Dungarvan United 2; Southend United 1
Dungarvan United are still in with a shout of winning the league title following the dramatic game in Kilrush Park on Sunday morning last.
A depleted Southend team were short up to six regular players and when they lost the service of both Michael Farrell and David Croke early in the second half they had a mountain to climb even though they had the advantage of a one-goal lead.
Kilrush Park was in pristine condition for the game and there is no doubt whatsoever that this venue is one of the best in the entire country.
What proved to be the winning goal arrived in the last minute and a wonderful goal it proved to be. Aidan Landers found the net with a stunning strike from all of 35 yards and in fairness they probably deserved to win because they peppered the visitors’ goal all through the second half.
Despite losing, Southend can take a lot of positives from this match, ahead of another vital game against Waterford Crystal next Saturday.
Southend got off to a brilliant start by scoring after only 4 minutes of play. Anthony O’Rourke, who was to enjoy a great opening 45 minutes on the left wing, sprayed the ball out wide right to Paddy Carey. His deep cross was only partially cleared by the Dungarvan goalkeeper Alan Landers and Lee Hayes pounced to shoot home from close range.
Five minutes later Trevor Crotty took a pass from Tommy Butler but his shot from 20 yards went over the crossbar. Back came Southend with Anthony O’Rourke splitting the Dungarvan defence and Kristian Walsh raced forward to meet the ball but goalkeeper Alan Landers raced from his line to kick clear.
Anthony O’Rourke took off on another brilliant run on 18 minutes before picking out Paul Carey with a low pass but Carey was inches wide from just inside the penalty area.
Sean Walsh, the Southend goalkeeper, saved superbly from Gavin Crotty after 38 minutes. Tommy Butler played in Crotty but his hard low shot from 16 yards was saved by the legs of Sean Walsh.
Anthony O’Rourke was having a field day at this stage and on 41 minutes he cut in from the left and made Alan Landers work with a blistering angled drive.
Southend United’s plans went up in smoke during the opening minutes of the second half. After only 3 minutes defender Michael Farrell was helped off with a head injury and shortly afterwards David Croke departed with a leg injury.
Youngsters Jamie Power and Chris Feehan had to come on and as a result the defence had to be re-shaped completely. Dungarvan took full advantage of the situation and they began to move forward at every opportunity.
Gavin Crotty passed to Micheal Downey out on the right on 62 minutes but after beating goalkeeper Sean Walsh, defender Micchael Caulfield got in a sliding clearance to keep Southend’s lead intact.
However the home side got back on level terms on 65 minutes. Defender Christy Power played a long ball downfield from inside his own half. Micheal Downey took off with blistering pace and when he cut in from the right he drilled the ball into the far corner of the net.
That goal was the signal for a Dungarvan siege and they rammed in shot after shot at the visitors’ goal. Gavin Crotty, Trevor Crotty and Tommy Butler all had efforts blocked by a Southend defence that were working overtime at this stage.
Jondy Byrne then made Sean Walsh work with an angled drive from the right. On 75 minutes Gavin Crotty passed to Micheal Downey but after he got past Steven Forsey he blazed wide from a very good position.
A super move involving Trevor Cotty and Gavin Crotty saw the latter shoot wildly wide after 85 minutes. It looked as if Southend were going to hold out for a precious point until Aidan Landers popped up with his stunning winner. Mark Crotty played the ball to Gavin Crotty who in turn played it into the path of Aidan Landers who let fly with his right foot from all of 35 yards. His pile-driver left Sean Walsh helpless.
Dungarvan United: Alan Landers, Jondy Byrne, Derek Barry, Christy Power, Tony Fitzgerald, Aidan Landers, Trevor Crotty, Gavin Crotty, Miccheal Downey, Mark Crotty, Tommy Butler. Sub: Pat Quinn for Butler (86 mins).
Southend United: Sean Walsh, Daniel O’Sullivan, Steven Forsey, Michael Farrell, Michael Caulfield, Paul Carey, Paddy Carey, David Croke, Lee Hayes, Kristian Walsh, Anthony O’Rourke. Subs: Chris Feehan for Farrell (48 mins), Jamie Power for Croke (51 mins).
Referee: Ian Paul.