Another win for on-form Strabane

Thursday, 23 February 2017

STRABANE Athletic's recent revival continued when they made it three wins in a row in the Intermediate League with a dramatic late winner at the Templemore Sports Complex on Saturday.

Oxford Utd Stars ...1
Strabane Athletic ...2

Strabane had half a chance in the early stages when a good passing move on the edge of the box involving Kyle Harte, Aodhan Doherty and Conor Carlin ended with Doherty's shot being blocked by the home keeper, David McGilloway. 

There followed a period of good Oxford pressure and Athletic were grateful to their goalkeeper Ruairi McElroy for a couple of great saves, and also to defender Richie Graham who headed one off his goal line.

Athletic steadied the ship and before the half was over they went close on two more occasions. The first of these saw a clearance ricochet off Shane Brennan and fly just wide. Then Aaron Porter latched onto a defensive error and found himself one on one with the keeper. Porter attempted to place the ball wide of Mc Gilloway but the keeper's outstretched hand turned the ball away for a corner. Honours even at half time with the two net minders taking turns to excel.

The second half belonged mostly to Strabane with the home team only threatening occasionally on the counter attack. Strabane build up play was good but a well marshalled Oxford defence and safe handling by McGilloway kept clear cut chances to a minimum. 

Having dominated the half it appeared Athletic hearts were to be broken when with six minutes remaining, a nice passing move on the right found Emmet Hargan in the box and the Oxford attacker finished well from close range.

Credit to the Strabane team though as not a single head went down after this setback and they equalised a minute later when Aaron Porter forced the ball home from the six yard line. It appeared Athletic had rescued a point but they refused to settle for that and were justifiably rewarded in the last minute when Aaron O'Hagan rose at the far post to head home a free kick. 

A very committed and determined performance by Strabane who are gradually playing their way back into title contention although there are many stiff challenges ahead, beginning next Saturday with a home derby game against high flying neighbours Ardstraw Utd. 

Strabane Athletic: Ruairi McElroy; Oran McShane; Cal Ryan; Gary Henderson; Richard Graham; Aaron O'Hagan; Aodhan Doherty; Conor Carlin; Kyle Harte; Shane Brennan; Aaron Porter; Sean Ferry; David Taylor; Shay Duffy.


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