-half was following much the same pattern as Bohs continued to press forward. Then came the dramatic moment which brought the game to a premature end. While Bohs will go into the third round draw, Fastnet Rovers must await their sanction from the League Executive.

Wexford People