Woodview Celtic took a massive step towards the Integral Fitness Premier Division title when they beat reigning champions and fierce rivals Rock Celtic 4-3 in a pulsating game of football at the Muirhevnamor all weather pitch on Friday night.
Playing into a bitterly cold wind in the first-half, Woodview opened brightly and on 12 minutes Billy Smith delivered a perfect cross for skipper Mickey O’Kane to open the scoring.
Rock went close to drawing level soon after when Gerard McSorley released David Ward but he was denied by Padraig Gorham’s excellent save.
Midway through the half a rash foul on Smith by Rock centre-back David McGeough allowed Stephen Fisher a sighting of goal but his curling free-kick struck the Seasiders’ upright.
Play continued to ebb and flow and at the other end Ward was denied by a terrific tackle from Conor McErlean just as he was about to pull the trigger.
Woodview doubled their advantage on the half hour mark when Paudie Hearty’s sublime touch from Alan McCartney’s free-kick set up O’Kane to blast home his second goal.
The two goal lead lasted just minutes however as Rock hit back. Cormac McArdle’s perfect inswinging delivery picked out the unmarked David Asare and he found the target with a simple header from six-yards.
With the first-half entering its final minutes the Seasiders drew level when Cormac McArdle’s flighted ball was claimed by the lightening quick Ward and he outpaced the Woodview defence to calmly slot the ball past the exposed Gorham.
The second-half saw the tempo increase and on 65 minutes Woodview were reduced to ten men when Owen Armstrong was shown a straight red card for dissent towards the referee.
The drama continued in spectacular fashion five minutes later. Rock were awarded a penalty kick when Derek Delany was adjudged to have been fouled by Fisher but Woodview goalkeeper Padraig Gorham saved brilliantly from Kevin McArdle’s well struck penalty kick before immediately releasing Fisher on the attack. His pace took him down the right wing before he cut the ball back for the supporting Smith to arrive and guide the ball past John Rogers to make it 3-2.
David Hoey’s side responded like champions and they drew level once again when Mark McGeown delivered a free-kick into the Woodview penalty area and a delicate header from Cormac McArdle beat Gorham.
Both sides went all out to grab the winner and as the game entered its final ten minutes it was Woodview who grabbed the all important and priceless goal.
Again, Fisher acted as provider, playing a perfectly weighted ball to Hearty who, from 10-yards, gleefully hammered the ball past his good friend Rogers to complete the scoring and put Woodview one step closer to the title with just x games remaining.
Woodview Celtic: Padraig Gorham, Alan McCartney, Conor McErlean, Chris Caulfield, Johnny Lynch, Stephen Fisher, Owen Armstrong, Ray McCann (Eimhinn Caldwell), Paudie Hearty (Colin Finan), Mickey O’Kane, Billy Smith (Paul Warnock).
Rock Celtic: John Rogers, Mark McGeown, Cormac McArdle, Paul Gore, David McGeough, Paddy Reilly, Kevin McArdle, David Asare (Derek Delany), Gerard McSorley, David Ward, Chris Connolly (Kurt Murphy).
q Before the game a minutes silence was observed for the late Veronica Quinn, mother of Rock Celtic player Paddy Quinn, who passed away recently.