By Daire Walsh
Crumlin United bolstered their DDSL Under 17 Premier One prospects with a convincing triumph over Marks Celtic at Pearse Park last Sunday.
Courtesy of close-range finishes from Robert Dragusin and Ollie Kendrick, the hosts found themselves in a commanding position at the break. Joey Reynolds and centre-half Brandon Carey added goals in the second half to ensure that Crumlin comfortably secured the three points on offer.
Marks did manage to fire back through the industrious Cian Stokes and they also finished with an extra man following the dismissal of United substitute Jack Warren for a second yellow-card offence. However, the Springfield men were left with an uphill task and ultimately came off second best to their southside rivals.
Seeking to bounce back from a recent away defeat to Phoenix FC, Crumlin enjoyed a bright start to the action. Deployed in a 3-5-2 formation, they utilised the energy and industry of Kendrick and Madjid Musodi in the wide areas.
Imposing centre-half Adam Kelly had an early header cleared off the line, before Crumlin eventually broke the deadlock on 14 minutes. Reacting fastest to Greg Kavanagh’s corner on the left-wing, Dragusin side-footed to the Marks’ net in clinical style.
This was the perfect tonic for United, who were hoping to extend their unbeaten home league record to three games. Despite their best endeavours around the middle-third, Marks fell further adrift just shy of the half-hour mark.
Ben Wolfe’s long-distance piledriver rattled the underside of the crossbar, but Kendrick was ideally-placed to head home the rebound. Although Marks displayed a great deal of fight as the play progressed, it proved to be a quiet opening period for Crumlin netminder Evan Meehan.
On the stroke of half-time, Ola Alavupe turned away a powerful Josh Devereux strike to keep Marks within touching distance. Yet, the final outcome was effectively placed beyond doubt five minutes after the resumption.
A long ball over the top released centre-forward Reynolds and he made no mistake with a smooth finish to the bottom right-hand corner. The Marks back-four were struggling to contain a rampant Crumlin attack and a fourth goal arrived for the home team on 54 minutes.
Zach Donoghue’s fierce free-kick was parried into the path of Carey, who added his name to the scoresheet in consummate fashion. It was turning into a damage limitation exercise for Mark’s, though they displayed admirable perseverance for the remainder of the contest.
With Crumlin making a host changes to their team – as Marks had done before the break – they looked to capitalise on an element of uncertainty in the opposition half. Stokes was picked out down the left and he fired past Meehan at a tight angle.
While a stirring comeback was always unlikely, Warren’s somewhat unfortunate sending-off presented them with an opportunity to eat further into their deficit. Nevertheless, with Cian Mahon making an impressive impact off the bench, Crumlin eased their way over the line and up to fourth place in the table.