A good start is half the battle, but a good finish is equally effective and Dynamo Town ticked both of those boxes to snatch all three points against Gracefield Athletic on their own patch Sunday morning.
CCFL Division 2
Dynamo Town 4
Gracefield Athletic 3
The win sees Town leapfrog the hosts and take top spot in Division 2, and already that race looks like becoming the most hotly contested in the upper ranks of the CCFL this season. In one of the games of the season so far, this one had it all. Gracefield settled slightly better and had a couple of long range shots that just failed to hit to target, but somehow Dynamo hit back and from their only two attacks in the early stages, they registered two goals to leave the home side scratching their heads.
Michael Cala bagged the first when he raced on to a clever ball over the top from James Ryan. Stand-in keeper John Lawrence denied Cala initially with a point-blank save but Cala was fortunate to see the ball come back out at his feet and he tucked the rebound into the empty Gracefield net. And on the tenth minute completely against the run of play, Town hit their second. Alan Bell’s hanging free was poorly dealt with at the back and when Johnny Keogh’s header looped invitingly in the air, James Ryan was on hand to prod a header back across goal to double Town’s advantage.
Gracefield kept their heads high and should have been back in the tie in a matter of minutes but neither Robbie Knight nor Eoghan Gleeson could finish their well-worked chances in front of goal. In the end, it took a glaring mistake from Dynamo keeper Shane O’Grady to get the hosts back in contention. Emmet Geoghegan swung a cross from deep towards Eamon Kelly but it evaded everyone and O’Grady could only look on in horror as the ball trickled into the bottom left hand corner.
Their equaliser came from equally unconvincing keeping with just over five minutes of the first half remaining. Skipper David Cox swung in an inviting cross and Eamon Kelly stooped down low to head it past O’Grady who perhaps could have done a little better to stop it creeping in. O’Grady did make amends on the stroke of half-time when the usually reliable Bernie Bland played a poor ball across his own goal and only a smart O’Grady stop from Robbie Knight’s shot kept the scores level at the interval.
The second half was equally as exciting with both sides battling to claim a win that would see them hit the top of the table. After a number of good chances at either end, Gracefield took the lead for the first time when Robbie Knight’s fizzing cross was smashed home at the back post by Emmet Geoghegan.
That looked like being the winner as Dynamo went off the boil for large parts of the second period, but they sprang back to life in the final ten minutes to capture an unlikely win. Liamie Marum got the equaliser with a stunning diving header from Philip Scully’s searching cross, and Scully bagged the winner with three minutes left when out of nothing he turned to plant a fine shot past the Gracefield keeper. The home side can count themselves mightily unlucky to come away with nothing, but Dynamo battled to the death and they took the points in what could be a key result come next May.
GRACEFIELD: John Lawrence, David Cox, Michael Wilcox (Joe Dimelli 85), Johnny Keogh, Willy Smith, Eoghan Gleeson, Lee Bryan, Tom Slevin, Emmet Geoghegan, Eamon Kelly (Pierce Mitchell 79), Robbie Knight.
DYNAMO TOWN: Shane O’Grady, Philip Scully, Shane O’Loughlin (Michael Marum 86), Cathal Neville, Bernie Bland, Eugene Lacumber, Alan Bell, James Ryan, Michael Cala, Liamie Marum, Peter Brophy.
Referee: Columba McDermott