Early goal sets Rangers on way to win over Rathnew
Coolboy Rangers 2
Ten-man Rathnew suffered their first defeat of the new year as Coolboy climbed the First Division table with a comfortable win at Shamrock Park on Sunday afternoon.
Coolboy enjoyed a perfect start to the game when they opened the scoring after just four minutes.
A floated free-kick whipped in by Jordan Kinch was met by the head of Rathnew defender John Healy who was trying to head the ball out of danger and over the crossbar but did not connect properly with the ball and headed past his keeper to give Rangers the lead with less than five minutes played at Shamrock Park.
The away side were very dangerous on the counter-attack and always tried to get winger Keith Crosbie into the game, releasing him down the left wing with his pace and running at the Rathnew defence.
Rathnew striker Scott Devlin thought he had done enough to grab a goal back for his side late in the half as he beat two Coolboy defenders before firing a shot toward the bottom corner, but somehow Coolboy’s goalkeeper Dan Hayes got fingertips to the shot and tipped the ball around the post. A superb save from the Coolboy shot stopper to keep his side in the lead.
Rathnew lost their centre back John Healy on the stroke of half-time as he suffered a bad knee injury when he tried to keep the ball from going out of play.
Healy landed awkwardly and had to be subbed off, much to the frustration of the defender who bravely wanted to continue. The centre back was replaced by youngster Corey Devlin.
The second half got off to a bizarre start as a brawl erupted in the centre circle of the pitch. Coolboy winger Bradley Walsh got into a tussle with substitute Kyle Devlin which resulted in Devlin getting sent off.
Walsh received a blow to the head and had to be treated as his nose was gushing blood.
Referee Dominic Lachausse issued yellow cards to a number of players, but it was Devlin who received his marching orders.
Coolboy took advantage of the extra man and quickly took the lead through a wonder goal from midfielder Dean Grandy.
A low free-kick fired across the box from Nathan Walsh found the oncoming Grandy who flicked the ball with his heel past Dylan Keogh in the Rathnew goal.
Almost a carbon copy of Gianfranco Zola’s backheel flick goal for Chelsea against Norwich back in 2002.
Rathnew should have had a penalty in the 75th minute when striker Jordan Graham was clear through on goal and was just about to pull the trigger but was dragged to ground by Jordan Kinch.
Luckily for the away side the referee’s sight was blocked by the players outside the box and he waved for play to continue, much to the frustration of Graham who couldn’t believe he wasn’t awarded the penalty.
Despite some late pressure from the hosts Coolboy stood firm and saw out the win and gained another three points on the road.
They now sit comfortably in mid-table and will definitely fancy their chances to go on a run and see how high they can finish in Division 1 this season.
Rathnew: 1. Dylan Keogh, 2. Chris Hudson, 13. Kristian Kearney, 4. Nicky Kearney, 5. John Healy, 6. Dean Franey, 7. Sean Paul Dunne, 8. Dean Breen, 9. Scott Devlin, 10. Jordan Graham, 12. John Keogh. Subs: Corey Devlin for John Healy (35), Kyle Devlin for John Keogh (45).
Coolboy Rangers: 1. Dan Hayes, 2. Ryan Guilfoyle, 3. Jordan Kinch, 4. Richard O’Toole, 5. Peter McSwiney, 6. Alex McSwiney, 7. Keith Crosbie, 8. Dean Grandy, 9. Cory Hayes, 10. Nathan Walsh, 11. Bradley Walsh. Subs: Ross Paterson for Alex McSwiney (70), Nathan Doyle for Keith Corsbie (85).
Referee: Dominic Lachausse.