Willow Park 1
Mid Sutton 0
A superb second half goal from Claudio Silva proved to be a golden one as Willow Park stretched their advantage at the top of the Leinster Senior league Division 1B table.
Mid Sutton Sportslink provided the opposition at DPD Park last Thursday night and were somehow unlucky to return to Dublin afterwards empty handed. It looked like the game would end with honours even but Silva’s strike proved to be the match winner.
It was a nervous start for the home team as they struggled against a fired up Mid Sutton in the opening exchanges. An early free kick from the edge of the penalty area saw Dylan McGoey spill the ball but the danger was cleared behind. A second corner kick followed with serious penalty appeals being turned down.
Another corner saw Willow struggle to clear. The first home chance came after 11 minutes when Silva saw the Sutton keeper save his low drive. A further Silva strike followed with Ryan Gaffey also testing the keeper. Further chances fell to Gaffey but the woodwork rescued Willow after half an hours play as Cian Ivers headed against the upright.
The last action of a lively opening half saw a home free kick pushed behind with Aaron O’Neill’s flick on from the resulting corner cleared off the goal line, with little between the teams then after the opening 45 minutes of action.
Willow lived dangerously at times during the early stages of the second half. A weak back pass had the home defence in trouble while a dangerous Sutton cross was cleared off the line. Centre half Jack Quinn missed a good chance when heading wide following a corner but the deadlock was finally broken on 72 minutes.
O’Neill played a lovely pass which picked out Silva on the edge of the penalty area. The number seven then drilled a low shot to the net past the keeper to at last settle home nerves. Almost immediately, the visitors had a chance to equalise but solid defending preserved the lead.
Substitute, Max Brady had a chance following his introduction but was denied by the referee’s offside whistle. There were some anxious moments in the closing stages for Willow as Sutton pushed hard for an equaliser. A corner kick was again cleared off the line while in the final minute the woodwork once more rescued Declan Holohan's men.
The initial danger from a corner was cleared but the return from the right back into the danger zone hit off the post. Silva’s single strike proved the difference at the finish as Willows winning streak at home continues. An enthralling contest which was just shaded by the home side in spite of some last ditch tackles and goal line clearances. Quinn proved to be man of the match at the heart of the Willow defence as the team captain lead by example.
Willow are in FAI Intermediate Cup action this weekend when they travel to take on Dublin University in the second round of the national competition.