Friday 17 November 2017

Rovers come out on top of local derby

Nothing like a local derby to close out the weekend's football. Sunday afternoon saw Wicklow Town AFC take on Wicklow Rovers in the under-16 Premier League.

Nothing like a local derby to close out the weekend's football. Sunday afternoon saw Wicklow Town AFC take on Wicklow Rovers in the under-16 Premier League.

This is the third meeting of the two sides this season and the first in the Town's ground.

Rovers won the previous two encounters in Whitegates, winning 1-0 in the cup and 5-1 in the reverse league fixture. With only a metal fence separating the two side's home pitches, it promised to be an exciting affair.

Wicklow Rovers went into the game needing three points to keep up the pressure on Coolboy Rangers at the top of the table but their local rivals were out to stop them.

It was the visitors who earned the first chance of the game. Luke Purdy played a long ball over the top to Colin O'Toole, goalie Conor Clack came off his line and saved O'Toole's effort.

A minute later Town had a chance of their own when Jordan Quinn saw his shot from the left saved by Callum Vickers in the Rovers goal. In the 10th minute Josh Browne played through Andrew Earls who had his thunderous effort excellently saved by Clack.

Play was then stopped for two full minutes for the most bizarre reason. No it wasn't stopped due to an injury, the game was stopped because a dog invaded the pitch and he wasn't leaving the field of play without putting up a fight. This provided a bit of comic relief to a fairly intense derby.

Play finally resumed and Rovers opened the scoring. Colin Synnott whipped in a corner from the left which Andrew Earls met and after having his initial effort saved, he followed in to score and make it 1-0 the visitors.

Two minutes later Earls nearly doubled his tally when a move involving Kevin O'Halloran and Colin O'Toole ended with Earls heading over the bar.

The next 10 minutes consisted of Wicklow Town pressure with the home side searching for an equaliser. Firstly a scramble from a corner ended with Jordan Quinn firing a shot wide and not so long after, Thomas Kearns had his long range shot saved by Callum Vickers.

However, the last chance of the half went to Rovers. Luke Purdy launched a long free kick into the dangerous Earls who had his shot saved by the in form county goalkeeper, Conor Clack.

The half time score was 1-0 to Rovers in a tight encounter. It was the Town who were quickest out of the blocks in the second period. Jordan Quinn and John Moorehouse both had attempts saved by Vickers.

But despite the Wicklow Town pressure Rovers were on the score sheet again in the 47th minute. Ben Fleming made a run down the right, beating the defender and squaring the ball to Andrew Earls who got his and his team's second goal of the game.

In the 59th minute it was three for Rovers. A long ball was pumped up to substitute Ben Fleming who had his shot saved but Colin O'Toole was on hand to tap in the rebound, scoring his fourteenth goal of the season. Andrew Earls then had a chance to complete his hat-trick with a free kick. He managed to put his effort on target but it didn't cause the custodian any problems.

Rovers continued their search for more goals and in the 71st minute, Mark Darragh played Colin O'Toole through on goal but Clack came out to narrow the angle and O'Toole put his effort wide. Rovers completed their tally by scoring twice in the final five minutes of the game. Andrew Earls completed his hat-trick in the 75th minute following good pressure from Mark Darragh and one minute later Ben Fleming completed the rout when he made a fantastic solo run, running half the length of the pitch and slotting it home to make it 5-0.

The full time whistled sounded securing a much needed three points for the green side of Wicklow, although they may not mean much if Coolboy manage to get a win at home to Wolfe Tone Youth Club which would secure the title for the Coolafancy outfit. Wicklow Town made a good game out of it in the first half but went off the boil in the second half.

Wicklow People

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