Ben Doyle gets in this tackle for Portlaoise against Banagher
MSL MAJOR DIVISION
Kinnegad Lions 0-3 Portlaoise Utd
Portlaoise Utd returned to Lagan Park in Kinnegad again, but this time they faced Kinnegad Lions after already beating Lions’ clubmates Kinnegad Colts here not that long ago.
Portlaoise Utd were looking to avenge an early season defeat in Portlaoise when they were on the wrong end of a 5-4 scoreline. Playing in temperatures around 2 degrees with a strong biting wind making it feel even colder, wooly hats even made an appearance on the pitch on the Lions’ side.
Within the first minute, a mix up in the Utd midfield gave the home side a chance to break in on goal but the Lions’ number 9 was thwarted by keeper Conor Brown. A few minutes later, Jamie Toman received a nice ball from Ben McDonald and tried to create a scoring opportunity but he got forced to the endline and the ball was cleared by the Lions’ defence.
Jamie Toman turned provider two minutes later feeding Alex Bennett who had to take a snap shot but the shot went just wide.
For the first ten minutes this game was end-to-end with both sides putting pressure on the opposition’s defences. Cian Rafter was again tackling well in midfield and Ben Dwyer and Cian Bartley Bray had their hands full on the back right hand side as Lions’ number 11 was trying to force his way through with his pace and trickery.
The home side enjoyed a few minutes of sustained pressure around this time but Utd held their own with Barry Fitzpatrick immense again.
Dan Ubesie has been performing really well in an advanced right side position in recent games and this was to be another good game for him. He worked hard to win the ball around the halfway line on more than one occasion and this time linked up with Alex Bennett to get a quick pass across the goal, but Ben Doyle could not react quickly enough to get a shot away and the danger was cleared.
Utd were creating the more promising chances and getting closer to goal. Cian Rafter and Ben McDonald were covering vast amounts of space on the pitch with great effect with Ben Doyle covering when required, and each of the middle three going forward and defending as needed.
On 14 minutes the end to end play resulted in the first goal. Utd had a great piece of team play starting with Ben Dwyer and Cian Bartley Bray breaking down a promising Lions attack. Cian Bartley Bray laid off quickly to Cian Rafter who passed to Dan Ubesie and he in turn passed to Alex Bennett who pressed hard and beat the keeper. A lovely team goal finished off well by Alex.
On 21 minutes Cian Bartley Bray and David Burke defended really well and David Burke used his left peg to ping a lovely ball forward to Cian Rafter. Cian ghosted in from the sideline and had a quick look up before unleashing a driving shot from 20 yards. The Lions’ keeper couldn’t hold the ball as it fizzed through his hands but luckily for him it went wide and out for a corner.
Five minutes before the end of the first half and the dangerous Lions’ number 11 beat three players and got to the byline, and he was lining up a cross or shot but saw the ball smothered at his feet bravely by keeper Conor Brown. The half time whistle blew after what seemed like a lightning speed and the score was 1-0 to Utd.
The second half started sharply with Cian Rafter unlucky not to add a second as his shot was pushed onto the post by the Lions’ keeper. The Lions had two chances in quick succession but both were well dealt with by Conor Brown. Both teams were pushing well for an important next goal in this game. Lions had another chance on 39 minutes when their number 11 again dribbled well with the ball to get a shot off but it was parried out for a corner by Conor Brown. The resulting corner came to nothing and went out for a goal kick.
One-nil then became 2-0 on 40 minutes when Dan Ubesie crossed in to Ben Doyle who beat the keeper and put the ball in the back of the net. Utd were good value for the lead on the clearer chances created but Lions were well in the game up to this point.
Utd kept the pressure up solidly for the next ten minutes and dominated chances and possession but could only get a few corners but no more goals came from them.
Dan Ubesie hit a cracker of a shot from 25 yards out but it was over the bar on 53 minutes. On 55 minutes, Imran Shitta passed to Ben Doyle who found Jamie Toman in the box. Jamie shot from the edge of the box but was just wide.
Utd had made a few changes with Cian Rafter moving into the defence and again doing a solid job with CIan Bartley Bray moving out to do well on the right. Luke Makim fitted in very well too when he came on and TJ Delaney was on earlier and causing all sorts of trouble up front.
With two minutes left on the clock and Jamie Toman was through on goal at lighting speed and shot on goal but the Lions’ keeper pulled off an excellent block and prevented the score creeping any higher.
The last kick of the game did indeed increase the scoreline. Dan Ubesie again crossed the ball in from the wing and the ball cleared the players approaching the near post but Ben Doyle was on the six yard line and volleyed home to make the score 3-0 to the away side.
A deserved win for Utd and a really solid performance across the team. Referee’s Man Of The Match was Cian Rafter who was consistent in everything he did beating lots of competition from several team mates. Close Call for Utd in Lions Cup Clash.
NATIONAL LIONS CUP ROUND 1
Portlaoise United 3 - 2 Arlington AFC
A great occasion for all happened at Rossleighan Park in Portlaoise, when the U-13 National Lions Club Youth Competition first round took place. Portlaoise United welcomed the visit of Arlington AFC from Portarlington to play on the first pitch and under the floodlights.
The Lions Clubs from both towns were represented and both teams welcomed the opportunity to represent their local Lions Club in this competition.
Portlaoise Utd started brightly, and as early as the first minute Ben Doyle found Dan Ubesie on the right side, who in turn floated a delightful ball to try and find Jamie Toman in the box, but the Arlington Keeper got there first to claim the ball.
Arlington were up for it from the start too as they tried their luck in the third minute from a free kick near the box but it just went over the crossbar.
The earliest decent chance fell to Utd from a corner that had been earned after excellent play from Kanye Tshula, Ben McDonald and Jamie Toman raiding down the left side. Ben McDonald fired in a super delivery from the corner to find the head of Barry Fitzpatrick but his effort just glanced left of the post with everyone beaten.
Conor Brown in the Utd goal had to pull off a few saves from Arlington in the next few minutes but was comfortable in dealing with it each time.
One of the resulting goal kicks found Barry Fitzpatrick in the back line and he split the Arlington midfield with a ball that fizzed right through to find Jamie Toman running onto it, beating the defender for pace and then beating the keeper with his shot. 1-0 to the home side.
Utd enjoyed a good period for the next 10minutes dominating possession and seeing a real battle between the Arlington defence and Dan and Jamie up front for Utd.
One promising attack saw Jamie Toman take the ball out from the back line after an Arlington attack was broken down, and he beat 4 Arlington players running the full length of the pitch towards goal. He worked well with Ben McDonald closer to the box only to see the ball crowded out for a corner by the Arlington Defence.
Utd were winning plenty of ball and a few corners but just struggling to find the target.
Between 21 and 25 minutes, Arlington’s number 10 attacked with intent and was unlucky to concede a free out on one occasion and saw his 20 yard thunderbolt go just wide on another occasion. Cian Bartley Bray and Mattie Kocon were doing an excellent job at the back to keep the chances to a minimum.
Utd’s Cian Rafter was putting in his usual no-nonsense tackling all over the pitch too breaking down attacks before they got started in earnest.
Utd finished the first half strongly though and got the reward for a strong half when Ben McDonald passed an excellent ball forward to TJ Delaney who beat a few defenders and shot under the advancing keeper to make it 2-0 just before the half time whistle.
Ben Doyle, Alex Bennett, Jamie Toman and Dan Ubesie all put pressure on the Arlington goal immediately after the restart and added to their tally five minutes into the second half.
Dan Ubesie did great work and found Ben Doyle who in turn passed to Jamie Toman. He could have went down in the box under the tackles, but he stayed on his feet and managed to slide the ball across the box where Ben Doyle was there to slot the ball home. 3-0 to the home side.
Ben Doyle had a chance to double his tally on 40 minutes when Jamie Toman crossed from the left, but Ben’s well connected volley was not strong enough to beat the keeper.
Utd made a number of changes over the next few minutes which seemed to work to Arlington’s advantage and Utd lost some of their momentum in attack but were holding firm in the battles. Ben Dwyer was doing some excellent tracking back to defend and to help out.
Arlington got a foothold back into the game on 47 minutes when a throw in resulted in the ball finding its way into a crowded edge of the box area. The Arlington striker managed to spin on the spot and fire the ball into the roof of the net past a blind-sided Conor Brown. 3-1 now and Arlington were improving in confidence.
Two minutes later, Utd conceded a penalty from a tackle near the edge of the box and the Arlington player made no mistake in converting the opportunity. 3-2 and a significant switch in momentum now.
Within the next minute, Arlington had a good chance to get through on goal but the attack was stopped due to offside. Imran Shitta and Dan Ubesie linked up well in the middle to fight for the ball giving Jamie Toman another chance as Utd got back on top for the remaining five minutes.
Barry Fitzpatrick made an excellent intervention between two Arlington attackers for the last significant threat by Arlington to put the ball out to safety. One excellent shot by Ben McDonald brought an equally excellent diving save from the Arlington keeper as Ben McDonald, Jamie Toman, Dan Ubesie and Alex Bennett all had chances to add a safety cushion to the score line but to no avail.
The final whistle saw the end to a very fast, fair and competitive game between two good sides who enjoyed playing on a super pitch and under the bright lights. Not a bad tackle in a game played in great spirit with Arlington showing great fight to almost draw level. Portlaoise Utd move on to the next round in this competition.
Thanks to the Lions Clubs from both Portlaoise and Portarlington for providing food for all the players and transport for the away team.