Shelbourne win to keep pressure on UCD

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Shelbourne fans in Tolka Park

Shelbourne came away from Tolka Park with a deserved three points against an ill-disciplined Waterford United. At this stage of the season and with a dog fight on their hands with UCD for the final play off spot, Kevin Doherty’s squad knew that they couldn’t let any precious points slip through the cracks.

The home side dominated the first half and could have gone ahead early in the game. Defender Sean Heaney picked up a loose ball in the box. His effort went across the face of goal but ultimately went wide.

Shelbourne continued to press ahead with Dylan McGlade in particular, giving the Waterford defence headaches as he dashed down the right wing. He also created a few good chances in the process for his side with splendid crosses into the box. Unfortunately, the end product by the targeted players were not good enough and they did little to trouble the keeper.

The deadlock was broken midway through the half. Defender Adam O’Connor played a beautiful low cross from the right side of the area. The ball was met by James English, who clipped the ball with the inside of his right foot. The effort was enough to creep by Waterford keeper, Robert Birdsall.

Waterford’s night didn’t get any better as defender Dean Reidy had to be replaced after half an hour by Robbie Buckley with what looked like a leg injury. the away side pushed ahead late into the half and Anthony McAlavey gave Shels a scare before the break. The striker managed to round Greg Murray but he went too far and was left with a near impossible shot from an angle, which went wide.

The visitors could have easily gone down to 10 men late in the first half as Colum Nugent went in hard and late on Shels goalscorer, James English. The defender can count him lucky that he wasn’t taking an early bath.

Shelbourne started the second half like they had left the first, pressing on the visitors and pushing forward. Their pressure paid off as English nabbed his second goal of the game after only only one minute of play in the second half. Gareth Coughlan played a lovely short pass to the striker, who hit it hard and low from right to left. The ball beat an outstretching Birdsall, who could have done better to keep his side in the game.

Waterford then attempted to get into the game once more and again went close. The best chance for the visitors came mid way throughout the half, Corey Galvin with the ball and like a bolt of lightening, made his way down the pitch. He picked out Aaron O’Connor with a lovely pass but the target man could only shoot straight at shot stopper Murray.

The game was all but over with less then 10 minutes to go. Nugent, who was lucky not to be sent off in the first half, went in late with two feet on Sean Heaney. The Waterford man was shown a straight red. Heaney was very lucky to walk away from the tackle as it looked much worse.

The visitors were immediately punished by the hosts. Substitute, Conor Earley, made he was into the box but picked out an unmarked Carl Walshe on the edge of the area. The striker moved into the area and dummied the defence. He then took a crack at goal. His effort was low and went across the area. Again, Birdsall was caught out and ball creeped by him to make it 3-0.

The victory leaves Shelbourne in fourth place but only one point behind third place UCD, who lost to Finn Harps. Manager, Kevin Doherty will be hoping his side can keep up a similar performance in their last two games of the season, against Wexford Youths and Cobh Ramblers, and push for a play off place and try and secure a return to the top division.

Waterford United drop to the bottom of the league as Cabinteely move ahead after a victory against Cobh Ramblers. Manager Roddy Collins will be disappointed with the overall performance of his side but he knows this team is a work in progress. Arguably, Waterford’s goal now is to get off the bottom of the league and look toward the work that needs to be done ahead of next season.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, O’Connor, Osam, Robinson, Heaney (Donnelly 85′), Doyle (C) (Andrews 85′), Coughlan (Earley 71′), Crowe, Walshe, English, McGlade

Substitutes: Brady, Dixon, Sandford, O’Sullivan
Goals: English (27′, 46′), Walshe (85′)
Yellow Cards: Robinson (40′)

Waterford United: Birdsall, Corcoran, Reidy (Buckley 32′), Nugent, Mackey, Boyle (C), E.Galvin (Nolan ’85), O’Connor, Prendergast (Walsh 56′), McAlavey, C.Galvin

Substitutes: Connor
Yellow Cards: Nugent (44′)
Red Cards: Nugent (83′)

Referee: Robert Hennessey

Attendance: 513

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Shelbourne take three points from Athlone visit

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Tolka Park

Shelbourne secured a 3-1 win on a chilly summer’s night at Tolka Park. The match had its share of controversy but a fine display by the hosts meant they took all three points and kept their sights firmly on the promotion race back to the Premier Division.

It was the home side that got off to a flying start after only four minutes of play. Shelbourne were awarded a free kick some 25 yards out and Gareth Coughlan stood up to the dead ball effort. His effort was low and was missed by all in the box. However, it landed at the feet of Sean Heaney. The defender, from six yards out, struck the ball into the back of the net. Athlone’s Philip Gorman was unlucky not to clear the ball off the line and will no doubt be rueing in not reaching the ball.

Shels were setting the pace in the first quarter to half an hour of the game and were closing down Athlone at every attempt when the visitors were on the ball. It wasn’t until the 20th minute that Athlone had their first real effort of the game. Daniel Purdy struck a free kick some 30 to 35 yards out. It was a fine effort, which was hit with some force. However, Shels keeper Greg Murray was on hand to collect the ball and keep his team ahead.

It was all Shels from thereon in. A long ball was picked up sweetly by Philip Hughes, who then dipped it over the head of Athlone defender Aidan Collins. The striker then connected with the ball for an effort on goal. His shot though, went across the box and wide of the goal. The Athlone fans let out a collective exhale as they witnessed their side stay in the game.

Heaney was close to doubling his side’s lead, and his own tally at that, close to end of the first half. Coughlan whipped in an lovely effort into the box. Defender, Heaney was the first to meet the ball but his effort just crept over the crossbar and out for a goal kick. The final bit of play of the half was left to veteran striker Hughes and Shels new boy James English. Hughes managed to weave his way to the edge of the box and saw his younger teammate creeping up behind him. He played the ball off to English but the young man’s effort to return the favour was poor and was cleared away by the Athlone defence.

When the sides returned to the pitch, it was Athlone Town that looked the livelier side. Stephen Dunne had an good effort from just outside the area. He struck the ball well but it took a slight deflection and was collected easily by Murray.

In the end, Athlone Town’s attacking efforts paid off. The visitors worked their way into the box and made some lovely passes within the box. the ball landed to Aidan Friel just inside the edge of the box. His pass picked out Jamie O’Donnell, who from seven or eight yards out powered the ball into the back of the net.

Shels hit back though and were close to retaking the lead when Daire Doyle met the ball with the back of his head. The effort looped high but sailed over the bar and didn’t trouble Paddy Dunican.

The next few minutes were turbulent to say the least. Shelbourne kept pushing at and attacking the Athlone defence. It was if they were adamant to get that vital goal. The clock was creeping up to the 65th minute when Coughlan, on the half way line, chipped a lovely ball ahead of Hughes. It was a battle between Hughes and Town captain, Brian Shorthall, to win the ball. The striker did enough to bully the defender off the ball and from inside the box fired an effort that hit the back of the net. Shels were in the lead again.

The match had only restarted when, Athlone goalscorer, O’Donnell went in high on a tackle with Jake Donnelly. The referee didn’t need to hear the roar of the crowd to make up his mind on this one. It was a straight red for the striker.

Shelbourne used their advantage of having an extra man on the field. They constantly attacked when on the ball and used the long ball effectively. Their only offence was leaving their visitors with too much space to creep through and collect incoming passes.

Athlone to their credit were close to getting an equaliser towards the end of the proceedings. Purdy whipped in a free kick and Gorman, with plenty of space, lept into the air and tried to head the ball down towards the goal but his effort sailed over the crossbar and had Shels manager, Kevin Doherty, furious that his defence left so much space free for an effort to be made.

With the game in injury time, Shelbourne killed it off. Dylan McGlade collected a lovely high pass. The winger nutmeged the oncoming defender and worked his way around him. Collecting the ball at the right hand side, McGlade fired the ball high, over the keeper and into the back of net. The effort had those in the stands in amazement. His manager showed his delight with a punch of his fist into the cool Tolka breeze.

The final whistle was met with loud cheers from the home support as Shelbourne’s notched up their third league win in succession. This results now leaves them in third place in the league, three points ahead of UCD. However, the students have two games in hand. Shels will travel to the Regional Sports Centre next weekend to take on Waterford United.

This loss leaves Athlone Town with only one victory in their last five league games. They now sit in fifth place, six points behind the aforementioned UCD. They will have their hands full next week as they host league leaders, Wexford Youths.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, O’Connor, Osam, Robinson, Heaney, Doyle (C), Coughlan, Donnelly (Walsh 74′), Hughes, English (Walshe 79′), McGlade (Kehoe 91)

Substitutes: Ryan, Andrews, Gannon, Robinson
Goals: Heaney (4′), Hughes (64′), McGlade (90′)
Yellow Cards: Doyle (17′)

ATHLONE TOWN: Dunican, Friel, Doyle, Shortall (C) (Mulroney 71′), Collins, Dunne, Boyne, Purdy, Gorman, O’Neill (Gaul 67′), O’Donnell

Substitutes: Gleeson, O’Connor, Kelly, Hewitt, Molloy
Goals: O’Donnell (56′)
Yellow Cards: Friel (32′)
Red Cards: O’Donnell (66′)

Referee: John McLaughlin

Attendance: 583

Shelbourne outclass Cabinteely for precious three points

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Shelbourne fans in Tolka ParkShelbourne picked up their first three points since late March after a fine performance against seventh place Cabinteely. Coincidentally, those last three points were picked up in the reverse fixture against the visitors to Tolka Park. The win will also ease the pressure somewhat on manager, Kevin Doherty. He will be hoping that this victory will the put the life back into his squad as they try to move forward after a tough couple of weeks.

The first half started well for the home side. Shelbourne poured the pressure on their visitors from the off. Wingers, Gareth Coughlan and Dylan McGlade troubled the Cabinteely defense on numerous occasions, shifting sides and connecting with some lovely passes to Mark Sandford. The forward covered every blade of grass on the pitch in an effort to win the ball for his side.

The home side’s pressure paid off just before half time. Defender, Adam O’Connor picked up the ball on the edge of the box. With plenty of time to shoot, O’Connor hit the ball with a soft touch of his right foot. His effort crept past Cabinteely keeper, Even Whelan and into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

Cabinteely also had some chances to get into the game. However, they just couldn’t make their efforts work. John McKeown was allowed too much space in the box with the ball early on. Fortunately for Shels, the midfielder scuffed his effort and the home side were able to clear the ball.

It was all Shelbourne in the second half. The home side had most of the possession and were constantly attacking their visitors whenever the chance came begging. They were unlucky to add a second goal to their tally. Their best effort was a Conor Earley free kick from the edge of the area. His effort went just over the crossbar. There was also a penalty shout in the dying moments of the game. Craig Walsh looked to be taken down in the box. However, the referee saw it differently and showed the midfielder a yellow card for a dive.

Cabinteely could have snuck a goal in before full-time to take an undeserving point away from Tolka Park. Midfielder, Evan Finnegan, was allowed plenty of time on the ball on the edge of the box. He struck his effort low and hard but it went across the box and inches wide of the post. Shelbourne held off the late attack and secured a precious three points.

Hero

Mark Sandford. The striker was unlucky to be taken off after 63 minutes. However, he had done enough in that time and probably should have put his name on the scoresheet. He was tracking down the ball at every effort and put the Cabinteely defense under pressure whenever he could. A fine display by the young striker.

Zero

Victor Ekanem and Robert Maloney. The central defenders were beaten multiple times by Mark Sandford and Philly Hughes. They were lucky not to concede more goals throughout the game as Shelbourne were relentless in pursuing for a second.

The Crowd Pleaser

The home fans were happy to see their side play some exciting football following last week’s poor showing. However, the pieces of skill that impressed the crowd were undoubtedly, the beautiful long passes made by Dylan McGlade. The winger’s passes were impressive and nearly all of them landed at the feet of their intended target. It was definitely an improvement on last week’s display and got the crowd buzzing.

Best Battle

Dylan Mc Glade vs Daniel Campbell and Jamie McGlynn. The Shels winger zipped past the two full backs several times and made it look easy. Between changing flanks with his partner on the wing, Gareth Coughlan, McGlade managed to work the ball into the box several times and made some perfect long passes to the feet of Sandford and Hughes.

What Happens Next?

With this win Shelbourne end a streak of four league games without a victory. Their next fixture is an away tie against Athlone Town. The reverse fixture ended with a 3-1 win for The Town in Tolka Park, a rarity. The Drumcondra side now move up a spot in the table from sixth to fifth after Cobh Rambler’s lost away to Wexford Youths.

Cabinteely stay put in seventh place with eight points, one ahead of bottom side, Waterford United who held Finn Harps to a 2-2 draw at Finn Park. It’s the clash of the bottom two next week as Cabinteely travel to Waterford United for their next league tie.

SHELBOURNE: Murray, O’Connor, Osam, Robinson, Heaney, Doyle (C), Coughlan (Earley 67′), Walsh, Hughes, Sandford (O’Sullivan 63′), McGlade

Substitutes: Brady, Donnelly, Crowe, Kehoe, Gannon
Goals: O’Connor (41′)
Yellow Cards: Doyle (13′), Coughlan (42′), Robinson (60′), Walsh (87′)

Cabinteely: Whelan, Campbell (Cairns 76′), McGlynn, Ekanem, Maloney(C), Finnegan, Brilly, McKeown (Mazono 44′), Pender, Hanley, Foley (Fahy 66′)

Substitutes: J. Broderick, R. Broderick, Cairns, O’Neill, Hyland

Referee: David Keeler

Attendance: 391

Top of the table clash as Shelbourne host Athlone Town

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Tolka Park

It’s first versus third in this early clash of title contenders as Shelbourne host Athlone Town at Tolka Park. The two sides are on equal points with the sides separated on goal difference.

The home side drew their opening game of the season 0-0, at Tolka Park to Finn Harps. They have since followed that up with impressive 1-0 wins away to UCD and Cabinteely respectively. Shels also progressed into the second round of the EA Sports Cup with a fine victory away to Premier Division side Drogheda United. They will be travelling back to Louth in the next round, as they face reigning champions and reigning Premier Division champions, Dundalk.

The visitors also drew their opening fixture of the season after a very late equaliser prevented Athlone coming away with the full three points at Waterford United. The Town went on to win comfortably against Cobh Ramblers, 4-0 and secured a 2-1 victory away to UCD. Athlone crashed out of the EA Sports Cup, losing 3-0 away to an in-form Bohemians’ side.

In the last 10 meetings between the sides, Shelbourne have been victorious seven times, while there have been three draws. Athlone Town will know that defeat here, while still early days, will put them on the back foot on what will be a competitive season ahead.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s game, Shelbourne manager, Kevin Doherty said, “Athlone are a team of quality players. I have watched them and have had them watched. It will be difficult but we feel that we have prepared well for the game and we’re now looking forward to Friday.”

Shelbourne are still without Simon Dixon and Paul Andrews. The former still some weeks away, while Andrews expects to be back in the next two weeks. Dylan McGlade limped out of a friendly against Newbridge Town on Tuesday night with a hamstring injury and will also miss out on Friday. Adam O’Connor did come through that game at Station Road and will be in contention for a starting position against Athlone. Manager, Doherty, has no suspensions to contend with.

The home side will also be without Sean Heaney, who scored the winner against UCD two weeks ago. The on-loan defender is away on international duty with Paul Doolin’s Under 19s in Germany.

Athlone Town have no suspensions but manager, Eddie Wallace, may be without Brian Shortall. The defender is nearing fitness but is still a doubt ahead of the trip to his former club.