Monksland suffer home defeat in quest for league honours

MONKSLAND UNITED 2 MULLINGAR ATHLETIC 4

John Dingle

Monksland United U17s missed out on the chance to move into second spot on the league table when they were beaten at home in a six-goal thriller last Saturday afternoon.

Mullingar Athletic were the visitors to Cushla Park and maintained the chase to catch table toppers Willow Park with an away win. It was one all at half time as Athletic equalised after John Shine had fired Davy Cummin’s side in front. The game turned the visitor’s way with two goals in a three minute spell early in the second half. Monksland cut the deficit to the bare minimum but a fourth goal for Athletic on the stroke of full time sealed the victory for the away team.

The fired-up hosts had the better of the early exchanges before taking the lead on 19 minutes. The first corner kick of the contest was followed by James Fortune heading a Tijani Ishola free kick wide. Mullingar’s first chance saw Daithi O’Mairtin denied by the keeper. Luke Gavin then headed wide for United as Warric Kirby drilled a free kick off target for Athletic.

The scoring was opened when an Adam Milton cross from the right was headed home by John Shine. Kirby and Ben Shaw had chances in the response from Mullingar and the equaliser duly followed just before the half hour mark.

Monksland conceded a free kick which Jake Costello drilled into the bottom corner of the net past the despairing dive of Neil Hannon. Monksland missed a good chance to go back in front before the break. Shine looked set to grab a second when facing the keeper but Stephen Cleary’s outstretched leg kept Athletic on level terms.

Mullingar brought Cleary outfield for the second half and he was involved in the final incidents of the game. Monksland conceded two goals in a three minute spell early in the second half. The half was just three minutes old when an unfortunate own goal following a corner kick had Mullingar ahead. There was barely time to recover from going behind when a third goal was conceded when a cross from the left was finished low to the net by Kirby.

Cummin’s lads refused to buckle though and Ishola blasted wide from a good position. United reduced the deficit to the bare minimum after 83 minutes. as substitute, Oisin McAuley’s low strike from just inside the penalty box beat the keeper.

There was still time remaining for another goal as a sending off then followed in the aftermath. A counter attack saw Kirby raid down the right. The cross fell to Cleary who fired home.

Having scored, the Athletic player then got involved in an altercation with the home goalkeeper which resulted in the referee producing the red card. Monksland could do little though in the time remaining even with an extra player as Mullingar held out.

Athletic now edge to within three points of Willow Park at the top of the table as Monksland remain in third spot, seven points behind the unbeaten leaders.

 

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