Frustrating Loss

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Spartak 2, Marks 3

It is often true in football that if early, gilt-edged chances are not taken, there is a price to be paid later. This was the case on a warm midweek evening in Marlay.

Without playing at optimum level in the first half, Spartak had 5 great opportunities, ranging from one on one efforts to close in chances, none of which were successful, and instead the Sky Blues ended up trailing at the interval to a soft, near post goal. There were other half chances also, and yet the visiting keeper had a relatively quiet time of it, with most efforts either off target or directed straight at him.

When Seamus McCahill equalised before the hour mark, Spartak looked set to go on to win. Marks defended resiliently, and refused to capitulate under pressure.

Spartak had many attacks, but lacked the nous to create chances as clear cut as those in the first half. At the back, Jason Northey had a jittery game, and there were a couple of scary moments in rare visitors’ forays.

Substitutes Jeff Gamble and Graham Campbell added energy, but little in the way of controlled play.

A calamitous lack of defensive organisation at a set piece proved to be Spartak’s undoing, and, very much against the run of play, Marks took the lead with a headed goal in the 86th minute.

When a long range effort sailed in to make it 3-1 moments later, the game was up, and Steve Grier’s late, injury time goal was little consolation.

Form Report
Jason Northey 4 Dave Browne 6 Aodhan McCahill 6 Paul Kinsella 5 Karl McCullough 6 Stuart Love 5 Neil McGowan 6 Seamus McCahill 6 Steve Grier 5 Keith Kelly 5 Steve Walsh 5.
Subs: Jeff Gamble 5 Graham Campbell 5 Tom O’Driscoll 5

Spartak go down in Derby Game at Dundrum

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan


Dundrum 1, Spartak 0

A goal in the 84th minute settled this encounter at Meadowbrook in this clash of 2nd and 3rd in the league.

The goal came when, having lost possession, Spartak were caught out defensively by a long pass and a quick break.

Spartak will argue that a draw would have been a fair result, but the Sky Blues failed to put a score on the board, despite early dominance, and more chances.

Spartak forced a series of early corners, generally wasted by poor delivery. The first passing move involved Dave Kernan, Neil McGowan and Keith Kelly, but the latter’s shot was weak.

When Karl MCCullough flicked on a throw in, Tom O’Driscoll was inches from converting, and then a good Kernan and Kelly move saw Steve Grier’s fierce effort well saved by the home keeper.

Spartak’s best chance fell to Tom O’Driscoll, in the second period, but his right footed effort from Steve Walsh’s assist was too gentle. Neil MCGowan fired wide after a Steve Grier header, while Grier and McGowan combined to set up Walsh, whose effort was blocked.

Steve Walsh missed a couple of chances to round the keeper, but hesitation lost him the opportunities.

As Spartak pressed for a late equaliser, everyone was pushed up for a Paul Kinsella free. However the free fell short and Dundrum brokel, eventually being halted by a foul by Karl McCullough. The referee, many yards away, awarded a penalty although the foul took place yards outside the area.

Jason Northey saved the spot kick, maintaining his recent good record.

Spartak will be disappointed to be held scoreless in such a vital game.

Form Report
Jason Northey 7 David Kernan 6 Aodhan McCahill 6 Paul Kinsella 7 Karl McCullough 7 Ken Buckley 5 Neil McGowan 6 Tom O’Driscoll 5 Steve Grier 6 Keith Kelly 5 Steve Walsh 5
Subs: Dave Browne 6 Joe McCarthy 5 Ciaran Keane 5

Spartak Implosion

Filed under: General news, Saturday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Peamount 5, Spartak 3

Let’s get the better news out of the way first; Conor Callis won two penalties which were converted by Jeff Gamble, who also tapped in, at the second attempt, Ciaran Keane’s cross in the dying moments.

That’s about all the positive things that can be said about this performance at Greenogue’s astro pitch on a perfect Saturday evening for football.

Showing just three changes from Monday’s wonderful display, including the return from suspension of captain Niall Lennon, Spartak sunk to the depths with an abysmal outing, when expectations had clearly soared after the win over Portmarnock.

In the first half, Spartak had at least 20 attacks, but a combination of slow passing, wrong options taken and just plain poor finishing meant that there was only one goal, from the spot, to show for it, while Peamount, who only raided sporadically, had taken the lead.

After Peamount restored their lead early in the second half, there was only going to be one winner as the pattern continued. Spartak built up laboriously, with poor and slow passing, failed to harry or press their opponents, and all the while gave the impression that any defensive duties were beneath them.

Peamount duly punished Spartak’s laxity, with four second half goals, well taken by them, but all of a depressing similarity to those of a Sky Blue persuasion.

Spartak had plenty of attacks, but little in the way of penetration, preferring long range efforts, or checking back instead of going forward.

A miserable journey home from Greenogue for the Sky Blues

Form Report
Shane McInerney 6 Barry Maguire 4 Chris Hogan 4 Conor Keegan 6 Joe McCarthy 5 Ciaran Keane 4 Conor Canavan 4 Jeff Gamble 5 Niall Lennon 4 Steve Browne 5 Conor Callis 5
Subs: Mick Greene 4

Spartak Show Grit

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Carriglea 0, Spartak 2

Spartak came out on top in this clash of promotion rivals in a hard fought encounter.

Well refereed, this was a tough battle from start to finish, with two inspirational moments deciding the result.

The first goal resulted from a corner by Tom O’Driscoll which went too deep beyond the goal along the back line; Seamus McCahill retrieved the ball and cleverly stood it up at the back post for Neil McGowan to head in.

The second goal came from a fine piece of free kick initiative by Tom O’Driscoll and Keith Kelly, which saw the latter finish to the bottom corner.

In between it was a war of attrition on a bumpy surface with the team who won most headers, Spartak, generally on top.

Carriglea had a great chance early on, after a mix up between Paul Kinsella and Dave Browne, while Martin Costello scuffed his effort when sent clear by Steve Grier.

With Spartak one goal to the good at the interval, Martin Costello had a chance to double the lead when sent down the left by Neil McGowan; but he blazed across goal and well wide.

Spartak defended really well in the face of Carriglea’s increasingly frantic efforts to get back in the game.

Near the end Graham Campbell had two efforts strike the crossbar.

Form Report
Jason Northey 7 Dave Kernan 7 Dave Browne 7 Paul Kinsella 7 Karl McCullough 8 Seamus McCahill 8 Neil McGowan 8 Tom O’Driscoll 7 Steve Grier 8 Martin Costello 7 Keith Kelly 7
Subs: Graham Campbell 7 Niall Lennon 6 Mick Leslie 6

Sparkling Performance

Filed under: General news, Saturday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Spartak 3, Portmarnock 0

Some days everything turns out well. The whole team performs, and the opposition, 2nd in the league, were sent home well beaten and scoreless on a spring night in near perfect conditions in Marlay.

Mick Leslie led the initial charge with some hard running before winning a penalty when taken down by the keeper. Jeff Gamble scuffed his spot kick, which the keeper parried, but Jeff was alert to score from the rebound.

Portmarnock had a big chance just after, but the imposing presence of an advancing Mick Costello was enough to force the attacker to shoot wide.

On 25 minutes Spartak doubled their lead, when Jeff Gamble sent Conor Callis away, cheekily nutmegging the covering defender before closing his eyes and blasting in! 2-0. Mick Leslie then spurned a right footed opportunity after some good approach play.

Ciaran Keane then fired wide at the start of the second period after being sent clear by Mick Leslie.

It was not all one way traffic and Mick Costello, in a commanding performance, made a couple of fine saves as well as dominating his area, while Joe McCarthy and Conor Keegan were solid in central defence.

Increasingly Spartak relied on breaks, and Conor Callis was wide after one such break, before the third goal arrived on 83 minutes; Ciaran Keane’s cross was fumbled by the keeper and Jeff Gamble nodded in to round off a fine team performance.

A happy set of Sky Blues departed Marlay.

Form Report
Mick Costello 9 Barry Maguire 6 Aodhan McCahill 8 Joe McCarthy 8 Conor Keegan 8 Ciaran Keane 7 Conor Canavan 7 Jeff Gamble 9 Conor Callis 7 Shane McInerney 7 Mick Leslie 8
Subs: Graham Campbell 6 Dave O’Kelly 6 Tony Kavanagh 6

The Joy of Six

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Seaford 0, Spartak 6.

Spartak had the best of a one sided encounter in the pouring Blackrock rain against a weakened Seaford side, scoring some good goals in the process.

Just three minutes had elapsed when Steve Walsh floated in a free from 30 yards out; the ball was cleared back to him and he let fly first time to give Spartak the lead. A fine through ball by Tom O’Driscoll saw Steve Walsh show control and composure to make it 2-0.

A fine move then saw Tom O’Driscoll fire over from a great position and a Jason Northey kicking error caused some panic at the other end. Steve Grier sent Neil McGowan in and his shot was turned away for a corner.

The game was effectively over within a minute, when first Martin Costello ran through to lift over the keeper, and then, when the keeper’s poor clearance reached Neil McGowan he fired back over the goalie’s head for number 4.

The second half saw Steve Grier dispossess the centre half and score, but he was deemed to have fouled; the ref was probably influenced by the defender’s scream of agony – although he got up, unhurt, once the free was awarded.

Martin Costello teed up Neil McGowan for a long range goal to make it 5-0 on 65 minutes, while Jason Northey made a good save to keep out the home side.

Steve Walsh was now on the hunt for his hattrick goal and, after a few misses, he duly added his third. There was time for sub Mick Leslie to fire wide before the ref halted the proceedings with 8 minutes left on the clock.

Form Report
Jason Northey 6 Dave Kernan 7 Aodhan McCahill 7 Paul Kinsella 7 Karl McCullough 7 Ken Buckley 7 Neil McGowan 8 Tom O’Driscoll 6 Steve Grier 7 Martin Costello 6 Steve Walsh 8
Subs: Dave Browne 6 Keith Kelly 6 Mick Leslie 6

Closer than Necessary

Filed under: General news, Saturday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Spartak 3, Balbriggan 2

Spartak made hard work of a game which seemed comfortably in their grasp, and ended up battling to save the three points.

The turning point came just past the hour mark when Stephen Harris was red carded for a challenge in the area, and a penalty awarded. Mick Costello, just on as sub, went in goal, and he could not be faulted for the goals conceded. Mick showed composure in a difficult situation and had a steadying influence on the ten men with cool handling and good kicking.

The opening phase of the game was dull with neither side taking the initiative, with some tentative moves from Spartak. Conor Callis had an effort blocked from a corner, and Ciaran Keane looped a shot which was easily saved. Ciaran Keane missed two opportunities to play team mates in with poor attempts at a through ball.

The opening goal came when a pass from Joe McCarthy eluded both its intended recipient and the covering defender; Jeff Gamble was quickest to the loose ball and fired low to the corner from a tight angle for a well taken goal.

Conor Callis then produced a bit of wing magic close to the byline, with his cross reaching Jeff Gamble, but his effort was deflected for a corner.

A miskick by Stephen Harris left the home goal unguarded, but a recovery tackle by Conor Canavan gave the defence time to complete the tidy up.

Right on the stroke of half time Spartak were awarded a free on the left, just inside the Balbriggan half. Undeterred by the 50 yard distance to goal, Derek Gibney’s run up showed deadly intent, and sure enough the ball flew past a startled keeper at pace to the top of the net, to give Spartak a slightly flattering two goal advantage.

The game was quite even early on in the second half; Stephen Harris made a decent save , while at the other end Ciaran Keane passed up an acceptable chance. One fine move involving Keane, Mick Leslie, Niall Lennon and Conor Canavan saw Jeff Gamble’s effort saved. Later a quick break initiated by Harris’ throw saw Shane McInerney and Ciaran Keane set up Jeff Gamble, but his effort was weak.

Following the penalty, Spartak, down to ten men, rallied and scored the decisive third on 75 minutes. Joe Mc Carthy’s pass released Ciaran Keane, revitalised after a stodgy first half performance, and he went on to score in typically persistent fashion.

Balbriggan pulled one back after 89 minutes, but it was too little, too late.

Form Report
Stephen Harris 5 Barry Maguire 6 Mick Leslie 7 Joe McCarthy 7 Derek Gibney 7 Ciaran Keane 7 Conor Canavan 8 Jeff Gamble 7 Niall Lennon 7 Shane McInerney 7 Conor Callis 6
Subs: Conor Keegan 6 Mick Costello 8

Semi Final Defeat

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Valeview Shankill 1, Spartak 0.

Spartak went down by the narrowest of margins in a tight semi final encounter in Loughlinstown.

A jittery defensive start saw the Sky Blues concede a deflected goal after 4 minutes, following a series of defensive errors.

Steve Grier had a header knocked off the line as Spartak regained composure, but Neil McGowan had to make a sliding intervention at the back after more defensive uncertainty.

Spartak’s best move came just before the break when Steve Grier, Aodhan McCahill, Stuart Love combined to send Neil McGowan down the left. His cross too the keeper out of the game but Marcel Bajors, a full stretch, headed wide.

Valeview might have added to their lead early in the second half, but the shot was wide.

For the remainder of the game Spartak camped in the opposition half, but created few clear cut chances. Marcel Bajors had a header tipped onto the crossbar and over. Neil McGowan had a chance whipped off his toe. Steve Grier looked certain to score until a fine block thwarted him.

A late run by Steve Walsh saw him fire wide from the edge of the box.

From Report
Jason Northey 6 David Kernan 6 Aodhan McCahill 6 Keith Kelly 5 Karl McCullough 5 Stuart Love 5 Neil McGowan 6 Marcel Bajors 5 Steve Grier 6 Martin Costello 5 Steve Walsh 5
Sub: Tom O’Driscoll 5

All’s Well that Ends Well

Filed under: General news, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan


Parkvale 2, Spartak 5

The first midweek game saw Spartak eventually come out on top on a fine spring evening in Terenure.

Stephen Walsh had missed a couple of chances, one cleared off the line, before goals by Martin Costello and Neil McGowan put the Sky Blues ahead. Some sloppy defensive work, evident throughout the first half, allowed the home side back into the game and Parkvale levelled before the break.

The second period saw a greater level of urgency from Spartak , but Parkvale were buoyed by their recovery and fought hard.

Just past the hour mark, a Martin Costello foray was halted at the expense of a corner and Neil McGowan headed in from Stephen Walsh’s flag kick.

Then came a sustained period of attacking play from Spartak which saw three penalties awarded; Runs by Steve Walsh and David Kernan were halted unceremoniously in the area and a Tom O’Driscoll goal bound shot was handled on the line with a consequent red card for the defender.

Neil McGowan and Martin Costello saw the keeper get to their efforts before Stephen Walsh fired the third penalty home.

Karl McCullough converted at the back post for his first goal for the club to complete the scoring.

Form Report
Jason Northey 6 David Kernan 6 David Browne 6 Keith Kelly 5 Karl McCullough 6 Mick Leslie 6 Neil McGowan 7 Tom O’Driscoll 6 Seamus McCahill 6 Martin Costello 6 Steve Walsh 7
subs: Paul Kinsella 6 Niall Lennon 6 Joe McCarthy 6

Willows take points

Filed under: General news, Saturday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

Spartak 1, Willows 2

Too many players performing below optimum level saw Spartak suffer a disappointing defeat at home to Willows on a bumpy Marlay pitch.

Early errors by Niall Lennon and Barry Maguire gave the visitors chances which were safely held by Stephen Harris. Misplaced passing was the order of the day with the usually tidy Niall Lennon suffering the most. Chris Hogan had a number of chances to cross from the right, but failed to deliver anything that his forwards could work with.

Jeff Gamble made a great burst and crossed but Ciaran Keane fired wide from close range. Conor Callis showed great skill to turn his man but his shot was snatched and struck the post.

The visitors took the lead on the half hour from neat move, but just before the break Jeff Gamble showed strength and skill to smash in an equaliser.

Stephen Harris made a good save after a Maguire error but then on 48 minutes Joe McCarthy unwisely dived in close to the centre circle, missed, and willows extracted full punishment from an unbalanced defence.

Ciaran Keane then missed the opportunity to equalise when he blocked a clearance with the ball rolling towards an empty goal, but he hesitated in the follow up and the ball was cleared off the line.

Conor Calis made a few good runs, but too often chose the wrong final option; however on one occasion he wriggled free down the left and laid on a chance for Mick Greene. However a moment’s hesitation by Mick saw the chance evaporate.

Form Report

Stephen Harris 7 Barry Maguire 5 Mick Greene 5 Joe McCarthy 6 Dave O’Kelly 6 Ciaran Keane 5 Conor Canavan 6 Jeff Gamble 7 Niall Lennon 5 Chris Hogan 5 Conor Callis 6