LSL Senior 1 Sunday
Tolka Rovers were singing in the in monsoon after they won a top of the table clash thanks to the most unlikeliest of comebacks on Wednesday night.
A Tolka fight back shouldn’t be that surprising considering Stephen Doran’s men have showed fighting spirit in abundance this term- the majority of their points have come after turning ties on their head by either levelling or snatching all three points with late goals.
However, when they went two goals down against a very good Liffey Wanderers side it looked as if even Lazarus himself couldn’t help them come back to life.
Yet Rovers came back from the dead and within five minutes were level and true to the nature of their season they snatched all three points in dramatic rain soaked class with just seconds remaining and go top.
Possibly in a show of sympathy to their support Tolka were not keen on yet another late late show and started on the front foot. Captain Karl Young seemed particularly fired up, was full of running and flew into a tackle or two. Philly Nolan was also probing regular down the right and began a brilliant personal duel with Anthony Gray that ran for the evening.
However, it was Liffey’s who had the first real chance. Dean Gannon did well from a Gray clearance and his industry up top eventually led to Conor Riddick volleying over the apex.
Philly Nolan then hit the side netting after Jordi Nolan had crossed low from a clever Ken Oman pass. The then game proceeded to settle down a bit. Liffey’s looked more comfortable on the ball, but were playing across the back line more than causing trouble in the final third while Tolka struggled for cohesion.
Indeed, at that stage Tolka were certainly full of fight, but lacked cohesion. Shane Dolan began to drop deep as the home midfield struggled to get on the ball and the lack of runners then off him caused issues. It became obvious Rovers were a team still trying to gel where you could see Wanderers showed the cohesion of a team that have been growing together season after season.
In saying that both defences looked comfortable and neither side were creating much in the way of clear cut chances. FAI Intermediate Cup champions Liffey’s did eventually break the dead lock midway through the half but it was no surprise the opener came via something special.
Gannon did well to take a well won Gray header from the sky, control and feed Riddick. The former Regions Cup winner played a pass that begged for Clayton Maher to break down the right. However, the wide man cut inside worked his way past two challenges and fired home brilliantly from 20 yards with his left foot.
The visitors took the impetuses from that time on and Gannon fizzed one wide after again being allowed to collect the ball and turn before Riddick saw a shot saved after a break away move involving Lee Roche and Gannon.
Tolka were still in the tie and had chances to level before the turn Graham Curran, who was one of a number of full backs to impress on the wet night, had an effort saved after picking up a second ball in the box after Dolan challenged for a header before a brilliant challenge from the ever calm Andrews prevented Young a free run on goal.
The second half began at a frantic pace. There wasn’t too much in the way of football being played, but the battle for supremacy was intriguing nonetheless.
When things settled Wanderers did look the more likely and on the hour mark they took opened up an advantage they never looked likely to concede.
Riddick split the defence with a brilliantly weighted pass, made even more impressive considering it was played on the slipperiest of surfaces and Aidan Roche found himself through on goal as a result. The sub took the ball in his stride and slide the it under the keeper to register his first goal of the season and put the visitors two to the good.
At that stage Tolka looked dead and buried. However, within a minute the home side had reduced the arrears a good passage of play down the right lead to a corner on the left hand side. Jordi Nolan whipped it in with real intent and the ball found passage into the top corner.
Once the comeback kings got a sense of another revival they changed from deflated to pumped up a few passages of play later they were all square.
Another foray down the right allowed Curran to cross the ball wasn’t cleared properly and fell to left back Adam Crowther, who fired right footed through the bodies to level from 14 yards.
To their credit Liffey’s didn’t sit in and if anything became more adventurous desperate for the win. As a result an already entertaining clash became an end to end affair.
Aidan Roche fired wide after Riddick had cushioned a cross to him with his shoulder, before Crowther hit the side netting after a corner was cleared off the line at the other end.
Both sides were going for it and Stipe Vidic thought he had won it for Wanderers with 10 minutes to go when another clever Riddick pass encouraged him forward from right back, he checked inside beat two challenges and curled milometers wide left footed much to the pain of the away support.
The game looked destined to end all square, but Tolka managed to steal it right at the death. Paddy Obijur’s picked up a second ball 40 yards out and cushioned a pass down the right flank. An offside player raised his hands to indicate he wasn’t partaking, but Curran burst from deep onto the pass, continued into the box and pulled back toward the peno spot were Eamon Moynahan was waiting to fire home left footed and spark wild celebrations.
The result now means Tolka go top of the table two points ahead of Wanderers albeit with games in hand.