Strabane bounce back with win over Maiden City.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Strabane bounce back with win over Maiden City. thumbnail Strabane's Conor Carlin is challenged by Maiden City’s James McClay.

STRABANE Athletic bounced back after recent disappointments to record an important victory over Maiden City FC at Melvin Park on Saturday.


From the outset Athletic showed a determination to get last week's defeat out of their system and could have taken the lead if any of the front men had got on the end of Conal Crawford's fine cross.

In a game which was a great advertisement for Intermediate football, the home side were well in control in the early stages and a superb pass from Richie Graham found Crawford and he provided the returning Sean Ferry with a chance which brought a good save from visiting keeper Odhran Gill.

The flowing football continued and Crawford crossed for Ronan McBrearty to head straight at the net minder.

Gradually the visitors began to show flashes of why they are many people's favourites for the title and the impressive Darren McCready was unlucky to see a brilliant free kick bounce back off the Strabane upright.

However the local team were still looking most likely to score and the busy Conor Carlin had a couple of half chances.

As the first half drew to a close, City saw Caolan Cooley volley wide from James McClay's cross while at the other end Sean Ferry's volley needed a smart save from Gill. The last chance before the interval fell to the Derry men when a corner was headed over.

The second half saw a positive start from Maiden City but Strabane had a great chance when Aodhan Doherty fired over from a superb Cal Ryan cross.

Athletic had to show their defensive qualities at this stage of the game and although City had greater possession for a while no clear cut opportunities were created. The visitors then won a couple of free kicks which saw McCready draw a fine save from home keeper Ruairi McElroy while Mc Clay's effort was just too high.

Half an hour into the second period came a very important point in the game when Maiden City's excellent passing move provided Caolan Cooley with a clear chance but Mc Elroy's goalkeeping was exemplary, standing tall and denying the Derry striker with a brilliant save from point blank range.

Athletic were boosted by this and the response was immediate as McBrearty's headed pass found Ferry who was dispossessed when he was just about to shoot.

But the deserved breakthrough came with ten minutes to go as another perfect through ball from Conal Crawford released Conor Carlin. Gill did well to save his first effort but Carlin was not to be denied and followed up to convert the rebound.

It might have been a nervous end to the game for Strabane but Shane Brennan settled things when he calmly converted a great pass from Ronan McBrearty for the insurance goal.

This was Maiden City's first league defeat of the season and it means Strabane are very much back in the title race. The victory was achieved through tactics, fitness, skill and determination and was the perfect response from the home team to a couple of recent setbacks.

SAFC: Ruairi Mc Elroy; Aodhan Doherty; Cal Ryan; Richard Graham; Christopher Gallagher; GaryHenderson; Conal Crawford; Shane Brennan; Conor Carlin; Sean Ferry; Ronan McBrearty.

Subs: David Taylor; Dylan Peoples; Oliver Gallagher; Ryan McAleer; Sean Lynch.


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