Rathnew win thriller
Rathnew AFC 'B' 4 - Ashford Rovers 'B' 3
One of the most thrilling games in the Wicklow League was played at Shamrock Park last Sunday afternoon.
An incredible seven-goal thriller with both sides battling for all three points in the Pat O'Toole Division 1B.
Rathnew got off to an excellent start with only two minutes played when defender Stewart Murphy put off Ashford keeper Paul Conyard by jumping with the keeper and managed to get his head to a Rathnew corner.
What a start from the hosts, 1-0 up with just two minutes on the clock.
It looked like the home side were going to cause more pain to their league rivals in the sixth minute when striker John Keogh went one on one with Conyard.
Keogh went to try and slide the ball under the goalkeeper into an empty net but Conyard got down at the last minute to pull off a great save and keep the score at 1-0.
The drama continued as referee Michael Kennedy awarded Ashford a penalty in the 11th minute after an Ashford player was dragged down inside the area.
Luke Sheridan took the ball and placed it on the spot and drove the ball to keeper Kyle Ryan's right. Ryan did get a hand on the ball but couldn't keep it out.
Ashford were right back in the game as the sides were now level with only 11 minutes played.
Ashford Rover were dealt a major blow on the half hour mark when midfielder Gavin Mc Devitt had to be substituted after he picked up an injury after going into a 50/50 challenge with his opposite number.
The travelling team had gained a lot of confidence after scoring and were gifted a golden opportunity in the 41st minute after a mistake at the back between the two Rathnew central defenders meant striker Luke Sheridan went unchallenged and got in behind the Rathnew defence and placed the ball beautifully down to the keeper's left and into the corner of the net.
The first half ended with Ashford having a one-goal advantage after trailing 1-0 in the opening two minutes of the game, a great comeback from the away side at the end of the first half.
In the 47th minute with just two minutes of the second half played lighting struck twice.
Just like the opening two minutes of the first half Rathnew had a corner and again defender Stewart Murphy jumped with keeper Paul Conyard but this time there was no connection from Murphy but the ball still managed to hit the back of the net.
The corner was taken by Jordan Quinn and was hit with a dangerous curl that whipped in and around the front post. A great bit of skill from Quinn to given his side an equalising goal.
Five minutes later it was again a corner from Quinn that caused serious problems for Ashford.
Quinn did his usual curling corner-kick routine but this time it was dealt with, only for it to rebound out to Kyle Devlin who volleyed the ball home to give his side the lead.
Murphy was obviously causing a serious threat in the air for the Ashford defence, and he again went unchallenged from a corner in the 60th minute to nod home his second of the game.
Ashford were proving to be their own worst enemies by not dealing with the aerial threat of Murphy from set-pieces on three different occasions.
Ashford kept battling for the remainder of the second half and were adamant on getting at least one more goal before the 90 minutes were up.
Rathnew had defender Michael Doyle to thank for keeping out threatening Ashford winger Chris French on many occasions.
The majority of Ashford's attacking play went up French's right hand side but Doyle stood firm many times and put in some great challenges to keep out the Ashford winger.
The travelling side did managed to grab a consolation goal in the 87th minute but with little time remaining and with the Rathnew defence being well organised they had to accept that their hosts were taking all three points from the game.
Ashford did manage to cause some discomfort for the Rathnew defence at times in the second half of the game but the home side were very well organised for the majority of the game and deserved the full three points.
Rathnew: 1. Kyle Ryan, 2. Tom Quinn, 3. Charlie O Brien, 4. Shaun Dunne, 5. Stewart Murphy, 6. Jordan Quinn, 7. Paul King, 8. Kyle Devlin, 9. John Keogh, 10. Evan Doyle, 11. Dean Breen. Subs: Michael A Doyle for Tom Quinn (48min), Michael Doyle for Shaun Dunne (45min), James Kavanagh for Evan Doyle (60min).
Ashford: 1. Paul Conyard, 2. Vinny McCann, 3. Naoise Treacey, 4. Eoin Reilly, 5. Leigh Farrell, 6. Sean Bea, 7. Paul Duffy, 8. Gavin McDevitt, 9. Colm Doyle, 10. Luke Sheridan, 11. Chris French. Subs: Lee Nichols for Leigh Farrell (45min), Cormac Byrne for Gavin McDevitt (30min), Chris Mahony for Chris French (75min), Leon Murphy for Colm Doyle (65min).
Referee: Michael Kennedy.