Football

Published on April 22nd, 2013 | by admin

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Last minute winner secures second minor league win

The Old Thatch Inn Minor ‘A’ Football League
Lavey 1-07 Bellaghy 2-03

Deserved to win but, in the end, fortunate to do so.

A contradiction that is not out of place in the description of a game largely dominated by the elements.

A strong breeze blew for the entire duration, often threatening to prove decisive but, ultimately, failing to do so.

Having clawed back a four point half time deficit to level matters, a series of missed opportunities by Lavey, playing with the second half strong breeze, gave a battling Bellaghy side growing hope.

As a high ball from Bellaghy’s Ruairi McElwee somehow evaded the Lavey defence to end up in the net, it was the visitors who looked to have sealed the two points – holding a three point advantage with four minutes of the game remaining.

To their credit, these young Lavey players never gave up. As they continued to press, two sweet strikes by Niall Toner ultimately proved decisive. The first was a well struck free from distance which resulted in a point – the placed kick awarded following an abrupt ending of a penetrating run by Toner which threatened more.

With two points the gap with as many minutes remaining, the second Toner strike, a brilliantly angled cross field pass, was bundled to the net by corner forward Dominic Duggan to secure the victory in dramatic fashion.

It was drama which had been kept in reserve throughout the first half. Lavey struggled with their shooting in the face of the strong breeze allowing Bellaghy to gradually build a lead.

Declan Hughes opened the scoring after four minutes with a long range free against the breeze. However, it would be twenty five minutes before the home side would register their second score, often dominating, but failing to convert possession into scores during that period.

Following an equalising free from close range, Bellaghy let Lavey ‘off the hook’ when Ruairi McElwee steered a penalty wide of the post. A further two pointed frees gave the blues a 0-03 to 0-01 advantage after 18 mins, as again, Lavey continued to dominate possession without troubling the scoreboard operator.

With Hughes a strong presence in midfield constantly driving his team forward, and Toner probing for gaps alongside the impressive Shea Downey and Dominic Duggan, Lavey looked comfortable until a long ball caught them out at the back, resulting a Bellaghy goal with two minutes to half time.

Just as they did at the end of the second half, Lavey dug deep to register that second, but vital score from Declan Hughes on the stroke of half time.

The sense during the interval was one of the four point gap being manageable given the conditions. However, as is often the case when playing with the breeze, scores became difficult to come by as the pressure grew.

Duggan got the second half effort underway opening the scoring after 35 mins. Within a minute, Toner had reduced the margin to two points, and then to the bare minimum following an inspirational run and finish – this time off his left foot.

It was Duggan who would bring the sides level shortly afterwards with a point when the goal was on. At that point and with ten minutes remaining, Lavey looked sure to go on to win the game.

However, to their credit Bellaghy offered strong resistance against the breeze as McElwee’s long hopeful ball set in train the dramatic closing stages in which the lead exchanged hands in dramatic fashion, but ultimately the home side maintain their unbeaten league record for 2013.

Lavey scorers: Dominic Duggan 1-02, Niall Toner 0-03, Declan Hughes 0-02

The Old Thatch Inn ACFL Under 18A

Position Team Played Won Lost Drawn For Against Diff Points
1 Lavey 2 2 0 0 27 24 3 4
2 Slaughtneil 2 1 1 0 38 18 20 2
3 Glen 1 1 0 0 18 5 13 2
4 Magherafelt 1 1 0 0 16 6 10 2
5 Ballinascreen 2 1 1 0 32 27 5 2
6 Bellaghy 2 1 1 0 23 23 0 2
7 Loup 2 1 1 0 9 34 -25 2
8 Dungiven 2 0 2 0 21 33 -12 0
9 Ballinderry 2 0 2 0 11 25 -14 0

Click here for complete league results to date


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