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Waterford Crystal 1; St. Saviour’s 2

St Saviour’s are right back in the thick of the title race following this highly deserved victory over a Waterford Crystal side who went into the game as league leaders.

The previous week St Saviour’s had lost to Johnville so they knew that they had to win this game to keep their hopes of winning the league alive and they certainly did that in magnificent style.

All over the park they were on song and they never gave Crystal a chance to knock the ball around and they also made the home side suffer when it came to set pieces.

Two corner kicks produced their goals and they could have perhaps scored even more goals following well taken free kicks.

On the overall run of play, Waterford Crystal can have no complaints whatsoever about this defeat, which was only their third league defeat of the season.

Jacob heads home

Niall Butler of Crystal created the first chance of the game when he picked out Jason Halloran from the left but Halloran touched the ball wide from just inside the penalty area.

James Kennedy then went close with a well taken free-kick for the Saints from 30 yards but the ball went narrowly wide of Derek Hearne’s right upright. James Kennedy then deflected away a shot from Joe Watson who has taken a pass from Keith Sheridan.

St Saviour’s came on strong at this stage and they took the lead on 18 minutes. Stephen Dalton swung over a corner kick from the left and the unmarked John Paul Jacob powered home a header past Derek Hearne from 8 yards range.

St Saviour’s almost went further in front on 25 minutes when a truly brilliant ball from left full back John Keane was controlled by Stephen Dalton on his chest but when he shot at Derek Hearne, the Crystal goalkeeper produced a wonderful save and when the ball broke back to Dalton, Hearne once again was equal to the task. It was superb double save by the Crystal goalkeeper.

Joe Twomey then rattled in a shot from 25 yards for the Saints but his effort went narrowly wide. Pat Dobbyn had a decent chance for the home side after 31 minutes when he met a corner kick from David McGrath but he headed over Graham Cleary’s crossbar.

Right on the stroke of half time St Saviour’s increased their advantage and again it was a corner kick which proved costly for Crystal.

Stephen Dalton took another corner kick from the left and this time John Paul Jacob took advantage of poor marking and his header to the back post was hammered to the net by James Kennedy.

Crystal comeback

John Keane, the St Saviour’s left full-back, sent in a delightful free kick from the left 5 minutes into the second half which was met by Stephen Dalton but his header went inches over Derek Hearne’s crossbar as once again the home defender were marked absent.

John Paul Jacob got another free header 6 minutes later following a Stephen Dalton but he was unable to keep his effort on target. A little bit of Crystal pressure followed but they did not really test the Saints goalkeeper Graham Cleary until the 67th minute when Joe Watson made him work with a header.

One minute later St Saviour’s almost put the game to bed when Aaron O’Neill sent Stephen Dalton on his way. Dalton skipped around Derek Hearne but David McEvoy got back in the nick of time to kick the ball off the goal-line.

Shortly afterwards Aaron O’Neill was set clear by James Kennedy but the ball appeared to bobble before the kicked over the crossbar with only Derek Hearne to beat.

Waterford Crystal were given a lifeline on 74 minutes when David McGrath lashed the ball to the Saints net after efforts by Joe Watson and Barry Costine had been blocked inside a crowded goalmouth but the home side did not really put pressure on the teak tough St Saviour’s defence afterwards and to make matters worse for the home side they had Costine sent off on 84 minutes after he picked up a second yellow card.

Waterford Crystal: Derek Hearne, Paul Quinlan, Niall Butler, David McEvoy, Pat Dobbyn, David McGrath, Martin Tynan, Keith Sheridan, Jason Halloran, Joe Watson, Barry Costine. Subs.: Brendan Rea for Halloran (64 mins), Paul Wyse for Dobbyn (H-T).

St Saviour’s: Graham Cleary, Phil Penkert, John Keane, James Kennedy, Kenny McLawrence, John Paul Jacob, Aaron O’Neill, Brian O’Donoghue, Billy Barron, Stephen Dalton, Joe Twomey. Sub.: Jamie Swift for Barron (82 mins).

Ref: Jimmy McGrath.