Edenderry Town 1, Spartak 1
An injury time goal, well taken from a narrow angle by Geoff Gamble, earned a point on the Sky Blues trip deep into darkest Offaly. The goal resulted from a cohesive move by Stu Love, Owen Marron and Mick Leslie. Such moves were difficult on a very heavy pitch, which cut up badly as the game progressed. Clear chances were few and far between for both sides in a tight contest in poor conditions.
The locals took the lead on 12 minutes, after a bad defensive pass allowed the striker in for a shot. Peter O’Toole saved the first effort, but could nothing about the rebound. Scarce resources were further stretched as Neil McGowan limped off to be replaced by Gary Bridges, who worked hard in the middle of the park. Darragh Logue slotted in at the back, and gave an assured display.
Edenderry, boosted by the early lead, then beat a poorly set offside trap by a reorganised back four, but chipped wide.
Gradually Spartak found their feet and the best first half opportunity came when a Mick Leslie’s fine header found Stuart Love 8 yards out, but his shot was smothered at the expense of a corner. Mick “Hatchet” Leslie had earlier been booked for a studs up challenge, with Geoff Gamble following him into the book for retaliation after a foul which wasn’t given.
It seemed Spartak had equalised early in the second period when Gamble’s pass was deflected to Mick Leslie , who fed Stuart Love, but the “goal” was disallowed for offside, the second for Stu in a week. On this occasion the ref had more justification than the Valeview game where there were two defenders on the line.
Geoff Gamble’s free was just over, but even as the home side fell back they still carried a threat. Peter O’Toole made a fine save in a 1 on 1 situation to keep the Sky Blues’ hopes alive. Darragh Logue headed a free from Gary Bridges wide in the best opportunity to date, as Spartak sought a way through.
Frustration increased as Spartak were denied a clear corner. Barry Crowe was noted in the book for giving the ref his forthright opinion on the matter. Additionally the ditch running along one side of the pitch ensnared any football which went more than a few yards over the touchline, with the breaks providing welcome time wasted for Edenderry.
Finally, and not a moment too soon, the breakthrough came.
Peter O’Toole 8 Dave Kernan 7 Darragh Logue 7 Neil McGowan 5 Dave Browne 7 Stuart Love 7 Sean Molloy 6 Geoff Gamble 7 Owen Marron 7 Mick Leslie 7 Caoltan Strain 7
Subs: Gary Bridges 7 Ken Buckley 6