Champions Woodview Celtic’s stuttering start to their league campaign continued at Sandy Lane last Wednesday night as Rock Celtic moved level on points with Boyne Harps at the top of the table with a 3-2 win.
A large crowd turned out under the floodlights and they were treated to an action packed game which saw each side convert a penalty a kick and Woodview finish with ten men.
Both teams went for the throats from the off and on eight minutes David Ward, whose pace and trickery caused Woodview no end of problems throughout, saw his stinging effort rebound from an upright after a neat pass from Stefan McKevitt had played him in.
Five minutes later Woodview went close when a Ray McCann free-kick picked out Chris Caulfield but his powerful header skimmed the top of John Rogers’ crossbar.
The Seasiders broke the deadlock after 18 minutes. McKevitt swung a beautiful ball into the Woodview penalty area and Shane O’Callaghan hammered the ball past Padraig Gorham.
The visitors almost drew level almost immediately when Nathan Murphy swung in a corner-kick that was met by Owen Armstrong but his tame header from six-yards failed to trouble Rogers in the Rock goal.
It looked like Rock would go into the break ahead but Woodview levelled when Johnny Lynch was taken down in the penalty area by Niall McLoughlin and McCann converted the penalty.
Sixty five minutes had elapsed when disaster struck the league champions. Derek Delany collected a poor backpass by Derek McCabe only to see his goalbound effort handled by Chris Caulfield.
Referee Colin Halligan had no hesitation in pointing to the spot before dismissing Caulfield. The ice cool Delany made no mistake from the spot.
Dermot Keely’s side had their tails up at this stage and they deservedly made it 3-1 soon after when McLoughlin made up for his earlier aberration by rifling home after a Brian Kilboy effort had come back off the upright.
Woodview reacted immediately and a mazy run from former Rock Celtic player Gerard McSorley almost reduced the arrears but McKevitt appeared from nowhere to make a superb tackle.
Gavin McKeever sent on Stephen Fisher with 15 minutes to play and the move came up trumps as he beat a couple of defenders to place the ball wide of Rogers to make it 3-2.
The ten men threw everything at the Rock defence in the final stages but but there was no way past Sean Watters and Paddy Reilly who stood tall in the face of the onslaught.
Rock Celtic: John Rogers, Stefan McKevitt, John Sharkey, Niall McLoughlin, Sean Watters, Paddy Reilly, Brian Kilboy, Mark McGeown, Derek Delany, Shane O’Callaghan (Ed Maguire), David Ward.
Woodview Celtic: Padraig Gorham, Derek McCabe, Nathan Murphy, Cathal Bellew, Chris Caulfield, Johnny Lynch, Colin Finan (Stephen Fisher), Gerard McSorley, Billy Smith, Ray McCann (Barry Carr), Owen Armstrong (Paudie Hearty).
REFEREE: Colin Halligan.