Stoneyford United 3
Freshford Town 1
A SWIFT second half rally was enough to get Stoneyford United back on the winning trail.
Three goals in little over 20 minutes were enough to help United claim their first league win in over a month and climb to fourth in the Division One table.
The news isn’t as good for Freshford Town, however, who remain locked in a three-way battle with AC Kilkenny A and Thomastown United A at the wrong end of the table following their third loss in a row.
Things weren’t looking well for Stoneyford when they fell behind to a rocket of a free-kick from Paul Guinan in the opening half. However, they battled hard and, in the second half, found the form needed to secure their first win since October 16.
The comeback started when a team in search of a break got the slice of luck they craved. After Freshford failed to fully clear Gerry Mulcahy’s 55th minute corner the ball pinged around the box. John O’Shea’s flick was beaten out by ’keeper Shane McGree while Rob Lee’s stabbed shot was blocked on the line before Conor Coffey poked the ball home from point blank range.
The all-important second goal was much more impressive. James Moran showed great skill and footwork to control a Lee delivery on 61 minutes, making room for a shot that flew into the net despite the best efforts of McGree, who got his hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.
The goals signalled the end of a frustrating spell for Stoneyford, who had created plenty of chances in Sunday’s game but couldn’t find the end result.
Shane Murphy made the first attack, springing the offside trap and drawing McGree from his line before whipping in a seventh minute cross. The ball flew towards Moran, who would have had the simple task of heading home from just a few yards out, but defender Eoin Guinan got back just in time to head the ball out for a corner.
Stoneyford were then rocked when Freshford took the lead five minutes later. Again, luck played its part when Tom O’Leary’s attempted clearance flew up and hit Seanie Gibbons on the hand just outside the D. Paul Guinan stood over the free and made no mistake, drilling his shot into the top left corner of United’s net.
Stoneyford hit back but found both the frame of the goal and McGree to be unbeatable, the latter making a fine save to push out Shane Murphy’s stinging 37th minute shot.
Stoneyford continued to look for an equaliser as the half ticked into stoppage time. John O’Shea thought he’d found it when he connected with Conor Coffey’s corner at the back post, but he drove his volley into the Freshford defence.
The new half brought a change in Stoney’s fortunes, as two goals in six minutes gave them the lead. They then cemented that position 11 minutes from time, sub Johnny Roche making sure of the win when he sent McGree the wrong way from the penalty spot after Gerry Mulcahy was fouled in the box.
Stoneyford United: David Cummins, Tom O’Leary, Seanie Gibbons, Eamon Foley, Gary Ryan, Rob Lee (Johnny Roche, 66 mins), Shane Murphy, John O’Shea (Fergus Gilligan, 85 mins), James Moran, Gerry Mulcahy, Conor Coffey.
Freshford Town: Shane McGree, Simon Randall (Michael Walsh, 88 mins), Darren Burke, Denis Long, Eoin Guinan, Paul Guinan, Michael Burke, Michael Farrell, Willie Looby, Ger Doheny (Shea Burke, 66 mins), Graham O’Flaherty.
Referee: Tom Walsh.