Last Minute Lee saves a point

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

Spartak 3, Ayfield 3

A last minute score by substitute Lee Griffin earned the Sky Blues a deserved point in a very open game played in the rain in Marlay.

A fine opportunist intercept, run and score saw Owen Marron give Spartak the lead inside 3 minutes; followed quickly by efforts by Cian Stenson and Dave Power. Each in turn hit the woodwork and shot off target from good positions.

Suddenly the visitors came strongly into the picture and Ayrfield equalised from close range, then took the lead from a headed goal following a free kick. Just on half time Neil McGowan headed in from Cian Stensons corner kick to restore parity.

Ayfield looked stronger in the second period and Craig Howard made a fine save from a one on one situation, but late on a headed goal put Ayrfield ahead.

Spartak were not to be denied, however, and Lee Griffin rifled the ball past the visiting keeper to make it 3-3.

Form Report
Craig Howard 7 Luke Stenson 7 Dave Browne 6 Steve Grier 6 Kevin Cunningham 7 Stuart Love 6 Neil McGowan 6 Owen Marron 7
Dave Power 6 Niall Lennon 6 Cian Stenson 6
Subs: Ciaran Brady 6 Lee Griffin 7

Penalty Pain

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

Naas 3 Spartak 3
Naas win 5-4 on pens

A fine performance saw the Sky Blues come back on three occasions, with goals from Ian Harmon, Niall Lennon and Steve Grier against a home side who had won the league encounter.

It was not to be however. When it came to penalties, Spartak scored the first four, Naas having missed one, but didn’t score the 5th to go through, and then missed again to allow Naas to prevail.

Leslie One Two Sinks Iveagh

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

Spartak 4 Iveagh Celtic 1

The visitors got off to a dream start and took the lead within two minutes. Iveagh then proceeded to have the best of things, and only a fine Craig Howard save and later, following another Howard stop, a last ditch clearance by Steve Grier.

Gradually the Sky Blues worked their way back into the game and Iveagh had their first scare when an Owen Marron cross was deflected on to the woodwork by a defender.

Spartak turned the game around quickly with two well take goals from Michael Leslie. The first saw him coolly finish a one on one when set up by Dave Power and the second saw him react quickest after a free kick. Mick might have completed his hat trick early second half, but he volleyed just wide.

Cian Stenson was first to a Neil McGowan corner and his effort was finished (from VERY close range) by Stuart Love.

A Martin Rolfs free saw the keeper parry the ball upwards, which allowed Steve Grier to rise highest and plant a firm header in the net.

Form Report
Craig Howard 8 Owen Marron 7 Dave Browne 7 Steve Grier 7 Kevin Cunningham 8 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Mick Leslie 8
Ciaran Brady 7 Dave Power 7 Cian Stenson 7
Subs: Ian Harmon 7 Martin Rolfs 7 Daire Doyle 7

Spartak Clinch Win in Final Seconds.

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

Ayrfield 2, Spartak 3

Conditions in Donaghmede were difficult, with the wind in particular, blowing powerfully across the pitch, playing havoc with the flight of the ball.

The Sky Blues began the brighter side, creating a couple of half chances and generally looking the likelier to score; however it was the home side who took the lead following some soft defending after free kick. Cian Stenson and Jason Gahan missed opportunities before the break as Spartak strove for an equaliser.

Owen Marron levelled early in the second half, when his cross was fumbled by the home keeper at his near post. Cian Stenson fired wide from a good position as Spartak began to push on. The Sky Blues then edged into the lead when Jason Gahan shot a loose ball to an empty net as the home keeper and defender collided.

The home side were somewhat harshly reduced to ten men, but managed to remain strongly in the contest and there was an air of inevitability when they scrambled in a equaliser, following a poor kick out, with just minutes left on the clock.

Spartak had the final say when a Jason Gahan free was headed back across goal and in by a jubilant Cian Stenson, who had endured a torrid time at the hands of the local defence up to that point.

A very welcome victory.

Form Report
Craig Howard 6 Owen Marron 7 Dave Browne 7 Ian Harmon 8 Kevin Cunningham 7 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Jason Gahan 7 Niall Lennon 7 Steve Grier 6 Cian Stenson 6 Mick Leslie 6 Ciaran Brady 6

Sky Blues edge past Dogged Esker

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

Spartak 2, Esker Celtic 1

Victory for the Sky Blues was secured by virtue of a close range Stuart Love finish after Cian Stenson’s shot was parried, and a direct free kick scored by Neil McGowan after Daire Doyle’s run was halted,unlawfully, in the D outside the penalty area. Neil got the ball up and over the wall to leave the keeper helpless.

Stuart had earlier had a goal chalked off for offside; Spartak were the brighter, and took the lead, but then some sleepy marking allowed the Esker full back complete a good move to equalise.

Chris Hogan, deputising in goal for Craig Howard, had a fine game and made some good stops, notably late on as Esker pressed for a leveller. A brilliant fast break by Owen Marron and Cian Stenson saw them exchange passes before Owen laid on a chance for Cian to clinch the game. On this occasion Spartak’s top scorer lifted the ball over the bar.

A hard fought win.

Form Report
Chris Hogan 8 Owen Marron 8 Luke Stenson 8 Kevin Cunningham 8 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Jason Gahan 6 Daire Doyle 6 Dave Power 6 Cian Stenson 6 Martin Rolfs 6

Stalemate in Loughshinny

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

Loughshinny 2, Spartak 2

Spartak recorded a draw in a tough encounter with the home team, who were fired up for the game. Nonetheless Spartak created the better first half chances, with Jason Gahan, Neil McGowan and Dave Power all having good opportunities. Dave Power gave Spartak the half time lead with a cool finish when Kevin Cunningham’s cross wasn’t dealt with by the home defence. Dave Power was barged in the box, fell just outside, from where the ref awarded a free kick. Jason Gahan’s attempt was just wide.

Stuart Love was just wide after Cian Stenson’s shot was parried but the home side sprang back into the game with a softly awarded penalty, and took the lead with a close range finish shortly after. Spartak rallied and equalised following good work by Jason Gahan and Dave Power, sharply finished on the turn by Cian Stenson.

Chances to secure the three points were missed when Neil McGowan sprang the ofside trap to run clean through, but was foiled by the keeper. Cian Stenson then evaded the keeper, and his effort rolled across the open goal, struck the post and stayed out.

Form Report
Craig Howard 7 Kev Cunningham 7 Luke Stenson 7 Ian Harmon 7 Ronan Buckley 6 Stuart Love 6 Neil McGowan 6 Jason Gahan 7 Steve Grier 6 Dave Power 7 Cian Stenson 7
Sub Niall Lennon 6

Spartak Power past Finglas

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

Spartak 6, Finglas Utd 3

A Dave Power hat trick helped Spartak clinch victory after the visitors had pulled back from 3-1 to level. Daire Doyle’s first goal for the club gave Spartak the lead when he turned in Jason Gahan’s free kick to give the Sky Blues a half time lead.

The game really opened up in the second half. Goals galore followed. Firstly Dave Power with a fine turn and finish, and then Cian Stenson added number three with a diving header from Owen Marron’s sumptuous cross. The Sky Blues then seemed to think it was game over. However, Spartak’s air of relaxation was punctured when the visitors reduced arrears with a speculative effort, and then equalised.

Spartak redoubled their efforts and Dave Power’s long range effort caught the keeper out, and Cian Stenson added number five with a cool finish. Owen Marron hit the post, and later had a an effort blocked, which fell to Dave Power to slot his third goal.

A good result in the end.

Form Report
Craig Howard 6 Owen Marron 8 Luke Stenson 7 Steve Grier 7 Ronan Buckley 7 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Jason Gahan 7 Daire Doyle 7 Dave Power 9 Cian Stenson 8
Kevin Cunningham 7 Niall Lennon 6

Nervy Ending

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

Spartak 3, Portmarnock 2

Spartak dominated the first half in terms of chances created, and were good value for a one nil half time lead. Playing good football, the passing was good enough to create a number of chances. The Stensons combined to send Dave Power clear and he made no mistake. Cian Stenson had a a few opportunities, and was denied twice by the frame of the goal; Dave Power, Jason Gahan and Owen Marron also had decent efforts.

Steve Grier touched in for a corner and Cian Stenson finished a fine move by Jason Gahan and Owen Marron to add goals 2 and 3.

All seemed comfortable until firstly, a soft goal from a poorly defended corner, and then a fine shot by the visitors number 17 into the top corner made it 3-2. Portmarnock also had claims for a spot kick, while the referee disagreed and awarded a free outside the box.

Spartak were not to be denied, however, and advance to the next roubd of the Leinster Junior Shield.

Form Report
Howard 7 Marron 7 L Stenson 7 Harmon 7 Buckley 6 Love 6 McGowan 6 Gahan 7 Grier 6 Power 6 C Stenson 7
Murphy 6 Doyle 6 Leslie 6

Precious Away Win

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

Esker Celtic 1, Spartak 2

Spartak began the game sluggishly against opponents who seemed sharper. However Kevin Cunningham set the tone with some fine interceptions, tackles and forays along the right and gradually the Sky Blues began to play. Just past the half hour mark, a fine Martin Rolfs pass found the overlapping Luke Stenson, who swept past a defender before finding his brother Cian with a cross. Cian swept the ball home to give Spartak the lead. Esker quickly responded and thudded an effort against the frame of the goal, before Cian Stenson was foiled by a brave intervention by the home custodian.

Spartak came even more into the game in the second period, and forced a succession of frees and corners without capitalising; and it was from a Spartak corner that Esker broke fast and cleverly found an unmarked man at the back post who equalised.

The game was pretty even then for a while as the goal had energised the home side, and once again they struck the woodwork. But as the match drifted into injury time, a move involving Amin Afsar and Daire Doyle allowed that man Cian Stenson to find space in the box and force home the winning score.

Form Report
Craig Howard 7 Kevin Cunningham 8 Luke Stenson 8 Ian Harmon 8 Ronan Buckley 8 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Jason Grehan 7 Martin Rolfs 7 Owen Marron 7 Cian Stenson 8
Subs: Daire Doyle 6 Amin afsar 6

A Point Gained

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

Spartak 0, Wayside Celtic 0.

A resolute defensive display by the Sky Blues kept the visitors at bay as they pressed strongly in the second half. Craig Howard took off several fine saves and the back four made their share of blocks and tackles. Spartak had few chance in the second period, the best one falling to Amin Afsar, but the goalkeeper smothered his attempt.

The first half was a more even contest, with chances more evenly spread, but few on either side on target. A bright period of football saw Spartak, without some regulars, play some excellent passing football.

Ronan Buckley grew into a good defensive foil for Stephen Grier, who also had a solid game. Luke Stenson caught the eye with some timely tackles and tidy passing, while Owen Marron, as usual, was energy itself.

The visitors will wonder what they had to do to beat Craig Howard in goal, and departed somewhat dissatisfied with a point. Spartak, on the other hand, were well pleased with their display.

Form Report
Craig Howard 9 Owen Marron 8 Luke Stenson 8 Steve Grier 8 Ronan Buckley 8 Martin Rolfs 7 Jason Gahan 7 Dave Power 6 Stuart Love 7 Cian Stenson 6
Sub Kevin Cunningham 7 Amin Afsar 6