Wednesday October 10 2012

ROCK Celtic salvaged a lastditch draw in a mistake-ridden encounter between two of the league’s leading contenders at Sandy Lane on Friday night.

Tempers flared at the end of both halves, resulting in scuffles involving players from both sides, but on the balance of play it was probably a deserved outcome for the Blackrock men, who showed strong resilience to come from behind three times, even though they received a little helping hand from the Navan goalkeeper who was at fault for all three Rock goals.

His final act of generosity yielded the point for fourth-placed Rock and enable them to stay two points ahead of their opponents. The goalkeeper spilled a harmless David McGeough shot in the dying seconds for David Ward to pounce on the loose ball before being taken down.

Kevin McArdle duly converted his second penalty of the game, despite the goalkeeper guessing and diving right in what was a repeat finish to the opening half. Ward was needlessly sent tumbling as he sprinted towards the byeline as the keeper rushed out to the right edge of his 18-yard line in the 45th minute.

McArdle calmly stroked home that spot kick, putting it to the opposite side to which the goalkeeper dived to cancel out the lead Navan had regained as the last 15 minutes before the break produced a flurry of goals.

Navan opened the scoring on the half-hour, exposing badly the Rock defence. Then the middle of the Navan defence parted for Ward who was left one on one with the keeper. He didn’t connect properly with the dropping ball played from deep, but the advancing goalkeeper was slow getting down and it rolled past him into the empty net.

Cosmos were soon back in front, punishing poor marking at the front post from a corner, but their advantage was short-lived. Rock were the dominant side in the second half, but Ward failed to convert two glorious opportunities with his head, and it looked like they would be very costly when from another corner a static home defence again was shown up in the air as Cosmos went 3-2 ahead.

Ward redeemed himself by earning another penalty and McArdle held his nerve to tie up the score again, and as they did at the end of the first half a number of players from each side became involved in a heated scuffle on their way off the field. ROCK: John Rogers, Ross Quigley (Cormac McArdle), Sean Waters, Conor Rafferty, Shane O’Callaghan, Chris Connolly (Conor Smith), Paddy Quinn (Aaron Mulligan), David McGeough, Gerard McSorley, David Ward, Kavin McArdle.


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