FAI Junior Cup
Eastwallbessborough – 3
Kingswood FC – 2
By Derek McKenna
AUL Premier A side Eastwallbessborough booked their place in the last 32 of the FAI Junior Cup with a hard fought victory over Kingswood FC from the LSL Major Div 1C at Clontarf Road on Saturday evening. The home side had a dream start to the game and were two goals up within the first four minutes, but a dogged and determined display from Kingswood pushed Eastwallbessborough all the way.
With just 50 seconds on the clock the Eastwallbessborough men were in front. A Declan Donnery corner found its way to Gareth Kilkenny and the winger poked the ball home to give his side a dream start. From the kick off Kingswood were straight on the attack and Ciaran Bissett’s shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Philip White.
With the game being played at electric pace Eastwallbessborough got their second in the fourth minute. Daniel Ennis hit a hopeful cross-field ball from the half way line towards the penalty area. With Karl Skelly in the Kingswood goal advanding to punch clear, the big man David Lee got there just before him to flick a looping header into the net.
As Eastwallbessborough sought to totally kill of the game Lee should have had his second. An excellent cross from Kilkenny found Lee unmarked on the penalty spot but his header flew wide of the left upright.
Eastwallbessborough were well on top in the early exchanges, with Kingswood resorting to long ball tactics and the big home rearguard dealing with everything thrown at them. The AUL side were playing a fast pressing game and not giving their opponents a moment to get any type of rhythm going. Both Kilkenny and Adnan Selimi looked impressive on either wing and Eastwallbessborough sought to utilise the width to attack.
Kingswood’s best chance of the half came in the 21st minute when John Broderick was put in on goal but his shot flew well wide.
The home side were left ruing another missed opportunity to kill the game soon after when Kieth Rickard pulled a great ball back to Robert Taffe whose attempt to place the ball in the corner went wrong and the effort went well wide.
As the half wore on Kingswood did come back into it more and began to get the ball on the deck. Both Bissett and Robbie Gaynor were always impressive on the ball, showing neat passing ability and good composure under pressure but the killer pass was lacking and their side went into the break two goals down.
With 55 on the clock the home team were again cursing their luck after a free kick into the box fell to Daniel Ennis but with his back to goal his spinning shot went inches wide. They were made to pay for it just minutes later. A driven cross from Broderick on the right into the box was poked home by Luke Halpin to get them back into the contest.
The goal gave Kingswood a sense of belief and they began to assert control over the game. A free kick from 35 yards out by Bissett had White scrambling but the keeper produced a great save in the bottom corner.
With 15 minutes remaining and with Kingswood looking the more likely to score with the possession and pressure they were applying, disaster struck for the away side. As Kilkenny gained possession inside the Kingswood box, a rash challenge by Ben Blake left the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. Up stepped Lee to blast home low and right, sending the keeper the wrong way.
With the clock ticking down Eastwallbessborough had two more good opportunities. First, Stephen Maguire broke through into the box but his shot blasted off the post and fell to safety. Soon after Kilkenny’s cross found Maguire in space again but his side-footed effort again hit the post and went wide.
Deep into injury time and Kingswood grabbed a consolation goal when Colin Lawlor blasted home from inside the box but the clock was against the Tallaght men and Eastwallbessborough go into the hat for the last 32 draw.