IT WAS A MIXED welcome back to the Kells Road for Evergreen’s two Premier Division teams on Sunday morning.
For the A team, the return to their old stomping ground after their exertions in court brought three points and breathing space at the summit. For the B team, it was a heavy defeat which leaves their top flight status in a precarious position.
With three other games left - ties against Fort Rangers, East End and Deen Celtic - Evergreen B may have felt that Sunday’s was the match they could afford to slip-up in. That said, they showed character to fight their way back into the reckoning after falling behind to a swift one-two.
While early goals from Declan McQuillan and Joe Mulcahy gave Evergreen A pole position by the 10th minute Evergreen B shocked the ‘home’ side when they pulled a goal back midway through the half.
Having gone close through Mark Owens, who forced Pierce Dargan to tip his low 22nd minute drive around the post, they hit the jackpot 60 seconds later after Mikey McDonald had been felled on the right of the box.
Conor Barry took the free, drilling a low ball into the box at a sea of bodies. Ciaran Snype was quickest to react, sticking his foot out and turning the ball beyond Dargan and inside the far post.
The goal was a just reward for Evergreen B who, with the likes of Chris Traynor and Mark Owens in good form, had started to disrupt the A team’s flow in midfield.
They almost did even better, going really close to grabbing an equaliser on the half hour. Evergreen A were caught cold when Snype took down Craig Eardley’s excellent floated pass and stepped inside Oisin Corr as Pierce Dargan raced from his line. It looked as though Snype had an open goal to aim at but fellow strike partner Traynor seemed to get in the way, forcing him to put more power in a shot which sailed over the bar from the edge of the box.
That was as close as they’d come to causing an upset however, as Evergreen A restored their two-goal lead two minutes before the break. Coming at the end of a great spell of midfield possession, Jamie Owens played a neat one-two with Mulcahy before taking aim and tucking a low shot into the bottom left corner.
The game was wrapped up by the hour mark, as an 11-minute hat-trick from David Grincell sent Evergreen A coasting to victory.
Goal number one was a bullet-like header following a Chris Whearty corner on 50 minutes. Two minutes later he had his second, racing on to Jamie Owens’s defence-splitting pass before sliding the ball past Philip Johnston.
A straight red card for Gary Owens saw Evergreen B reduced to ten men on 58 minutes, before Grincell completed his treble just after the hour. Once more Whearty was the provider, ending a dash down the left with a squared pass which Grincell smacked inside Johnston’s right hand post.
Both sides rang the changes after that, but there was still time for Evergreen A to boost their goal tally even further. Second half sub Whearty got the goal his performance deserved when he curled a close range shot home on 79 minutes, while fellow replacement Andrew Hickey converted the last kick of the game, finishing a Vinny O’Brien cross to put the gloss on the game.
Evergreen A: Pierce Dargan, Oisin Corr, Vinny O’Brien, Matthew Wong, Robbie Quan, Brian Jordan (Chris Whearty, 46 mins), Declan McQuillan, Niall Andrews (Jason Quan, 65 mins), Joe Mulcahy (Andrew Hickey, 64 mins), Jamie Owens, David Grincell.
Evergreen B: Philip Johnston (Stephen Guidera, 62 mins), Gary Maher (Andy Ryan, 56 mins), Gary Owens, Adrian Kiely, Dylan Whearty, Conor Barry, Mikey McDonald, Craig Eardley, Chris Traynor (Ian McLoughlin, 56 mins), Mark Owens, Ciaran Snype.
Referee: Ollie Falsey.