A goal midway through the first-half by Kevin ‘Gooch’ Doherty was enough to secure another win and vital three points for promotion chasing Cranford FC.
Cranford United 1 Whitestrand United 0
The game was somewhat overshadowed by an injury to Whitestrand United defender Ryan McCleary early in the second-half which saw a fifty minute delay while the player was treated on the pitch and the arrival of an Ambulance to take him to hospital.
McCleary had an ankle injury and the situation was very well dealt with by officials from both clubs and the ambulance crew when they arrived to ensure the player was given the best possible care.
The home side started well with Keelan McGroddy, David O’Donnell and Kevin Doherty all lively in attack but Whitestrand Utd also had dangerous players up front with Jonathan Sweeney, Kevin Loughrey and Kevin McCarry needing some attention from the home defence.
After McGroddy had almost got in a couple of times for Cranford, Sweeney’s excellent cross found the head of Loughrey at the other end but he couldn’t control his effort.
What proved to be the game’s only goal arrived in the 24th minute, Shane Mc Teague’s throw-in found the head of Padraig McGinty and when he flicked it on Kevin Doherty struck it well and while keeper Paddy Kelly did well to block the shot he was unable to prevent the ball just about rolling into the bottom corner of his net.
A minute later it could have been 2-0, Mc Groddy’s flicked pass sent player-manager Danny McBride bursting into the box and his cracking shot flew just wide of Kelly’s far post.
A couple of minutes later it should have been 1-1, Ken Dempsey’s excellent free-kick from out wide found it’s way all the way through to Ryan McCleary but with the goal at his mercy the full-back shot over the bar.
Both sides had early second-half chances, Kevin Doherty did well on the right and his cross looked destined for Danny McBride’s head before Sean Barrett got there just before him, while a poor clearance from the home defence only found Kevin Loughrey but he blasted wide from the edge of the box.
It was just after this that we had that long stop in play for treatment to the injured player but when play did finally resume it was the visitors who had slightly the better of things.
Sub Michael Sweeney caused problems for the home defence and went close a couple of times bit their best chance came late in the game when Jonathan Sweeney got on the end of a long through ball but hooked the ball over the crossbar when a goal looked certain and after this let-off Cranford FC were happy to hold on to what they had and move up to second place in the Division Two table.
This result leaves them seven points behind leaders Drumkeen Utd with a game less played, next week they travel to play Letterbarrow Celtic while Drumkeen host Kerrykeel 71 FC.
Cranford United: Conner McBride, James McBride, Shane McTeague, Chris Carr, Chris Duffy, Seamus Carr, Padraig McGinty, Danny McBride, Keelan McGroddy (Tarlach O Boyle 75), David O’Donnell, Kevin Doherty.
Whitestrand United: Paddy Kelly, Ryan McCleary (John Friel 63), Ken Dempsey, Sean Barrett, Derek Edwards, Anthony Fisher, Warren McGinley (Michael Sweeney 55), Oisín Shiels, Kevin McCarry, Jonathan Sweeney, Kevin Loughrey.
Referee: Michael Mulhern.Tags: