KDFL Premier Division
Straffan AFC 3 Newbridge United FC 1
The Straffan pitch looked ravishing whilst bathing under the hot, summer sun and the game kicked off with those involved knowing that this was going to be a hotly contested affair. The home side began the game calmly and looked comfortable retaining the ball in their own half. The young and ambitious away side attempted to make it as uncomfortable as possible in the opening stages by pressing the home side’s back four. Straffan however were well equipped to deal with the away side’s pressure and some calm and clever build-up play from the back for the home side resulted in a ball into striker Ben Holmes’ feet. His misdirected pass seemed to signal the end of the attack until Straffan skipper Kevin Fox battled to keep the ball alive in the middle of the park. Fox played out wide to John Treacy who cut in from his left wing towards the centre of the pitch and played a tantalising through ball behind where Adam Nolan was waiting. Nolan needed no second invitation. Having latched on to the ball, he rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into the empty net from a tight angle to the anguish of the away side’s retreating defenders. 1-0 to the hosts.
The away side showed no sign of throwing in the towel, and they enjoyed a spell of possession after conceding the first goal. It didn’t take long for them to peg the hosts back. Some good probing from the Newbridge side earned a free kick in a dangerous crossing position. A perfectly weighted ball swung in from the resulting set-piece found its way to the unmarked Newbridge attacker steaming in who made no mistake from 8 yards out to nod the visitors back on level terms. The away side buoyed by their leveller began to push on their opposition. Straffan showed their ability to play short build-up play together with their ability to be more direct when required. It was through a more direct route that the hosts second goal came from. Goalkeeper Matthew “Mitch” Duggan illustrated his pinpoint distribution where he targeted John “Mo” Treacy with a long punt. Treacy rose to compete for the header. The ball fell kindly into his path, and he used this slice of luck to devastating effect. Skipping past not one but two Newbridge defenders, he blasted the ball into the far corner of the net leaving the Newbridge keeper with no chance. At the half-time mark, Straffan enjoyed a one goal advantage.
The away side were determined to get back into the game and made a number of substitutions which aided them in their pursuit. Early in the second half, they enjoyed some good possession and could have equalised if not for some solid Straffan defending from the likes of Shane Fox, Stephen Monaghan, Dean Slattery and Reece Kelly. The home side weren’t short of chances either and with the away side searching more frantically for an equaliser, gaps began to appear in the away teams back line. Evan Treacy enjoyed a fantastic chance from a short corner for the hosts and would have had a certain goal were it not for the heroics of the Newbridge No. 3 who made a goal-saving intervention in his own six-yard box. Straffan’s pressure seemed unrelenting. In the end, it would prove to be too much for the Newbridge rear-guard. With approximately 20 minutes remaining, Jamie Boyne of Straffan began galloping down the left wing in familiar fashion. He turned, looked inside, and found John Treacy in the inside left channel. Treacy fired a ball centrally to Holmes who took the ball in his stride and slipped a simple yet fatal reverse pass straight into the path of the onrushing Ronan Keating. Keating was calm and clinical, taking a touch before rolling the ball into the side netting leaving the Newbridge stopper no chance. Newbridge continued to push the hosts further and should have made the game 3-2 when some excellent pressure resulted in a huge chance for the Newbridge No. 10, but the young playmaker dragged his shot wide of the Straffan goal, much to the relief of the hosts. After this chance, Straffan began to manage the game effectively with some great work by Evan Treacy and Shane Fox. In the end, a final score of 3-1 to Straffan was a fair reflection of the contest but Newbridge had their chances to make it a nervier finish for the hosts. The reverse fixture in a couple of weeks is sure to be a cracker too where this Newbridge side will fancy taking points off the well-coached and talented Straffan team. The winner’s man of the match was Shane Fox.