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Feature game – Leinster Leader

KDFL Under 20 division

Clane United FC 5 Suncroft FC 0

A busy day for football at Clane United’s Doctors Road facility on Saturday 3rd December culminated with game number 11 on the day as the under 20 teams of Clane United and Suncroft locked horns for the second time this season. The teams were only separated by the odd goal in 7 earlier in the season with Clane scoring a late winner on that occasion, so hopes were high for an exciting game.

The game kicked off in ideal conditions for football on Clane’s recently refurbished grass pitch. Suncroft started brightly and had the better of the opening ten minutes as their central midfielders continually found space between the lines to force Clane’s defence deeper towards their own eighteen yard line. Adam Mazur in the Clane goal was kept on his toes during this period with a couple of long range saves while putting his side on the front foot with his booming clearances turning the Suncroft defence on several occasions. Clane created their first effort at goal on ten minutes when Reece Vaughan found space down the left and found John Fitzsimons free inside the Suncroft box with his effort forcing a smart save from the visitors netminder. This seemed to spark some life into Clane’s play as Ben Kirwan and Ross Murphy got to grips in the middle of the park. Both teams could not be faulted for their efforts as the game swung one way than the other in an entertaining game. On sixteen Suncroft almost opened the scoring when an excellent ball from their central midfielder opened up a pathway to goal for the Suncroft winger. Clane’s scrambled defence reacted well in forcing enough pressure to ensure a hurried shot was pulled to the left and wide. Clane took over possession of the ball as the game reached the midway point of the first half and forced Suncroft further back with Vaughan and Ethan Farrell causing problems for Clane down the flanks. As the game reached the thirty minute , United forced a series of corners and a delicious inswinger from Farrell on the left was powerfully met by Fion Coyle who gave the Suncroft keeper no chance to give Clane a deserved lead. Suncroft’s reaction was positive with Aidan Ralph and Coyle at the heart of Clane’s back four called into action to prevent the Visitors striking back. On thirty eight Cian MacMahon almost doubled the hosts lead when his free kick from distance beat everyone before striking the post and rolling to safety. Suncroft were not out of this game by any stretch and a fantastic ball from their right required a towering headed clearance by James Lukumu to deny the Suncroft centre forward on forty. The remainder of the half was played in a similar vane as both sides contributed to a great game.

Clane burst into the second half as Ayobami Alarape released Vaughan down the left with his strike just going wide of the left upright. From the resultant kick out Vaughan once again troubled the Subcroft rearguard forcing a smart save as Clane’s high press started to cause problems. On fifty five minutes MacMahon doubled the lead receiving the ball centrally to strike from twenty yards with the ball squirming past the Suncroft keeper. Clane, now playing with greater confidence that goals bring, pushed for a third and a great strike from Kirwan cannoned off the crossbar on fifty eight. Vaughan continued to cause issues down the left for the home side and his direct style caused the suncroft defence into a hurried clearance that ballooned off their keeper to safety on sixty three. Clane’s third goal duly arrived on sixty seven when substitute James Ralph broke down the right before squaring the ball for MacMahon to score his second of the game. Suncroft continued to battle manfully but found Clane’s defence in resolute form determined not to be outshone by their colleagues further up the pitch.

As the game entered the final stages a tiring Suncroft were breached on a further two occasions to put a harsh look to the scoreboard that their performance didn’t deserve. On eighty five minutes a flowing move featuring Kevin Reilly and James Ralph freed the lively MacMahon who completed his hat trick with a smart finish before Ralph himself got in on the scoring with a thunderous finish from the edge of the box with the final kick of the game . Best for Suncroft were the lively duo up top and their number eight in the middle. Best for the home side on an evening where all played very well were Aidan Ralph and James lukumu at the back Ben Kirwan and Reece Vaughan in the middle with Cian MacMahon taking the man of the match honours.

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