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Derby Victory in Davitt Park

posted 15 Oct 2012, 14:57 by Unknown user

Clan na Gael 1-07 Sarsfields 2-08

This was a match in which both teams had something to play for, over and above the pride and bragging rights that accompany local derbies. It would be fair that the Clans fighting for their Senior League status had more to lose and they desperately needed all the points from their last game of the season. On the other hand Sarsfields have the opportunity to finish top of the shield section of the league.
Early on it was end to end football. Richie Stevenson hit the first score from a free after Paul McGeown was fouled. Good defensive work from the Highmoss forced a shot wide from the home side but they were soon on level terms with a fisted point after Sarsfields dropped a shot into the Clans keeper. Eamon McGeown edged the Highmoss ahead after good work and a nice pass from Richie Stevenson left him with a handy opportunity. Richie immediately added a point but it was quickly cancelled out by the Clans. A free for the Blues again levelled the match and the Clans had a goal chance when Darran McAvoy the Highmoss keeper was forced to parry a difficult high ball. The follow up shot was somehow scrambled off the line and cleared by the Sarsfields rear-guard. The following period saw both sides send chances wide, though the Clans in particular were extremely wasteful. To be fair the Highmoss defence was able to force the mistake in several instances. It was an error that broke the deadlock when the Clans defence failed to clear a ball and lost possession. Eamon McGeown took full advantage and sent the ball low and hard to the net. Richie Stevenson sent the Hoops four clear, but he was undoubtedly going for the goal only to see the ball rise over the bar. The Clans had a great opportunity to pull back a goal but saw the low and hard shot, flash inches outside the base of the post, much to the relief of the Highmoss supporters. Clans went a man down as the first half came to a close, though they continued to force the pace except where in mattered in putting the ball between the posts. Sarsfields were also dealt a blow as Paul McGaughey was carried off with an ankle injury. With five minutes injury time Clans still had time for an attack on goal but a super Darran McAvoy pushed the ball around the post and a Richie Stevenson point deep in injury time made it a six point lead for Highmoss.
Having the extra Sarsfields might have been expected to push on for a handy win, but it wasn’t the case. Somehow Sarsfields found themselves defending the lead and the home side were pushing on. However ten minutes of second half pressure resulted in only one point for the Clans with four efforts having been sent wide. The Highmoss immediately cancelled that point and again it would have seemed that they might push on. Clans continued with the most of the possession but again got little reward for their play and even handy frees were sent wide as they continued to seemingly self-destruct. A second Clans point of the half was nullified with an Eamon McGeown point and Sarsfields held a six point lead with just over ten minutes remaining. The Lurgan men were handed a lifeline when a shot from out the field somehow found its way under the bar and into the net. It had been a rare shot on target and an unlikely error from the Highmoss keeper. Boosted by the goal, Clans added a couple of points and the margin was down to a point with a few minutes remaining. Sarsfields had a few chances, but all were sent wide ensuring a tense finish. Two minutes into injury time Sarsfields were awarded a penalty. There was some debate among the crowd whether Sarsfields should take the point or go for the goal. However there was no doubt in Paul McGeown’s mind as he confidently beat the Clans keeper to seal the victory. No doubt going for the goal was the correct decision. Clans pushed up the field in in a goalmouth scramble were awarded a penalty themselves. It may have been too little too late, but it would have been a different story had Paul McGeown not dispatched his penalty. With four points in the game Darren McAvoy pulled off a superb penalty save to deny any possibility of a late comeback.