Mountmellick had a big win last week
Mountmellick United 3
Mullingar Town 1
In a battle between the second and third placed teams in the CCFL Division 1, it was the third placed Mountmellick United who picked up all three points over Mullingar Town at home to move just a single point behind leaders Towerhill Rovers.
A decent sized crowd descended onto Conor Davis Park in Mountmellick to watch this one, and they would not be left disappointed at the entertainment on offer.
Both sides had chances in the opening fifteen minutes of the game, with Fola Ayorinde coming closest for Mullinar Town from a corner, while Mountmellick United striker Mark Grennan’s attempt was well smothered by Mullingar Town keeper Michael Loran down the opposite end.
However, the pivotal moment in this clash occurred twenty-two minutes into the first half. Michael Loran came out of his net to palm away the ball, but it was only cleared as far as Mountmellick United’s Robbie Hibbits.
He dinked the ball over Loran and Mullingar Town captain Jason Charles instinctively put his hands up to stop the ball going in on the line.
This resulted in a penalty being awarded against Mullingar Town, and they were dealt a double blow as the referee had no choice but to send off Jason Charles and thus reduce Mullingar Town down to ten men.
Shane O’Connor stepped up and dispatched the penalty to put Mountmellick United into a commanding position, a goal and a man up.
Mullingar Town responded well to the setback though, and came close to levelling things through Keith Hope, but his glancing header agonisingly went inches wide of the post.
Fola Ayorinde was proving a handful for the Mountmellick United defence as well, with his pace and power on display.
Ayorinde tested Conor Comiskey in goals twice before the break, but the Mountmellick Town shot stopper was equal to both efforts. Mountmellick United went into the dressing room at half-time 1-0 ahead and with a spare man, but Mullingar Town were still playing some lovely football and were given plenty of encouragement as a big second-half was in store.
However, Mountmellick United began the second-half on the front foot, as they looked to make their extra man count.
When Mullingar’s defenders failed to properly clear their lines, the ball fell to Gary Donoher on the edge of the box.
The right midfielder got his feet set sharply and curled one beautifully into the top right corner, giving Michael Loran no chance in the Mullingar Town net.
Mullingar Town were not throwing in the towel though, as they searched for a goal to get themselves back into the game.
Mark Connaughton was played through on goal, but Mountmellick centre-back Eddie Melia got back just in time to block his shot.
The rebound did fall to Mullingar Town’s Keith Hope, but his effort was superbly saved by Conor Comiskey, who tipped it on to the bar and out.
However, minutes later Mullingar Town were afforded a golden chance to get back into this one.
Fola Ayorinde’s quick feet resulted in Shane O’Connor tripping him just inside the box.
Ayorinde himself stepped up to take the penalty, and dispatched it down the centre of the goals.
Both sides ventured forwards afterwards, but it was the home team who were creating the more clear-cut chances.
After a few missed chances, Mountmellick United finally got the insurance goal they needed near the end.
Mark Grennan showed strong centre-forward play to cushion the ball down for onrushing midfielder Darren Strong, and he buried it low into the bottom right corner to assure Mountmellick United were taking all three points on offer.
MOUNTMELLICK UNITED: Conor Comiskey; Jordan Collins, Eddie Melia, John Watchorne, Shane O’Connor; Gary Donoher, Mark Dowling, Darren Strong, Robbie Hibbitts; Shane Dowling, Mark Grennan. Subs: Ethan Lawlor, Laurence Kenny.
MULLINGAR TOWN: Michael Loran; Jamie Loran, Mark Brady, Stephen Daly, Jason Charles; Sean Reid, Keith Hope, Frank Kavanagh, Mark Connaughton; Mark Hickey; Fola Ayorinde. Sub: Gary MacMahon