LSL Senior Sunday
With Gary Dempsey and John Lester on the pitch Greystones could lay claim to having a League of Ireland legend and a legend of the FAI Junior Cup and AUL on the pitch, but it was a legend of all things Leinster Senior League that proved the difference at the Iveagh League Grounds on Tuesday night.
Bangor talisman Lar Dunne produced a masterclass and scored his sides two goals as the Crumlin based outfit bounced back from an away league defeat to Portmarnock and an FAI Intermediate Cup reverse to St Mochtas to return to winning ways.
The home captain should have had a hat trick, but his two first half goals proved enough to move his side to seventh and leave Greystone’s in the bottom three at this early stage.
Bangor got off to the perfect start and were a goal up within a matter of seconds. An attack down the left came to nothing, but Yanis managed to pick up the ball wide on the right. The youngster, who showed some glimpses of real talent in the first half, cut back on his left and dug out a brilliant cross to the back post where Ronan Byrne was waiting.
Byrne saw a header brilliantly saved by Adam Hayden, who pushed onto the cross bar, but midfielder Dunne showed the instincts of a striker to pounce on the rebound and score.
Wing back Dan Blackbyrne threatened to level minutes later when he followed a driving run with a low drive, but Stephen Conlon proved equal to the shot.
Greystones did enjoy a period of possession over the next few minutes, but while Blackbyrne was impressing down the right and they showed some nice touches they really lacked a presence up top.
Bangor’s organisation and determination hampered them, but they struggled to get numbers in the box and lacked a line leader.
Celtic were certainly not under the cois and looked dangerous when they broke. Indeed Dunne had an effort saved after a brilliant touch from Yanis allowed Graham Zambra, Dunne and Luke Synott to combine on the break.
Dan Treanor did have a volley over after a brilliant Dempsey dink in behind the defence, but it wasn’t long before Bangor were doubling their advantage.
‘Stones were caught cold again after they gave away a silly free just on the edge of the area. The quick thinking Byrne took it quick and slipped in Lar Dunne on the left hand side of the box, the captain opened his body and curled home.
Among the expletives of the rear back line two on the side line could be heard praising Dunne- ‘He’s a Rolls Royce’ quipped one- ‘he is around that long he is a vintage one’ was the response- ‘well which is worth more’ was final the retort.
The visitors switched to 4-4-2 immediately after going two behind, but still struggled in the final third partly due to Bangor’s organisation and partly due to the lack of a natural striker.
During that period Zambra had two efforts from range and Yanis also tried his luck to no avail.
Greystone’s continued to try and play and Ian Jordan had an effort routinely saved after good work from Lester and Karl Manahan.
Byrne then just couldn’t get enough on another Yanis cross not long before the wide man crossed for Zambra, who headed wide. Gary Dempsey then had a volley routinely saved as the sides traded half chances.
Manahan did have a chance to reduce the deficit right on the stroke of half time, but after being played in by Dempsey he was denied by a good Conlon save.
Greystone’s reshuffled further at half time and did see an early shot over the bar, but again couldn’t trouble the hosts at the back.
They did attempt to put crosses into the area, but Bangor defended them brilliantly. At that stage there was a sense if Bangor got their foot on the ball they could have put Greystones to the sword, but desperate for the win they were more shape and battle keen.
They did show great spirit and an admirable work rate, indeed they were rejoicing in the dirty side of the game and slowly broke the hearts of their opponents.
Andy Dunne was particularly impressive at right back with a number of key interceptions and tackles. The full back, who manned a midfield role last season also showed his passing range and hit Zambra with a 40 yard pass, but the striker hit the side netting.
Greystone’s continued to try, but just couldn’t get numbers forward or match Bangor for work rate and as the half wore on began to get sloppy.
As a result Celtic had the better of the chances as the game came to a close. Micheal Fox fired over after running straight at the visiting back line, while fellow sub Aaron Coleman curled over after another Andy Dunne pass. Hayden was then out brilliantly to deny Coleman as Bangor looked for a third.
They thought they had it right at the death when Lar Dunne went in one on one, but the midfielder pulled his shot inches wide of the post.