Cobh go top with a capital victory
COBH RAMBLERS…………………………….. 1
A 50th-minute goal from Karl Caulfield was the difference at Tolka Park last night, as Cobh Ramblers defeated 10-man Shelbourne to go top of the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
This was the sixth league win of 2017 for Ramblers, and after Waterford and UCD shared the spoils in their league encounter, they leapfrogged to the summit of the second-tier table.
Kyle McNamara was on the scoresheet for Cobh in their 2-0 win over Longford Town at St Colman’s Park last Saturday, but he made way for Stephen Christopher in the only alteration to the visitors’ starting line-up.
Adam Evans and Dale Rooney provided plenty of width to the Shel’s attack during the opening exchanges, but following neat control by lone striker Matthew Whelan, Cobh’s Christopher had a 13th-minute strike deflected away from the target.
As the half developed, Cobh were starting to gain more of a foothold in Shels’ half, and a looping Chris McCarthy header was tipped over the bar by Dean Delany on the half-hour mark.
However, Cobh breathed a huge sigh of relief in the 37th-minute, when Paul Hunt kept his side on level terms with a stunning double save. A Rooney header from a left-hand angle was turned away impressively by the Ramblers shotstopper, and he quickly returned to his feet to superbly stop James English’s close-range rebound.
This was a major let-off for Cobh, and after Aidan Collins and English were wide of the mark, the deadlock remained unbroken at the midway point. Hunt was again called into action just after restart to cut out an English delivery, but just five minutes into the second period, Ramblers opened the scoring in stunning fashion.
The Leesiders broke at pace into the final-third, and when he received the ball on the right-flank, Caulfield found the far corner of the goal with a delicate chip over the head of the stranded Delany. This helped silence the vocal home support, and also placed the onus on the Dubliners to take the game to their southern counterparts.
English found the Ramblers net on the hour, but this was after referee John McLoughlin had awarded a free for a foul on Hunt. The former Longford Town man landed awkwardly on his neck, but after receiving treatment resumed his place between the sticks.
Moving towards the final-quarter, Shels were applying considerable attacking pressure, but the best opportunities fell the way of a determined Cobh. Christopher blazed wide from a promising position, and a powerful Ian Mylod free-kick was narrowly deflected over the hosts’ crossbar.
English was then given his marching orders for a late challenge on Mylod five minutes from time, and after Hunt thwarted a 90th-minute piledriver from Mark Hughes, they held out for a hard-earned victory.
SHELBOURNE: Dean Delany; Adam O’Connor, Derek Prendergast, Aidan Collins, Reece McEnteer; Mark Hughes, David O’Leary, James O’Brien; Dale Rooney (Jackson Ryan 75), James English (Aaron Ashe 61), Adam Evans.
COBH RAMBLERS: Paul Hunt; Cian Coleman, Cian Kingston, Chris McCarthy; Charlie Flemming, Craig Donnellan, Karl Caulfield, Ian Mylod; Ross Mann, Matthew Whelan, Stephen Christopher.
Referee: John McLoughlin (Roscommon).