Tuesday 24 April 2018

Gaynor saves the day for Fassaroe

The semi-finals await Fassaroe Youth Club after this drab last eight clash with local rivals Ballywaltrim that went all the way to penalties.

The semi-finals await Fassaroe Youth Club after this drab last eight clash with local rivals Ballywaltrim that went all the way to penalties.

Sean McAteer opened the scoring when he headed into his own net to hand Ballywaltrim the lead after just eight minutes. The left-back made amends late in the first half when his cross was forced home by Ross O'Brien to level matters.

Fassaroe asked questions in the second half and in both periods of extra time but Ballywaltrim goalkeeper Jonathan Mason had the answers each time.

Unfortunately for the visitors, Mason couldn't continue his starring role in penalties and instead it was the Fassaroe shot-stopper, Daniel Gaynor, who saved the day – keeping out Shane Dunne's 12-yarder to set up Christopher 'Cantona' Cox to stroke home the winning spot kick.

A sizeable 18 points separated the local rivals in the Division 3 North prior to kick off but it was the fifth place side – Ballywaltrim FC – that took the game to the league leaders. Inside the first minutes, they'd put the hosts under sufficient pressure to force them into a back pass which referee Dominique Lachausse spotted and punished them for. Midfielder Jonathan Percy was the man tasked with trying to find a gap in the wall from six yards but his thump was blocked on the line by Gaynor.

By the eighth minute though, their positive start was rewarded. Left winger Stephen Temple whipped in a wicked corner kick from the left and, under pressure from his man, McAteer inadvertedly headed into his own net at the near post.

Fassaroe looked to hit straight back as a minute later Luke Doyle's cross was met by Aaron Brack but the striker's header cleared Mason's crossbar.

A sleeping home defence was then nearly punished as Temple latched onto a slide-rule pass and he did slot his finish to Gaynor's right but it also slid past the right-hand post.

Ballywaltrim played a high line throughout and it lead to 13 offside for the home side throughout the 110 minutes. Fassaroe got their timing right in the 38th minute though as they found the equaliser. Brack made the breakthrough before playing in McAteer on the left. He powered into the box and fired a low cross into the area where O'Brien was on hand to force the ball over the line.

Ballywaltrim's Ciaran Dunne appeared to get away with a quite blatant handball two minutes into the second period when Lachausse ignored the Fassaroe calls for a penalty.

On the hour mark, home winger Luke Doyle registered a shot in anger as he lashed into the side netting from an acute angle.

Three minutes later a Fassaroe corner kick was cleared and then lumped back in by James Johnston. Allen Harris got his head to the ball and it took a fine save from Mason to deflect it onto the crossbar.

Harris had another pop minutes later when McAteer whipped in but yet again, Mason kept out the midfielder's header; clawing it off the line dramatically.

Clearly not deterred, Harris had a third try five minutes from the end of normal time. Johnson's 50-yard free kick was nodded on by Harris and Mason fumbled it before rapidly gathering.

Mason was in superb form two minutes later when parried a Fassaroe effort and flopped around like a fish out of water he tried to scoop the rebound away. When the ball did eventually break to Brack, brave defending saw it blocked behind.

In extra time, Jonathan Percy missed a golden chance for the away side. Temple sent in a flag kick from the left, Gaynor missed it and lurking behind the goalkeeper was Percy, who flashed over when he was just five yards from then unguarded net.

Fassaroe enjoyed a late, late chance to nick it when Ross O'Brien created space on the left and dug out a cross to the back stick. Luke Doyle slid in but he could only divert the ball into the side netting and, to add injury to insult, he remained down with cramp after missing the chance.

With Percy and Doyle unable to decide matters, penalties had to.

Percy, Ciaran Dunne, Tom Cowan, Temple and Emmett Costello netted Ballywaltrim's five provisional efforts, while Harris, Johnson, Jeff Cahill, Brack and Ken Green kept their cool from 12 yards for Fassaroe.

Ross O'Brien and McAteer also won their battle of wits, before someone finally blinked as Gaynor dove to his right to push Shane Dunne's effort away.

And up stepped Chris 'Cantona' Cox to squeeze home the winning spot kick and seal his side's place in the last four.

Top Form: Jonathan Mason (Ballywaltrim): Kept his side in it on many occasions with some fine saves.

Wicklow People