Sky Blues win a Frustrating game.

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

Spartak 4, Woods Utd 1.

Spartak were slightly flattered by the scoreline as the visitors dominated the final twenty minutes before Steve Walsh applied the coup de grace deep into injury time.

Spartak started well but attacks were halted by possibly over enthusiastic Martin Costello interventions, conceding frees or getting caught offside. Either way MArtin did not see eye to eye with the ref on these calls. A nice move between Neil McGowan and Steve Walsh then saw Martin Costello race down the right, but his cross was poor, mainly due to the kick on the calf he received en route.

The opening score came on 23 minutes when a neat Aodhan McCahill /Neil McGowan combination sent Steve Walsh into the penalty area on the left; a couple of jinks left opposition players flat footed and the precise cross which evaded the defenders left Martin Costello a simple task from 6 yards.

The number of decent attacking moves by Spartak which were halted by a whistle for offside made for a build up of frustration and it seemed at one point that the referee had reverted to the pre 1927 offside rule which required 3 players between the attacker and the goal line. Steve Walsh was blown offside on the edge of the area while a visiting defender stood at the edge of the six yard box.

A Steve Grier throw flicked on by Seamus McCahill was met at the back post by Neil McGowan whose header back across goal beat the keeper and struck the angle of post and bar; but no Sky Blue player was following up for what would have been an easy tap in.

So Spartak reached the interval just a goal up, despite some energetic efforts.

On 59 minutes a Walsh corner dropped favorably to Neil McGowan who made no mistake from close range. Paul Kinsella and Ken Buckley then were foolishly booked complaining about a blatant foul on Steve Walsh which did not result in a free.

Spartak were now quite flat and relying on breakaways; but these were regularly halted by offside calls, and as they dropped deeper the visitors reduced arrears on 69 minutes.

The Sky Blues response was quick and the third goal on 72 minutes saw a long Steve Grier pass send Steve Walsh away down the left and he showed great composure in his run and finish.

Woods continued to boss the midfield and Martin Costello cleared off the line, Bobby scrambled away another effort and a miskick by Aodhan McCahill presented an easy chance missed by the visitors. The Sky Blues were shipping some physical punishment with Steve Grier on the end of one tackle which went completely unpunished.

Bookings mounted for Spartak, with Neil McGowan and Seamus McCahill carded for fouls, the latter not helped by Paul Kinsella’s blood curdling exhortations.

A 99th minute goal by Steve Walsh, who ignored a half hearted offside appeal, raced away and calmly rounded the keeper to score after Stuart Love had won the ball and sent him through wrapped things up for Spartak.

Form Report
Bobby Hayes 6 David Kernan 7 Aodhan McCahill 7 Steve Grier 7 Paul Kinsella 7 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Ken Buckley 5 Seamus McCahill 5 Martin Costello 6 Steve Walsh 8.
Sub: Mick Leslie 5

Impetuous Defending Proves Costly

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

Glasnevin 4 Spartak 2

Spartak surrendered a half time lead to the local side and, despite a late rally when clear chances were missed, could not salvage anything from this game, mainly due to a serious lack of defensive concentration.

Missing a number if players, Spartak’s woes were increased when Kevin Loftus and Chris Hogan somehow contrived to be late for kick off, necessitating a further reshuffle of resources.

One unusual feature of the match was the supply of under inflated footballs by Glasnevin, which affected both sides. The referee was indifferent when this was pointed out, and the game proceeded.

Neither side started with confidence and the opening exchanges were tentative, but it was Spartak who took the lead on 15 minutes when Keith Kelly’s cross was turned in by Ciaran Keane at the second attempt after the keeper parried his first effort. Keith was then lucky not to be last man when yellow carded after losing possession. Shane McInerney broke up a Glasnevin attack at the cost of a free which Mick Greene parried but the home striker fired over. Keith Kelly was caught in possession but luckily the ensuing goal attempt was wide.

Fidel Benson fired over after connecting with Jamie Stewart’s cross, but at the other end Glasnevin struck the bar with Shane McInerney clearing off the line.

Some poor concentration at back by Spartak gave Glasnevin the chance to score almost immediately at the start of the second period and the striker made no mistake. In response Chris Hogan’s cross was fired over a couple of yards out by Ciaran Keane after Evans Sarpong held it up well.

A couple of disastrous defensive errors gave the home side goals in the 53rd and 60th minutes, as Spartak lost their defensive shape. 1-3.

Spartak then refocused and created some clear chances of their own. Shane McInerney tried to bundle in following a corner and then headed just wide from the next flag kick. A good run by Aodhan McCahill sent Ciaran Keane through racing in from the left but he pulled his shot wide. Evans Sarpong fired in a shot that was saved, and a number of Fidel Benson crosses just failed to meet their intended target.

A clearly offside goal gave the home side a 4-1 lead, before the ever versatile Mick Greene came out of goal to reduce arrears with a well struck direct free kick. Spartak then staged something of a grandstand finish, with the best chance coming when Conor Keegan’s header was pushed on to the bar by the keeper but Shane McInerney, following up kneed the rebound over the bar from a yard out.

Form Report
Mick Greene 7 Barry Maguire 6 Aodhan McCahill 7 Keith Kelly 6 Conor Keegan 6 Shane McInerney 6 Jamie Stewart 5 Niall Lennon 5 Evans Sarpong 6 Fidel Benson 6 Ciaran Keane 6
Subs: Chris Hogan 5 Kevin Loftus 5

Goal Burst

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

Valeview Shankill 2, Spartak 4

Three goals in a ten minute spell just after half time clinched the points for the Sky Blues in a tight game.

Valeview dominated the opening half and would consider themselves unfortunate not to be at least one goal ahead at the break, having spent the majority of the half in Spartak territory. Indeed the only Spartak effort of note was a long range Dave Kernan shot which was parried away, with Seamus McCahill tamely knocking the loose ball into the keeper’s hands.

Stuart Love, Jeff Gamble and Neil McGowan all made last ditch tackles tracking back , with the back four working overtime to stem the assault. Steve Grier was dominant in the aerial battles.

The whole complexion of the game quickly changed in the 48th minute and for the first time some Spartak defenders got forward. Aodhan McCahill won a tackle, raced forward before playing it back to Steve Grier; Steve’s long cross from the left found Steve Walsh lurking on the right hand side of the area and he controlled before firing home right footed.

The goal of the game came on 55 minutes, when Dave Kernan strode down the right from his own half. With home defenders backing off, he fired powerfully home from 25 yards.

Whwn a Paul Kinsella free caused the keeper to concede a corner, Neil McGowan nodded home Steve Walsh’s flag kick on 58 minutes.

Paul Kinsella, showing little in the way of composure, then managed to get himself yellow carded after a foul by a home player, who escaped sanction.

Stuart Love gave Jeff Gamble the assist for goal number 4 on 82 minutes to complete the Spartak tally. Martin Costello had two good chances, neither of which hit the target, when first played in by a McGowan-Walsh combination and then sent clear by a smashing Lee Malone crossfield pass.

With concentration dropping as players foolishly considered the game over the home side scored twice in the dying minutes, with ref playing 6 minutes of added time. Spartak were denied the clean sheet by some sloppy set piece defending.

Form Report
Bobby Hayes 7 David Kernan 9 Aodhan McCahill 7 Steve Grier 8 Paul Kinsella 6 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Jeff Gamble 7 Seamus McCahill 7 Martin Costello 7 Steve Walsh 7
Subs: Lee Malone 6 Niall Hanratty 5 Dave Browne 5 Ken Buckley Adam Doran

Three Points Escape the grasp of Over 35s

Filed under: General news, Over 35 team by: Paul McGowan

Ballyoulster United 5 Spartak 4

Based on chances, possession and overall play it was scarcely credible that Spartak Over 35s should leave the pristine surroundings of Ballyoulster empty handed, but that’s the way it turned out. Spartak created at least 20 good chances, while the home side seemed to score 100% of their opportunities.

Spartak took an early lead, when James Byrne drove home a rebound after his header struck the bar. However a rash Tom Maher challenge allowed the home team to equalise from the spot, and when Colm Flynn’s punched clearance rebounded happily for the home side, Spartak found themselves 2-1 down.

A positive response saw a quick equaliser . James Byrne, his way to goal seemingly blocked by a wall of bodies, improvised with a clever chip to equalise, but just on half time a defensive mix up saw Spartak fall behind again. The Sky Blues spurned a good chance when Paddy Hughes just failed to convert after a good run by Oisin Ledwidge.

Spartak began the second period in storming fashion, with the home keeper saving well from Paddy Hughes’ header while Kevin O’Connell repeatedly went close without scoring.

A cross shot put Ballyoulster 4-2 up before a Dave Cullen free kick reduced arrears; Ballyoulster replied with a free of their own to make it 5-3.

From then to the end of the match it was all Spartak as a Sky Blue waved engulfed the home side. A neat Padraig Finnerty pass gave Dave Cullen the chance and he made no mistake.

In a frantic finale Gerry Doran hit the bar with a fine header; Oisin Ledwidge also struck the woodwork, while a number of fine corners by Matt Grimes went unconverted. The equaliser proved elusive however and Spartak were left to return home empty handed.

Spartak : Colm Flynn, Tony Kavanagh, Gerry Doran, Tom Maher, Padraig Finnerty, Stuart Lewins, Dave Cullen, Steve Mongey, James Byrne, Paddy Hughes, Oisin Ledwidge, Dave Cullen, Matt Grimes, Steve Caffery, Kevin O’Connell, Trevor Johnston, Shea McClafferty.

Two Points Dropped

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

Spartak 1, Palmerstown 1

A late goal denied Spartak all three points, as the Sky Blues began their season on a grassy pitch in Marlay park.

The start of the season seems to have come too early for some players, and Spartak were also missing Graham Breen and Karl McCullough through injury.

A pedestrian first half was brightened only by some excursions down the right wing by David Kernan , but his crosses could not find a Spartak attacker. Steve Walsh featured briefly to fire past a post, while Stuart Love, the most industrious player on view, headed narrowly wide. At the other end a lapse of concentration by Lee Malone saw Paul Kinsella cover at the expense of a yellow card. Indeed in a separate incident Paul was fortunate not to concede a penalty with a clumsy barge which the ref adjudged to be just outside. Spartak also had a penalty shout when Steve Walsh was barged but claims were waved away.

Indecisive defending saw a Palmerstown forward have a clean run on goal, but Jason Northey pawed his effort away.

Spartak remained sluggish at the start of the second period with Lee Malone recklessly firing across his own penalty area to an opponent, who luckily fired wide.

Better passing by Spartak paved the way for the lead goal on the hour when Seamus McCahill coolly finished after a good passing move following Neil McGowan recovering a ball he had just lost to start the sequence.

Spartak were unlucky to have a “goal” chalked out for offside when a long cross by Paul Kinsella from deep eluded both David Kernan and the keeper for Neil McGowan to race in and stretch to net. A cross by Seamus McCahill then eluded Jeff Gamble just yards out.

Palmerstown had a nice move and the striker struck the post when an equaliser seemed inevitable.

Spartak were now playing on the break and Seamus McCahill played in Ciaran Keane who had a clear run on goal but the keeper blocked. On a couple of other occasions good passes released Steve Walsh but he was unluckily deemed offside.

With just 90 seconds to go a long ball by Palmerstown saw indecision by Jason Northey allow a simple looping header to equalise.

Form Report
Jason Northey 5 Lee Malone 5 Aodhan McCahill 7 Steve Grier 7 Paul Kinsella 7 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 6 David Kernan 6 Seamus McCahill 7 Jeff Gamble 5 Steve Walsh 5
Subs: Ciaran Keane 5 Ken Buckley 5

No Joy

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

Sallynoggin Pearse 3, Spartak 0

A combination of poor defensive decisions and some

Sallynoggin had the best of the first half and made plenty of inroads down their right flank, where Chris Hogan had an unhappy time. Keith Kelly and Martin Costello shored up the defence, but it was poor distribution by the latter that allowed the home side to break and take the lead on 18 minutes; just before that the home right winger had struck the post.

Despite having less possession, with Shane McInerney and Ken Buckley trying to man the pumps in central midfield, Spartak had a glorious chance to equalise when Jeff Gamble sent Ciaran Keane through one on one, but the finish was dragged wide.

Worse followed on 26 minutes when a Chris Hogan throw in was directed into a nest of home players; the consequent cross was converted.

Bobby Hayes made a good stop at the start of the second period when the right winger again got in behind. Again Gamble squared for Keane, but with the home keeper scrambling the shot was screwed wide.

Conor Callis belatedly came into the game and hit the bar with one effort and had another blocked, and then when Aaron Ormerod put him through he lifted the ball past the keeper but wide.

The third home goal finished the game as a contest and resulted from a poor throw out by Bobby Hayes from which Spartak never got possession, and the home side struck a good shot from the edge of the box.

Form Report
Bobby Hayes 6 Conor Canavan 6 Chris Hogan 4 Keith Kelly 7 Martin Costello 7 Shane McInerney 6 Ken Buckley 6 Conor Callis 6 Mick Greene 6 Jeff Gamble 6 Ciaran Keane 6
Subs: Dermot Dooley 7 Aaron Ormerod 6

Pacy Workout

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

Mt Merrion u18s/19s 1, Spartak 1

A late penalty miss by Seamus McCahill denied the Sky Blues a friendly victory over the Paul Burke managed Merrion side. Overall a draw was a fair result in a lively contest on the Benildus Astro.

A neatly taken Ross Kelly goal gave Spartak the lead early on but the locals equalised before the break when Jeff Gamble lost possession as Spartak broke well and fast, leaving scant cover, and Spartak were duly punished.

Niall Lennon had an industrious evening and passed well; Paul Kinsella and Martin Costello kept things tight at the back, and Conor Callis’ speed kept the Merrion defence on the back foot. Indeed a more direct approach by Conor might have paid dividends, but he did provide a couple of highlights, rounding the keeper only to have is shot blocked on the line, and later winning the penalty with his persistence.

Lee Malone, Fergus Burke and Stuart Love all had stints in central midfield, and all looked in need of the run to build fitness and sharpness. Ross Kelly toiled up front, showed good touches and had his goal as a reward for his efforts, but 45 minutes proved enough as he works towards fitness.

Jeff Gamble excited and frustrated his colleagues, often in the same move, and too often opted for the riskier passing option. Mick Greene filled two positions in turn adequately, first in goal and then at full back, while on the other flank Dave Browne had to resort to any available methods to combat the opposing winger’s pace.

A resourceful display and a decent step towards the oncoming season.

Man of the Match : Paul Kinsella

Form Report
Mick Greene 6 Lee Malone 5 Dave Browne 5 Paul Kinsella 7 Martin Costello 7 Fergus Burke 5 Jeff Gamble 5 Conor Callis 7 Ross Kelly 6 Niall Lennon 7 Stuart Love 5 David Kernan 7 Jason Northey 6 Seamus McCahill 6 Chris Hogan 6 Kevin Loftus 6

Chances Spurned

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

Celtic Park 3, Spartak 0.

The scoreline did not reflect the game as a whole; Spartak dominated the opening period in Beaumont Convent but failed to get on the scoresheet. Celtic Park fielded eleven fresh players at half time, and aided by a very soft penalty decision, went on to win.

In the last 20 minutes Spartak strove to get back in the game, throwing caution to the wind, and Ross Kelly and David Kernan each missed good chances close in. David Kernan and Jeff Gamble worked valiantly to get the attack going and showed decent stamina and skill.

The first half saw Spartak move the ball well and Kernan, Jeff Gamble and Conor Callis displayed energy and movement, but without applying the final, decisive, touch. In midfield Lee Malone and Shane McInerney kept the supply line to the front line going and supplied defensive cover.

Conor Callis shot over after an excellent move by Gamble and Lee Malone; Conor Canavan, sent clear by Malone, fired a cross over with men well placed inside; Shane McInerney’s cross found Jeff Gamble but his close in effort was cleared for a corner. Shots by Malone and Callis went close, and there were several goalmouth scrambles.

In defence there was little to do apart from a lapse when Chris Hogan was caught in possession, but Jason Northey advanced to block.

On 50 minutes the penalty was award for a push by Paul Kinsella and Celtic Park’s fresh team began to take control. A very soft second goal gave them a two goal advantage and the third goal was a result of Spartak going for broke in attack.

Positives in general play from the first half, but punishment often follows when teams don’t press home their advantage.

Man of the match : David Kernan

Form Report
Jason Northey 6 Chris Hogan 6 Ciaran Keane 7 Paul Kinsella 7 Dave Browne 6 Shane McInerney 6 Conor Canavan 6 David Kernan 8 Lee Malone 6 Jeff Gamble 7 Conor Callis 6
Subs: Kevin Loftus 6 Luke Foley 5 Aaron Ormerod 5 Stuart Love 5 Ross Kelly 5

Pre Season Training

Filed under: General news, Over 35 team, Saturday LSL team, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

First Pre Season training session takes place, as a one off, on Firhouse Carmel’s pitch beside Scholars pub on Thursday July 10.

Season starts on 16/17 August, with friendlies before then.

We start on Thursday at 7.15.

Dave Mohan Tournament a Big Success – Thank You

Filed under: General news, Over 35 team, Saturday LSL team, Sunday LSL team by: Paul McGowan

A bumper turn out ensured that the tournament was an all round success, both as a charity fund raiser and in terms of organisation on the day. An enjoyable day all round, and a good tribute to our late colleague.

Thanks to all who took part.

Roll on next year.