A controversial penalty decision with fifteen minutes remaining snatched a point for Mountmellick against an Arlington side that had controlled much of this U-19 league clash in Conor Davis Park on Saturday afternoon.
CCFL U-19 League
Mountmellick Utd 1
Arlington AFC 1
The visitors had controlled most of the game but their poor discipline cost them dearly and their slim chances of title glory now look to have been blown.
United have endured a torrid run of form in the league of late but they will take a lot of heart from this battling display. In truth however, they were fortunate to come away with anything from this one. Arlington bossed the opening period and should have been at least two or three up at the break. As it was, they managed only a single goal, and once they started to lose their cool after the break, Mountmellick responded to notch only their fifth point from ten league games to date.
Dean Broughan and Richie Reynolds both saw decent chances fly just wide of the target as Arlington applied all of the early pressure, but when the opening goal finally came it had more than a slight helping hand from the Mountmellick defence. United’s otherwise outstanding skipper Cathal Cleary misplaced a clearance that landed at the feet of Broughan and his low shot crept underneath the outstretched hand of United keeper Paul Allen and into the bottom left hand corner of the home net.
United struggled to create much at the other end, with their only significant chance coming on the half hour mark. Great work down the right wing from David Lee and Paddy Davis opened up the Arlington defence and Robbie Ryan was allowed to take in Davis’ cross before turning to hit a decent half-volley that Arlington keeper Ross Dunne did well to turn around the post.
Arlington failed to build on their lead before the half-time whistle and after the break Mountmellick improved significantly. They almost equalised just five minutes into the second period when Johnny Hyland found Ben McRedmond in space in the right wing and his excellent cross was directed onto the crossbar by the rising Robbie Ryan.
The visitors didn’t look as sharp as they had done in the first half but Mountmellick keeper Paul Allen was required to turn away a Richie Reynolds effort on the hour mark and five minutes later Dean Broughan probably should have doubled his tally after being put through by a fine Shane Lawless pass but his shot sailed wide of the mark.
That miss did little to help the young Port side who had started to lose their composure. Some of their players became embroiled in running battles with both the Mountmellick players and the referee Tommy Cunningham, and when Shane Langan was fouled right on the edge of the box, Cunningham immediately pointed to the spot. The Arlington men were furious at the decision but Shane Langan stepped up and drilled a low shot that left Ross Dunne with no chance.
Things went from bad to worse five minutes later when their key midfielder Iarlaith Lawlor was sent off for taking his protestations too far, and suddenly Arlington looked to be in serious danger of making the short trip home with nothing to show for their efforts. United tried to find a winner but that would have been harsh on the Port men and in the end the sides settled for a hard-fought point apiece. It will do little for both sides, with Arlington rueing those two dropped points at the top just as much as Mountmellick will at the other end of the table.
Star Man: Shane Lawless (Arlington)
Mountmellick United: Paul Allen, David Lee, Michael McDermott, Cathal Cleary, Daryl Byrne, Johnny Hyland, Paddy Davis, Shane Langan, Robbie Ryan, Ben McRedmond (Gary Grehan 64), Eoin Grehan (Darryl Byrne 59).
Arlington AFC: Ross Dunne, Joe Costello, Niall Parker, Adrian Broughan, Shane Lawless, Richie Reynolds, Iarlaith Lawlor, David Costello, Dean Broughan, Conor Brady, Dean Byrne.
Referee: Tommy Cunningham