WILLOW PARK 1 TOLKA ROVERS 3
High flying Tolka Rovers were the visitors to DPD Park on Saturday night last and travelled back to the capital with all three points.
After taking the lead on 41 minutes, a second goal in first half stoppage time handed Rovers a comfortable advantage at the break. A third goal with 15 minutes left sealed the victory as a late Mark Sherlock score was mere consolation for Willow Park.
Just three minutes had been played when Sherlock was presented with a good chance to open the scoring. The striker opted to try and place the ball in the net but the shot was blocked with the Tolka goalkeeper then gathering the ball.
Tolka’s first chance on seven minutes came from the first corner kick of the contest, but goalkeeper Aidan Browne pulled off a fantastic double block as the ball went behind for another corner. The home keeper was injured in the process and had to be replaced by Darcy Lawless.
Sean Trimble fired wide for Rovers while Ryan Carberry had a chance at the other end. The bright opening faded and the game only came back to life again during the closing stages of the half.
The deadlock was finally broken just before the break when Willow were punished for poor defending, Dean Paget taking full advantage of the indecision and slotting home past the stranded Lawless. The goal scorer had a further chance soon after while a corner ended Willow’s attacking entries.
Tolka struck again during stoppage time to double their lead. A corner saw Aaron Townley have too much space and time to rifle a shot to the net from the edge of the penalty box. The concession of a second goal deep into stoppage time was a major blow for the home team.
On the resumption of play, Paget had a chance for Tolka with a corner following for the visitors. The first home chance did not come until 24 minutes when new boy Maurice McGee fired wide.
The game was all but settled in Tolka’s favour six minutes later. The Willow defending was again inadequate as a cross from the right was tapped in at the far post by Paget.
Willow did take the bare look off the scoreboard with 12 minutes remaining when a Conor McCormack free kick from inside his own half was met by Sherlock who found the net. A grandstand finish did not follow as Willow failed to make the closing stages more interesting.
Instead, Rovers looked more likely to add to their tally. Jake Hyland drilled a free kick over while stoppage time saw three further chances fall the visitor’s way, Townley shooting off the keeper with the ball going behind for a corner.
Lawless again made a good block in the fourth additional minute when Paget was denied his hat trick. It kept some respectability on the final score for manager David McGuinness and his charges as almost six additional minutes were eventually played. Tolka substitute Luke Carrick had the last chance but again Lawless made the vital save.