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

Spartak 1, McKelvey Celtic 2

The first game of the new year saw Spartak in good form and unlucky not to salvage a point.

Spartak were denied a possible equaliser when Steve Grier was tripped in the penalty area with minutes to go. It looked a nailed on penalty but the referee was not convinced.

Midway through the first half the teams exchanged goals, McKelvey with a neat header, and Steve Grier with a fine shot from the edge of the box to the top corner.

With 20 minutes to go a poor pass from the back saw McKelvey gain an opportunity, and they scored with the aid of a deflection which looped high over Craig Howard leaving him helpless.

As Spartak pressed for a second equaliser Dave Power was through one on one but the keeper saved.

A decent display by the Sky Blues against a side pushing for promotion

A harsh defeat.

Form Report
Craig Howard 6 Owen Marron 8 Kevin Cunningham 7 Ian Harmon 8 Steve Grier 7 Stuart Love 7 Neil McGowan 7 Ciaran Brady 8 Niall Lennon 6 Dave Power 6 Fergus Flynn 5
Subs Carl Gaffney 6 Chris Hogan 5 Ciaran Nolan 5 Sean Nolan 4

Shootout Success

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

Clara Town 3, Spartak 3 (Spartak win 4-1 on pens)

Spartak got a tough draw in the Leinster Shield with a long trip to deepest Offaly.

The weather was rather inclement, with driving rain and a strong breeze making conditions difficult for both sides.

Following two opening league defeats, the outlook looked bleak again as the Sky Blues went two down after just 15 minutes; hesitation in dealing with a long ball led to an easy opener for the home side, and then a free kick conceded within striking distance saw a fine, albeit wind assisted, shot adding number two.

Indeed Spartak remained fairly sleepy, and the home side missed a gilt edged opportunity at the back post which might have finished the game as a contest.

A fine Lennon pass freed Love on the left; he pulled an inviting ball back for Gahan, who shot wide; a repeat of the same move saw Spartak reduce arrears before the break, Gahan drilling home with the aid of a deflection.

The second period saw a different Spartak. Within ten minutes they had gone ahead. When Leslie was impeded, a penalty converted by Harmon levelled things up. Then a McGowan free saw a defender, under pressure from Love, have the misfortune to find his own net. 3.2

The heavy conditions and lack of subs told on Spartak as the home side flooded the pitch with 5 fresh men and finally Clara equalised when a seemingly harmless cross was handled. Penalty. 3-3.

Extra time it was. Spartak had a fine chance when Grier played Marron down the line, his cross slowed in the muddy conditions which allowed the home defender to foil Love from just a few yards out.

So to penalties. Harmon, McGowan, and Grier all netted; for the home side there was misfortune with just one of three scored, one off target and Howard saving one. So Gahan added the fourth to ensure that the long drive home was a happy one.

Form Report
Howard 7 Marron 7 Hogan 5 Grier 7 Harmon 7 Love 7 McGowan 7 Gahan 6 Doyle 6 Lennon 7 Leslie 6 Gaffney 5

Sky Blue over 35s off to a strong start

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

Spartak’s over 35 side have commenced the season in fine fashion, with 7 points from the first three games hoisting them to the top of the table. Shea McClafferty’s men won thr first two games by a 3-2 scoreline and took a point from a 1-1 draw with Booth Road in the third game.

Long may the good form continue.

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

Disappointing Cup exit

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

Ballyoulster 4, Spartak 3

Having beaten Dundrum 3-1 in the previous round, Spartak travelled to Celbridge to take on Ballyoulster.

Playing mostly on the back foot, the Sky Blues nevertheless were devastating on the break, with Djamel Djedaa having a goal disallowed before Cian Stenson (2) and Owen Marron goals rattled the home side.

With just 11 players travelling, Spartak tired in the second period and ceded control of the midfield as the home side brought on fresh legs to come out on top.

Form Report
Craig Howard 6 Owen Marron 8 Conor O’Sullivan 6 Chris Hogan 5 Seamus Battelle 7 Eric Barber 6 Adam Keane 5 Ciaran Brady 6 Liam Caffrey 6 Djamel Djedaa 7 Cian Stenson 9

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