Deen Celtic A 0
Bridge United A 2
MASTERS of the last gasp dramatics, Bridge United left it late - again! - before taking all three Premier Division points.
Fighting against relegation, the Goresbridge men did it the hard way when James Bolger scored an injury-time winner against Fort Rangers a month ago. Last week they hit two in the final quarter of the game to beat the Lions, so there were few eyebrows raised when they took 80 minutes to open the scoring against Deen Celtic A.
Sean Barcoe did the business for Bridge, dashing into the box to get his head on Cathal English’s corner and put a towering finish into the far corner of the net.
It was goal that fired up Bridge, but also floored Deen Celtic. Locked in their own battle against the drop, Sunday’s home defeat has left them with a mountain to climb. The ’Comer men have just three games left and must now rely on other results if they are to find some way out of trouble.
They had goalkeeper Robbie Lynch to thank for not falling behind early on. Following a great break down the right Conor English pulled a low ball across the box which Sean Barcoe connected with, but Lynch made a fine save at his right post.
The ’keeper was called into action again on nine minutes, when English sprang the offside trap. He bore down on goal and hit a powerful shot, but Lynch made a strong right hand stop to push the ball to safety.
Deen went on the attack after that, going close on several occasions but they couldn’t find the end product. Jonny Kavanagh’s lofted 17th minute shot had Zak Shermer back-pedalling for his goal line, but the netminder was relieved to see the ball sail clear of his far post.
The hosts went closer still three minutes later, when Sean Barcoe was well-placed to head Stephen Ruth’s inswinging corner off the line. The ball bounced round the box before James Sherwood pounced on it, but his shot was deflected out for another corner.
The hosts were left to rue those missed chances in the second half, as Bridge began to get the upper hand in attack. Once more Celtic were left thankful to Lynch, who pulled off another super save to keep his team in the game.
Sean Barcoe went within a whisker of opening the scoring when he unleashed a thundering 61st minute volley at the target, but somehow Lynch managed to palm the ball on to a post from almost point-blank range.
Lynch’s day ended prematurely when he came off second best in a clash with Sean Murphy. A clash with the Bridge striker saw Lynch limp out of the game with 17 minutes to go, but it could have been worse as Murphy’s header looped goalwards.
Defender Alan Phelan raced back towards the line, sliding after the ball, but Deen were relieved to see it end up outside the post.
Celtic weren’t as fortunate when Barcoe struck just eight minutes later. They tried hard to get back on level terms, going agonisingly close with John Deevy’s diving header on 87 minutes, but Bridge made sure of the spoils in the dying seconds of normal time.
Conor English grabbed the goal that secured Bridge’s top flight status, latching on to Barcoe’s flick-on before curling a sweet shot inside sub keeper Ciaran Stone’s left upright.
Deen Celtic A: Robbie Lynch (Ciaran Stone, 75 mins), Ronan Phelan, Anthony Kavanagh, Caleb Roche, James Sherwood, Alan Phelan, Stephen Ruth, Peadar Boran, Jonny Kavanagh, John Deevy, Eric Kavanagh (John Doheny, 58 mins).
Bridge United A: Zak Shermer, Willie Hennessy, Cathal English, James Barcoe, James Bolger, Colin Madden, Conor English, Martin Bambrick (Jason Holden, 90 mins), Sean Barcoe, Sean Murphy, Marty Dalton (Michael Brennan, 71 mins).
Referee: Pat O’Connor.