Muirhevnamor moved clear at the top of the Nivea For Men MDL Premier Division as they beat 10-man Woodview Celtic 2-0 at Glenmuir Park on Friday night.
Despite the counter attraction of the World Cup qualifier between Germany and the Republic of Ireland, a large crowd turned out for for a highly entertaining and sporting encounter on an excellent playing surface.
Woodview dominated the opening exchanges and on ten minutes Stephen Fisher was narrowly off target with an effort after Paul Warnock’s cross field ball had played him in.
The home side continued to zip the ball around at a high tempo and they went close again when Paudie Hearty escaped the tight marking of Muirhevnamor defenders Adrian Rafferty and Shane O’Callaghan but he too saw his strike fly just over the crossbar.
On 25 minutes Muirhevnamor created a good opening themselves. A brilliant piece of interplay involving Brendan Hughes and Philip Duffy allowed Sean Conlon to strike a 25-yard rocket that Padraig Gorham brilliantly tipped over for a fruitless corner kick.
With the half drawing to a close Ray McCann saw his cross fumbled by Mor goalkeeper Michael Cooney who found himself under pressure from Billy Smith.
The loose ball fell to Owen Armstrong who looked like he had a tap in but excellent covering from Brian Begley saw the Muirhevnamor full-back clear the effort off the line.
The first minute of the second half saw Hearty miss a glorious chance to open the scoring. It came after he brilliantly controlled Alan McCartney’s long ball but, with only Cooney to beat, the striker found the side netting.
The first goal was always going to be crucial and it arrived Muirhevnamor’s way after 70 minutes.
Dillon latched onto a flick on to find himself with only Gorham to beat and he duly took the opportunity from inside the penalty area to blast a rocket to the roof of the net and send the large Muirhevnamor support wild with delight.
With ten minutes left to play disaster struck for Woodview when Gorham received a red card from referee Colin Halligan after upending his former team-mate Anto Reilly when through on goal.
With no substitute goalkeeper on the bench, Fisher donned the goalkeeper gloves but he was left helpless when Muirhevnamor sealed the win late on.
A careless challenge from Paul Warnock on Muirhevnamor substitute Simon O’Shaughnessy saw referee Halligan point to the penalty spot and Jimmy Cooney calmly powered the ball home to secure an excellent three points for Dixon’s side.
Woodview Celtic: Padraig Gorham, Alan McCartney, Paul Warnock, Chris Caulfield, Mickey O’Kane, Paul McArdle, Stephen Fisher, Owen Armstrong (Barry Carr), Billy Smith (Colin Finan), Paudie Hearty, Ray McCann. Unused subs: Conor Murphy, Conor McErlean.
Muirhevnamor: Michael Cooney, Stefan McKevitt, Brian Begley, Shane O’Callaghan, Adrian Rafferty, Philip Duffy, Sean Conlon (Simon O’Shaughnessy), Thomas McShane (Anto Reilly), Ryan Dillon, Brendan Hughes (Conal Mulvenna), Jimmy Cooney.