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Johnville 1; Ferrybank 1

Ferrybank and Johnville both face a nervous climax to the season following this draw on Sunday morning last.

The previous Wednesday, Ferrybank had lost 3-1 to Carrick United at home and they knew they had to get something from this game to keep a realistic hope of keeping their Premier League status. They got a point but there is no doubt that their manager Paul Cashin would have been happier with a victory. Had they won this game Southend United would have gone bottom but alas the Abbelylands outfit still hold that position following this result.

Johnville also wanted full points from this contest but the point they gained has eased somewhat their relegation worries but that said they are still very much in the relegation pickle.

On the overall run of play perhaps Ferrybank deserved to win as they enjoyed the majority of the play but they lacked a little up front. This was not a pretty game in any sense of the word but with so much at stake that fact was not surprising.

Few chances

The first shot on goal came from Ferrybank when Sean Flynn tried his luck from 25 yards but his effort went well wide. Richard Gaffney did likewise after 17 minutes but his shot went high over the crossbar.

Johnville were dealt a massive blow after 29 minutes when one of their top players, Gary Kelly, was carried off with what looked like a very bad ankle injury. The highly-rated left-sided player was taken to hospital with the injury.

One minute later Shane Mallon of Ferrybank got in a shot from 30 yards but the ball sailed over Dean Purcell’s crossbar. It took Johnville 45 minutes to get a shot at the visitors’ goal. Michael Heffernan controlled the ball on his chest following a cross from the right by Pat Brown before picking out Gavin Phelan but he shot over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.

Ferrybank take the lead

In the early stages of the second half, Peter Murphy of Ferrybank got in a low shot which did not really trouble Dean Purcell in between the Johnville posts. Kevin Roche cut in from the right and passed to Vinny Hetheringhton on 56 minutes but he dragged his shot wide from 16 yards.

The visitors did break the deadlock after 66 minutes when substitute Vinny Hetherington drilled the ball through a static Johnville defence and Kevin Roche struck the ball under the body of Dean Purcell from 14 yards, just inside the right side of the penalty area.

Sean Flynn met a Johnno Byrne cross from the right 2 minutes later. Flynn caught the ball on the volley but the Johnville defender Liam O’Meara got in a very timely block with his goalkeeper beaten.

Johnville equalised on 72 minutes. Micheal Heffernan fired in a free kick from 25 yards. The Ferrybank goalkeeper Sean Phelan dived to his left to save but he could only parry the ball and that gave Gavin Phelan the chance to poke the ball to the net from 3 yards.

Shortly afterwards Ferrybank almost regained their lead when Brian Mallon got on to the end of a long free kick taken by Richard Gaffney but he blazed high over the bar from a great position.

More pressure from Ferrybank followed during the remainder of the game but they could not get through a stubborn Johnville defence and as a result they remain bottom of the pile. Their remaining games will see them play away to Carrick and at home to Waterford Crystal and Dungarvan United.

Johnville: Dean Purcell, Dave Walsh, John Butler, Liam O’Meara, Shane O’Brien, Michael Heffernan, Peter Cleary, Dermot Atkins, Gavin Phelan, Pat Brown, Gary Kelly. Sub: Declan Phelan for Kelly (29 mins).

Ferrybank: Sean Phelan, Colm Roche, Shane Mallon, Richard Gaffney, Pat Heffernan, Brian Mallon, Jono O’Byrne, Sean Flynn, Paddy Mullally, Kevin Rocche, Peter Murphy. Subs: Ger Flynn for Mullally (H-T), Vinny Hetherington for Murphy (54 mins), Darren Lyon for Colm Roche (80 mins).

Referee: John Purcell.