06 Dec 2021

’Town win as Bridge pay penalty

The width of a post provided some good fortune as Thomastown United picked up all three Premier Division points on Sunday.

The width of a post provided some good fortune as Thomastown United picked up all three Premier Division points on Sunday.

A little slice of luck did the hosts no harm as they withstood a Bridge United rally to secure their fifth win of the campaign and move joint top with Freebooters A.

Two goals to the good and looking comfortable, Thomastown’s day could have changed when Bridge were awarded a penalty with 25 minutes to go.

Michael Bolger did well to send Rory Leadbetter the wrong way from 12 yards but his powerful shot thudded back off the base of the left post and bounced out to safety.

That miss was a huge let-off for Thomastown, who had their hands full dealing with the Bridge threat for long spells.

Attacking force

Right from the off the visitors used their young attacking force of Conor English, Sean Murphy - backed up by Michael and James Bolger - to push Thomastown back into defensive mode.

Thomastown were able for the threat, coolly moving the ball around their defence as they worked their way out of trouble, but they still had some nervy moments early on.

Michael Bolger tested Rory Leadbetter with a long range strike within a minute of kick-off. He then had a strong penalty claim waved away after a third minute collision involving the striker, Leadbetter and Davy Wemyss saw Bolger upended in the box.

The goal Bridge needed as reward for their good start never arrived, however. Instead, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock midway through the half.

After showing their capabilities on the backfoot, Thomastown proved they were just as good when they pushed on. Robert Skehan started the move with a quick throw-in to Steven Connolly, then sped on to the return pass and whipped it across the box.

Bridge, caught cold by the swiftness of the move, failed to prevent Eoin Manning from stealing in at the back post to confidently sweep the ball home.

Down but not out, Bridge tried their best to hit back. John Kelly went close on the half-hour when he latched on to a half-cleared ball and cut in from the left but he lashed his shot over the bar. Conor English also had a go, testing Leadbetter with a teasing free that the netminder pushed to safety.

As hard as Bridge tried it was Thomastown who almost got another goal before half-time. Eoin Manning showed his eye for the target again when he picked up a loose ball and drove through the centre of midfield.

Although some distance out, Manning let fly. His shot screamed towards the inside of the left post but Jason Mahony made a super save, diving to his right to push the ball out.

Thomastown kept on the front foot in the second half, taking just 18 minutes to double their lead. Once again they showed their speed from set-pieces, as Steven Connolly cleverly flicked Andy Kavanagh’s throw-in to Robbie Kavanagh’s path.

Having stormed from midfield, Kavanagh didn’t slow down. He burst into the box, pausing only to coolly slip the ball under the advancing Mahony.

Off the hook

Thomastown might have thought that second goal would settle the game, but they were let off the hook when Bolger crashed his spot kick off the post just two minutes later.

That penalty miss served to keep the hosts alert, ensuring Thomastown kept working hard until the end to contain Bridge. To their credit the visitors pressed on and pulled a goal back in time added on, John Kelly heading William Hennessy’s free home, but that was too little too late.

Thomastown United A: Rory Leadbetter, Robbie Kavanagh, Robert Skehan, Derek Brennan, Davy Wemyss, Andy Kavanagh, Eoin Manning (Kevin O’Neill, 83 mins), Dessie Walsh, Steven Connolly, Mark Delahunty (Paul Dunne, 85 mins), Kelvyn Skehan (Danny Monks, 68 mins).

Bridge United A: Jason Mahony, William Hennessy, Cathal English, John Kelly, Tom Huff, Padraig Bambrick, Conor English, James Bolger, Sean Murphy, Michael Bolger (Danny Hickey, 81 mins), Eoin Kavanagh.

Referee: Pat O’Connor.

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