Spartak Finish Year in Style

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

9.12.17
Spartak 10, Ashbourne 0

The Sky Blues fired a ten goal salvo against a hapless Ashbourne side that was hampered by an early red card, and suffered another dismissal in the second half.

Spartak were not in sympathetic mood, and Mick Leslie helped himself to a five goal haul to top the club scoring charts. Andre Gabriel (2), Cian Stenson, Jason Kelly and Stuart Love got the other scores.

Early on, Greg Byrne saved well to keep the visitors at bay, but after the dismissal had little to do. Steve Grier and Stuart Love combined to open the floodgates, and the goals flowed in quick succession.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 7 Chris Hogan 7 Cian Stenson 7 Steve Grier 8 Dave Browne 7 Stuart Love 8 Jason Kelly 8 Niall Hade 8 Dave Berry 8 Mick Leslie 9 Andre Gabriel 7
Subs: Seamus McCahill 6 Ciaran Keane 5 Danny Loughran 6

Welcome Victory

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

26/11/17
Spartak 4, Bray 1

A 25 yard effort from Steve Grier gave the Sky Blues a deserved half time lead; Spartak had made most of the running, but were pegged back at the start of the second period.

Steve Grier headed in a corner kick to restore the lead, and Jeff Gamble repeated the feat to make it 3-1. Andre Gabriel had taken both flag kicks.

Owen Marron made a super clearance to prevent Bray coming back into the contest, and Ger Byrne made sure of the points when firing in Dave Berry’s cross after Niall Lennon’s interception had picked out the wide man.

A satisfying result.

Form Report
Kevin Loftus 6 Dave Kernan 6 Dave Browne 6 Steve Grier 8 Karl McCullagh 7 Stuart Love 7 Owen Marron 7 Jeff Gamble 7 Niall Lennon 7 Ger Byrne 7 Andrei Gabriel 7
Subs: Tom O’Driscoll 6 Dave Berry 6

All Out Attack

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

19.11.17
St Anthonys Kilcoole 5, Spartak 5

Another extraordinary match and scoreline in what is becoming a weekly goalfest.

Three up inside fifteen minutes, Spartak’s blistering attacking moves showed zest, quick passing and clinical finishing to disorient the home defence. Jeff Gamble’s persistence and tenacity got the first goal inside a minute; then he combined with Ger Byrne who crossed for Owen Marron to nod in. Owen and Dave Kernan’s move saw Ger Byrne hit the bar with Stuart Love knocking in the rebound.

The home side rallied somewhat and forced Kevin Loftus into a couple of saves. Darragh Logue produced an elegant piece of defending to halt a dangerous move. But it was not till the stroke of half time that they reduced arrears when Kevin Loftus parried a shot into the path of an attacker who fired in.

There were several penalty claims by Spartak ignored, most obviously when Steve Grier was pushed in the back before he could shoot.

With just four second half minutes gone, St Anthony’s made it 2-3 when a long cross was squared back across the six yard box for an unmarked tap in. Worse was to follow when Owen Marron, having tracked back assiduously, made a hash of his clearance and the local player took full advantage – 3.3.

Steve Grier forced in Steve Walsh’s spot kick at the second attempt to regain the lead for the Sky Blues before the hosts struck back twice to gain the lead for the first time. With 8 minutes remaining the Walsh/Grier axis struck again from a flag kick for Steve Grier to equalise.

Then the real helter-skelter began as both sides went all out attack.

Both Niall Lennon and Dave Kernan had clear runs on goal as the final whistle approached, but heavy touches proved costly. The home team also spurned a couple of good opportunities before the game ended as Spartak broke again – but the ref blew to book a home player, before finally blowing the whistle on a breathtaking match.

Form Report
Kevin Loftus 6 Dave Kernan 7 Billy O’Neill 7 Darragh Logue 7 Karl McCullagh 7 Stuart Love 7 Owen Marron 7 Niall Lennon 8 Steve Grier 8 Ger Byrne 8 Jeff Gamble 8
Subs: Dave Browne 5 Steve Walsh 7 Cian Donohoe 5

Clean Sheet Victory

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

18.11.17

Spartak 1, Castleknock Celtic 0

Spartak owed the clean sheet to some stout defending, assured goalkeeping by Greg Byrne, but also to a big miss by a Castleknock player in the first half. The winger evaded Kevin Loftus and Chris Hogan to deliver an inviting cross to the unmarked striker, who headed against the crossbar and over when it seemed a routine act to score

This chance came after the visitors had established a level of control, late in the first half. For the first quarter or so, Spartak had dominated proceedings, only to be let down by the final ball, or lack of composure in front of goal. The best chance fell to Dave Berry, still rusty after a long lay off, who raced on to a deflected pass to go one on one. Opting for power rather than finesse, he blasted the ball at the keeper who pushed it onto the post and away for a corner. Cian Stenson also had a score ruled out for offside.

Passes then started to go astray and the visitors were allowed into the contest.

Many times during the game, Conor Callis showed a clean pair of heels to the visitors’ defence, but too often the final ball was lacking. It was however from one of his runs which forced a corner that brought the decisive goal, Niall Hade nodding in Dave Berry’s flag kick in the 73rd minute.

As the visitors pushed forward in search of the equaliser, Spartak broke as Mick Leslie beat the keeper in a race for Greg Byrne’s kick out. Mick squared it to Matt Forbes, whose effort was cleared off the line. Appeals for handball were ignored.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 9 Kevin Loftus 6 Cian Stenson 7 Chris Hogan 7 Keith Kelly 8 Darren Ritchie 7 Leo Behan 7 Conor Callis 6 Mick Leslie 6 Niall Hade 6 Dave Berry 6
Sub: Matt Forbes 5

No Joy in Finglas

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

12/11/17
Finglas Utd 4, Spartak 3

A Spartak side missing a few regulars went down to a late comeback by the local side.

A dramatic goal line block in the last seconds denied Darragh Logue an equaliser.

On a fine pitch, Spartak started brightly and took the lead in the first minute. A move involving Dave Browne, Owen Marron, Neil McGowan and Dave Kernan gave Ger Byrne the opportunity, and he scored despite a defender handling en route to the net.

Owen Marron made a marvellous block to prevent a certain goal after Kevin Loftus parried a shot in the goalmouth. Spartak took a two goal lead when Neil McGowan volleyed in, right footed, from Ger Byrne’s cross after a blistering run down the touchline.

Almost immediately the home side reduced arrears; but then Spartak, playing fast attacking football, created a host of chances. Dave Kernan’s effort was blocked; Neil McGowan and Stuart Love both fired wide from decent positions.

The home side came back strongly, forcing a goal line clearance, and then equalised when sloppy defending conceded possession. Ger Byrne converted Dave Kernan’s cross, but despite the home side going down to ten men, they availed of two crass defensive errors to score twice as Spartak squandered good possession.

A decent display, spoiled, yet again, by lack of concentration in the final quarter.

Form Report
Kevin Loftus 6 Dave Browne 5 Billy O’Neill 6 Darragh Logue 6 Karl McCullagh 7 Stuart Love 5 Neil McGowan 6 Dave Kernan 7 Niall Lennon 5 Ger Byrne 9 Owen Marron 7
Subs: Cian Stenson 5 Tom O’Driscoll 5 Mick Leslie 5 Andrei Gabriel 6

Stirring Comeback

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

11/11/17
Aylesbury 2, Spartak 4

The Sky Blues scored a timely away win in rain soaked Aylesbury.

With key central defenders absent through injury, Spartak had to improvise, and the players responded well. As usual both sides had to cope with the idiosyncratic refereeing performance, and both sides expressed their frustration at times.

Spartak had most of the play in the first half, but the final pass too often went astray. Cian Stenson set up Mick Leslie for the best chance, but he pulled his effort wide; Mick also struck the frame of the goal from a narrow angle following a corner by Andrei Gabriel. The home side then took the lead against the run of the play when the ball dropped kindly for the attacker following a corner.

Worse was to follow when loose marking allowed the home striker to fire in early in the second period.

However the tenacity of Mick Leslie paid off when he reduced arrears , and almost immediately he laid on a cross for Cian Stenson to equalise after a flowing move also involving Niall Hade and Conor Callis.

Spartak were now rampant and Mick Leslie converted Dave Berry’s cross to put the Sky Blues ahead. A number of injuries then disrupted the Sky Blues, and Aylesbury laid siege to the Spartak goal.

A number of blocks, clearances and saves from Greg Byrne kept the home side at bay. It looked as if the home number 5 had equalised with a bullet header from corner kick, but somehow Greg Byrne made a near miraculous reaction to push the effort over.

As the home side pushed forward, they left space at the back and this was punished when Mark Naughton tapped in after Dave Berry’s run and cross.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 9 Andrei Gabriel 7 Cian Stenson 8 Chris Hogan 8 Darren Ritchie 7 Jason Kelly 8 Conor Callis 5 Mick Leslie 8 Conor Canavan 7 Niall Hade 7 Leo Behan 7
Subs: Dave Berry 7 Kevin Loftus 6 Matt Forbes 6 Mark Naughton 6

Junior Cup Defeat

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

8.10.17
Spartak 1, Gorey Rangers 3

Spartak came up against an strong Wexford outfit in the second round, and despite a decent performance, exited the cup.

A scoreless first half saw Spartak defend well and attack only sporadically. The Sky Blues best chance fell to Dave Kernan, who headed onto the top of the bar from Stuart Love’s pass.

A deflected goal on the hour mark gave the visitors a breakthrough, and Spartak’s luck was out when Steve Grier’s goalbound shot was blocked. Almost immediately Gorey made it 2-0.

Gorey plundered a third before Spartak reduced arrears when Owen Marron’s pass gave Dave Kernan the chance to fire in, and Spartak then saw a Jeff Gamble header go wide before Mick Leslie had half chance, as the visitors relaxed and Spartak pushed on.

But a deserved win for the vistors.

Form Report
Johnluke Hayes 5 Dave Browne 6 Billy O’Neill 7 Ken Ward 7 Darragh Logue 7 Stuart Love 6 Neil McGowan 6 Dave Kernan 7 Steve Grier 7 Ger Byrne 8 Owen Marron 7
Subs: Jeff Gamble 6 Collie Dunne 6 Mick Leslie 6 Keith Kelly 6

Leslie Screamer sends Spartak on the way to Three Points

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

7.10.17
Spartak 2, Enniskerry 1

Spartak, having dominated the first half, made hard work in the second period of clinching the win.

The Sky Blues had a tremendous boost when Mick Leslie latched onto Sean Doyle’s pass, turned, and fired to the top corner from 25 yards past a helpless custodian.

Conor Callis, regularly fed by Niall Hade and Darren Ritchie, gave the visitors full back a torrid time with pace and trickery, albeit the final ball did not always yield positive results.

A harsh penalty allowed Enniskerry equalise, and the visitors were dangerous on the break, with the Sky Blues defence stretched to make vital interceptions.

When Niall Hade sent Conor Callis scurrying away down the left, he outfoxed the full back and saw his first cross blocked. At the second attempt he found the willing head of Darren Ritchie, who nodded in from close range.

In the second period, Enniskerry took the initiative, with Spartak attacks becoming more sporadic.
As tiredness set in, Spartak emptied the bench, and were indebted to one of the subs, when a tremendous challenge by Garrett Ritchie in the penalty area prevented what seemed a certain equaliser.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 7 Chris Hogan 7 Cian Stenson 7 Sean Doyle 7 Stephen Barr 7 Leo Behan 5 Conor Callis 7 Mick Leslie 6 Conor Canavan 6 Darren Ritchie 6 Niall Hade 6
Subs: Collie Dunne 6 Ciaran Keane 5 Owen McCormack 6 Garrett Ritchie 6

Points Thrown Away

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

1.10.17
Spartak 3, St Anthony’s Kilcoole 4

Two calamitous individual defensive errors, early and late, saw Spartak drop all three points in a game they should have won comfortably.

Spartak went a goal down before gradually imposing themselves on the game, with goals by Steve Grier, Ger Byrne and Grier again to lead 3-1 midway through the second half.

Spartak then failed to stop the cross, and an unmarked Anthony’s player fired in to reduce arrears. A long ball through the middle saw the Spartak defence at sixes and sevens, and the runner rounded Johnluke Hayes to equalise.

The final ignominy saw Spartak concede possesion in the box, recover it, usher the opponent away from goal and the concede a spot kick.

Probably best not to dwell too long on this one.

Form Report
Johnluke Hayes 6 Cian Donohoe 5 Darragh Logue 5 Ian Harmon 5 Keith Kelly 5 Niall Lennon 6 Neil McGowan 6 David Kernan 6 Steve Grier 6 Ger Byrne 6 Steve Walsh 5
Subs: Ken Ward 5 Stuart Love 5 Billy O’Neill 6 Dave Browne 6

Spartak Pipped by Late Goal

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

30/9/17
Iveagh Celtic 2, Spartak 1

Spartak matched the unbeaten league leaders for most of the game, but were undone by a late winning goal.

A faltering first half performance by the Sky Blues handed the home team possession and much of the initiative. Spartak’s only decent chance saw Sean Doyle’s headed touched away by the keeper. This was after a long range effort had given Iveagh the lead.

In the second period, Spartak were much sharper, Niall Hade equalising almost immediately. Mick Leslie then had a run but fired wide, before Niall Hade almost repeated his earlier effort, this time firing too close to the keeper, with Mick Leslie firing the loose ball over from close range.

Greg Byrne made a fine save as the visitors attacked. Iveagh forced a series of corners, before Darren Ritchie fired wide after a good move.

As the game seemed to peter out, a free from the half way line saw a lay off and a snap shot to secure the points for Iveagh.

Form Report
Greg Byrne 7 Chris Hogan 5 Cian Stenson 6 Sean Doyle 7 Stephen Barr 7 Leo Behan 6 Mick Leslie 6 Niall Hade 6 Conor Canavan 5 Ciaran Keane 5 Jason Kelly 7
Subs: Darren Ritchie 6 Dave Berry 6 Garrett Ritchie 6