Bray side losing Chad Ryan to progress to last 16
St Peter’s 2
Ashford Rovers 1
ST. PETER’S survived losing Chad Ryan to a late red card as they came from behind to book their place in the last 16 of the Wicklow Cup with a win over Ashford Rovers.
They had to ride their luck throughout against their spirited visitors to Little Bray Community Centre.
It was a mild enough evening in Fassaroe, with a thick layer of smoke from the adjacent houses lingering overhead, unperturbed by the absent wind.
By the time Peter’s attained the ability to see through the haze, metaphorically speaking, they were already a goal down following a disastrous series of events.
On 16 minutes, Ashford Rovers got their noses in front, taking advantage of lacklustre judgement on the part of their hosts.
Trying to work the ball out from the back proved ill-conceived on the uneven terrain and, when Anto Gilligan went to boot the ball up the field, it only got as far as Rob Talaga 30 metres from goal.
While the set-up was ugly, the finish was easy on the eye, as the midfielder lifted the most audacious of shots up and over Gilligan’s head.
That fright awoke a response in St. Peter’s, however, as they quickly flipped the game on its head to take the lead with a brace of quick questions.
First, seven minutes after Ashford Rovers had taken the lead, Peter’s were gift-wrapped a chance to equalise when Darren Lacey was fouled in the box for a penalty.
Up stepped Chad Ryan, who calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner to restore parity. Then three minutes after that, they were in front.
Once again, Darren Lacey was central to Peter’s lead goal. Collecting a throw-in just inside the box down the right channel, Lacey twisted and turned beyond his man.
From the endline, he fired a low cross across the box, where it was turned in by an Ashford defender, completing the dramatic, sudden comeback.
Chances were few and far between for the remainder of the first half. Stephen Johnson put a shot wide on the edge of the box for Ashford, while a subsequent Talaga corner was nodded away from the danger zone by Darren McAteer.
The second half saw Ashford knock desperately on the St. Peter’s rearguard, hoping for a way through. Within six minutes of the first half, Talaga had a free-kick saved for a corner which came to nothing.
Ten minutes later, a cross from the right-hand side attracted the attention of Anto Gilligan, who came roaring off his line to punch it away. He did not make clear contact with the ball, however, but for Jack Byrne to merely head wide.
St. Peter’s still possessed a chance on the counter-attack, however, with Jamie Kelly being denied one-on-one by Ross Hamilton, while the same man was later forced off injured after being brought down from another counter-attack.
Not even the late dismissal of Chad Ryan for a second bookable offence could give Ashford enough of an edge to come back, as Peter’s escaped with the victory.
St. Peter’s: Anthony Gilligan; Darren McAteer, Davey Berry, Des Kelly, Ryan Greene; Dan Kelly, Shane O’Neill, Killian O’Carroll; Jamie Kelly, Chad Ryan, Darren Lacey. Subs: Tony Harris for S. O’Neill (70), Jake Kane for J. Kelly (88).
Ashford Rovers: Ross Hamilton; Mick Taylor, Gary McNabb, Darren Kavanagh; Luke Messitt, Rob Talaga, Anthony Byrne, Stephen Johnson, Jack Byrne; Mark O’Sullivan, Stuart Cox. Subs: Fionn Brooks for A. Byrne (58), Dean Mooney for S. Cox (58), Nathan Doyle for S. Johnson (66), Brian Sullivan for D. Kavanagh (85).