Willow Park assume pole position following home win



John Dingle

Willow Park took over at the top of the Leinster Senior League Division 1A when they collected full points against Inchicore Athletic at DPD Park last Saturday evening. The final scoreline does not reflect the overall dominance of Declan Holohan and David McGuiness' charges, but there were still a few anxious moments late on for home supporters.

The opening half was fairly one sided with Willow dominating all sectors. Inchicore offered little in attack as Dylan McGoey enjoyed a quiet 45 minutes between the posts.

The first home chance came after just three minutes play. Etanda Nkololo had an initial shot blocked with the follow up effort saved by the keeper. The winger had a further shot blocked with the first corner kick arriving on 11 minutes. A left wing cross from Nkololo fell to Noel McGee but his shot was blocked.

Kevin Murray was then almost in to connect with another Nkololo delivery. The best chance before the break fell to Murray but his shot was blocked by the keeper’s legs following a pass from Garry McHugh. The only time Inchicore posed any threat was three minutes from the break when Benny Slattery took aim but his strike was easily gathered by McGoey.

The second half continued in a similar fashion with Willow again on the attack. The pressure paid off with the lead goal after 53 minutes. Nkololo played the ball over the top to Murray on the right. The number seven took aim, drilling a low shot to the net.

It was now expected that Willow would run out easy winners, as McGee fired wide and Benny Magennis also came close to scoring. There was a big shock in store however as, against the run of play, Inchicore equalised after 62 minutes. After saving from Magennis, the keeper launched the ball up field. There looked to be little danger as Ciaran Dunne gave chase but the number eleven did well to make space and fire to the net.

The lead should have been restored on 64 minutes but, after being gifted possession, Murray was denied by the visiting keeper. A further corner followed and Willow then regained the lead after 71 minutes. Murray set up McGee who rifled a shot to the roof of the net.

Inchicore refused to be beaten and had chances late on to return home with a share of the spoils. Substitute Gary Darcy fired a shot at McGoey with Jack Morley than shooting over.

At the other end, home chances fell to Magennis and substitute Ryan Carberry but both were off target. As the game headed into time added on, Ger Marshall had a shot saved.

As the final whistle drew nearer, home supporters had some anxious moments as Athletic came close to grabbing what would have been an undeserved equaliser, with McGoey doing well to push a Benny Slattery shot behind leaving Willow to defend the resulting corner kick. Marshall arrived at the far post to connect with the delivery but the headed effort cleared the bar.


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