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KDFL Senior Division

Suncroft AFC 1 Newbridge Hotspurs FC 2

Despite all the rain that fell on Saturday, the pitch at the Community Grounds in Suncroft was in an immaculate condition and that coupled with the sun shining set the scene for a good game of football albeit a tense footballing encounter. After two defeats, Hotspurs were looking to bounce back and Suncroft coming off a 3-3 draw against Ballycane Celtic in their first game of the season. For Hotspurs, it was a disastrous start. After two minutes, Suncroft took the lead after their forward and midfield line pressed the Hotspurs defence and won possession. They pushed forward and managed to lift the ball over the Hotspurs keeper to make it 1-0. Despite this start, Hotspurs kept their heads and grew into the game. On the fifth minute, Mikey Murphy was unlucky when his attempt at chipping the keeper following a fine Sean Higgins pass was well saved by the Suncroft keeper. It was on the tenth minute Hotspurs got their deserved equaliser. A fine pass from Barry Doyle found Ciaran Glynn who made another fine pass to Mikey Murphy. Murphy dribbled past the left back towards the end line, looked up, and spotted Chris Higgins making run to the centre of the box, Murphy cut it back to Chris Higgins who struck with left foot to make it 1-1. It was a fine team goal and what Hotspurs deserved.

The rest of the first half more akin to a game or chess with both teams niggling at each other and fighting for possession. Ryan Harvey and Hotspurs defence of Scott O’Connor, Barry Doyle, Sean Higgins and Robbie Higgins done a fine job of keeping the Suncroft attack at bay despite some pressure and a series of corners which tested the Hotspurs defence. In terms of first half chances, they were few and far between but Shane Smith (a constant thorn in the side on the Suncroft defence) did have a chance near the end of the half but to no avail. The game went in at half time 1-1. The second half started much the same way the first half finished with both sides having a decent amount of possession but lacking that cutting edge in front of goal. On the sixty second minute, Hotspurs made a change with Scott O’Donoghue coming on for the injured Robbie Higgins. Almost straight away, O’Donoghue was making his impact on the game. On the sixty fifth minute, he went close when his header was well saved by the Suncroft keeper following a fine Shane Smith cross. On the seventy third minute, Greg Kelly and Tomas Hennessy entered the fray for Anthony Durney and Ciaran Glynn (both of whom worked tirelessly in a real midfield battle). With fiftheen minutes remaining Suncroft almost made it 2-1 but their striker was denied by an almost impossible save made by Ryan Harvey who managed to keep the ball from crossing the line. The game ebbed and flowed but as the last ten minutes closed in, Hotspurs felt there was an opportunity to collect all three points. On the eighty sixth minute, Eoin Walsh went close when his shot went over the bar. With three minutes remaining on normal time Mikey Murphy had a shot blocked. However, on the eighty eight minute, a speculative long ball by Scott O’Connor was only half dealt with the Suncroft defence, the defender headed clear but it fell to Greg Kelly who struck on the volley from 22 yards to hit the back of the net. 2-1 to Hotspurs. The last seven minutes saw Suncroft put the pressure on but the resolute Hotspurs defence and midfield dealt excellently with it. The game finished 2-1 to Hotspurs. Best for the winners were Sean Higgins, Shane Smith, Mikey Murphy, Chris Higgins and Hotspurs Man of the Match Eoin Walsh

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