Mountmellick United’s recent revival continued as they came from behind to steal a derby day win over Laois rivals Arlington in Portarlington on Sunday afternoon.
CCFL SENIOR DIVISION
Arlington AFC 1
Mountmellick Utd 2
After a scrappy opening half Darryl Foy had handed the hosts the lead midway through the second with a real poacher’s finish but United turned it around with two goals in the final twenty minutes to seal a fine turnaround.
Arlington probably just about shaded it in terms of possession and chances in that dour opening forty-five, and they could have taken the lead as early as the third minute but young winger Seanie McMahon saw his superb volley flash just over the bar from Foy’s corner.
Mountmellick were reduced to a couple of half-chances with Shane O’Connell firing inches wide from distance and Gary Donoher’s stinging shot brilliantly blocked by Arlington’s excellent centre-half James O’Driscoll, but neither side came any closer and it was 0-0 at the break.
Thankfully the second half was considerably better. Both sides scrapped for every ball but seemed to be lacking that killer touch up front until the deadlock was finally broken in the 65th minute when an uncharacteristic loss of doncentration at the back cost Mountmellick dearly.
United keeper Matsy Forde did very well to turn a low Barry Kenny shot around the post but when Kenny swung the resulting corner in, it was missed by a host of United defenders and Darryl Foy pounced to prod a low shot home from three yards out.
Mark Goodwin sent a sweetly struck over narrowly over the bar as the visitors tried to get back on terms but the concession of Foy’s spurred United on and they hit back with twenty minutes on the cloack. Niall Donoher was only on the field four minutes when he ran onto a dead-weight Mark Goodwin pass after strong work from Robbie Hibbitts and he fired a low shot across goal that nestled neatly into the bottom left hand corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Mountmellick looked the more likely side to score with Arlington looking a little tired from their first-half exertions with only very rare breaks up field.
Barry Kenny tried his luck with a spectacular over-head kick that never really troubled Matsy Forde but for all Mountmellick’s late dominance it looked like their new managers’ 100% record was coming to an end until a late strike sealed the hard-fought win.
David Kelly was sent through by Mark Goodwin but keeper Damien Oliver was out smartly to make the save. The ball went out for a throw from which Kelly did well to force a corner. Mark Goodwin took over from Robbie Hibbitts with a low cross from the right hand side. It whizzed past two Arlington defenders and Shane O’Connell was in the perfect spot to sweep a superb right-footed finish past the Arlington keeper.
The stunned hosts had three minutes to find a response but it was too late for that and Mountmellick came away with all three points to make it three wins on the bounce. Arlington remain two points clear of their Laois rivals in the top flight but United are undoubtedly the form team at the moment.
ARLINGTON: Damien Oliver, Oleg Shishkarev, Jason Halpin, Joe Tully, James O’Driscoll, Dave Thorpe, Sean McMahon (Brian O’Mahoney ’74), Barry Kenny, Daryl Foy, Joe Gorman, Declan Horlick.
MOUNTMELLICK: Matsy Forde, Cathal Cleary, Laurence Kenny, Niall Westman, Mark Parkinson, John Watchorne, Shane O’Connell, Mark Goodwin, Robbie Hibbitts, Lee Collins (David Kelly ’61), Gary Donoher (Niall Donoher ’68).
Referee: Paddy Geoghegan