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Feature game – Leinster Leader

KDFL Under 20 Division

Naas Utd 4 Derry Rovers FC 3

Naas United came into this game on the back of two defeats and really needed a victory to get their

seasons expectations back on track, but they certainly didn’t go about it the easy way.  It was all Naas

in the early stages as they looked to use the pace of The attacking players to their advantage with

Tom Fennessy going close with early chances after excellent play from Joe Murray in Midfield setting

him away. A free kick in the fourth minute brilliantly delivered by Dylan Malone saw Adam Grennhalgh

see his header brilliantly tipped over the bar by the away keeper. Naas didn’t have to wait to much

longer though as the opening goal came in the ninth minute and once again the move began with Joe

Murray in midfield showing good power to win the ball and play an excellent pass out wide to the over

lapping Malone, and his delivery was once again pin point, straight onto the boot of Greenhalgh who

volleyed home from eight yards out to score his first goal of the season.

The away side had some chances themselves with their frontmen making Ben Loughlin work in goal

on a couple of occasions and shooting just wide from distance. Tom Fennessy was the bright spark in

this first period and on twenty three minutes he burst away again only to see his effort saved after a

great pass with the outside of the foot from Joe Mills. Fennessy took a heavy tackle and needed to

step off the pitch for attention so Naas were down to ten men for a few minutes, but when he

returned, they forced a corner and in a crowded penalty area the ball dropped to him and his low

powerful shot took a nick off a defender and left the keeper flat footed.

Naas were a little guilty of taking the foot off the pedal as they got to forty minutes and as Derry

Rovers broke away up the left hand side, Tadhg McBride raced in on goal, but out of nowhere Joe

Murray had sprinted back to make an incredible tackle to block the shot and Naas took a 2-0 lead into

half time.  The second half was certainly one for the neutrals as it was end to end at times. To the

credit of Derry Rovers they came out a completely different side for the next forty five minutes and the

half was only two minutes old when they made it 2-1 with a lofted cross to the back post catching out

United’s central defence. Tadhg McBride was perfectly placed to head past Loughlin.  Naas lifted

themselves to push a couple of corners and really should have made it 3-1 as Sean Wheeler, Pearce

O’Neill and Josh Murphy all spurning good opportunities. Derry themselves wasted chances as No.9

and No.7 shot over, but they pulled the scores back level on seventy five minutes with well worked

goal from Adam Dockery slotting into the corner out of the reach of the despairing keeper.   Naas

had let a 2-0 lead slip and were looking tired as Fennessy was struggling with his earlier knock so

Fergal Murphy was preparing to come on and give the team fresh legs.

Naas edged ahead again soon after corner when Sean Wheeler rose highest to power home and get

his second goal in two games to make it 3-2 and put the home side back in front. Off came Fennessy

and on came Murphy for Naas who immediately chased down the defenders. Naas were now

dominating again and had a new lease of freshness, but incredibly they were pulled back again to 3-3

as Rovers just never gave up and a mazy run from Leo Cullen saw him power home to level matters.

With five minutes left on the clock. Had Naas thrown more points away with another mistake. They

were clearly frustrated at having the lead levelled again and showed incredible response as they

pushed forward again. Conor Cook crossed, the ball zipped around and fell to Fergal Murphy who

smacked the shot straight into the top corner. Naas thought they’d won it, but the referee had blown it

back for an offside. United defence stood tall, Josh Murphy stepped out and passed to Joe Mills, Mills

turns and drives forward and picks out another sublime pass with the outside if the boot, perfect for

Greenhalgh to sprint on to. Greenhalgh took one touch to settle himself and brilliantly placed the ball

into the bottom corner from just inside the box to put Naas once again ahead at 4-3. What an

incredible finish to the game.  Naas have got themselves out of trouble, but nobody can fault their

incredible spirit to keep motivated and push for that result.  Man of the match Joe Murray was

outstanding in midfield with Mills showing fantastic spells of dominance too. Adam Greenhalgh

scoring two fantastic goals on his first start of the season after returning from long term injury is a

huge boost to the side while Sean Wheeler was excellent at left back.

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