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.
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