KILDRUM TIGERS might well have breathed new life into their season with a heart-stopping win over Gweedore Celtic at An Screabán.
Gweedore Celtic 1 Kildrum Tigers 2
Just when all seemed lost for them, Shane Brown’s team found the killer touch that had evaded them all evening and they caught the hosts with not one, but two sucker punches late in the game.
Captain Damian Crossan levelled in the 88th minute and it was a goal that ignited the Tigers’ self-belief and they conjured up the most dramatic of winners, netted by substitute Shane McIntyre in the 92nd minute.
Even so late, they made life hard for themselves in a chaotic finish during which they had to pale water from the boat with Gweedore threatening to capsize the vessel.
They held on for three points that could be precious in a Premier Division that is, so far at least, one of the tightest ever witnessed.
They did so with ten men with centre-back William Lynch banished to the sideline when he collected a second yellow card for a foul on Jay Dee Alawiye. There were 39 minutes remaining and his team was a goal down at that stage, but they summonsed a response that belied their numerical disadvantage.
Kildrum had been the more fluent operators and all they were missing was a touch more refinement in the final third.
They trailed from the seventh minute and it would surely have jarred the visitors that it was one of their own homegrown men who netted the Gweedore goal. Shane Porter was nurtured at Station Road and happens to manage Kildrum’s under-13 team, but it was he who riffled Gweedore in front.
Jamie Boyle’s corner found Porter who was denied at first, but he smashed powerfully past Ciaran McDermott to the roof of the net at the second attempt for his seventh goal of the season.
Porter is one of the new recruits at Gweedore this season and this will have been one he’ll have marked on the fixture list. A scything tackle on Damian Crossan in the early moments were the hallmarks of a man on a mission.
After falling behind, Kildrum settled and played some fine passages of football on a near-perfect surface.
Brian Coll’s teasing corner almost caught an entire box out, but was hooked away at the far post before the Tigers fashioned a superb opening, only for Christopher Sweeney to save with his legs from Reece Laird after he’d been slipped in by Frankie McBrearty.
Laird and Damian Crossan combined to tee up Conor Crossan, but his low shot lacked conviction. Coll had another enterprising effort that came close to squirming home, but Sweeney recovered having momentarily lost his balance as the full-back hammered goalward.
Alawiye could have doubled the hosts’ lead, but he panicked after breaking clear of Brett McGinty and he shot at McDermott in a one-v-one.
Two minutes from half-time, Kildrum should have drawn level. Laird’s header, from Gary Crossan’s magnificent cross, was clawed away by Sweeney. Porter’s clearance was straight to Conor Crossan but, with the goal yawning, he crashed off the underside of the crossbar.
Sweeney denied Laird again just after the re-start and Kildrum were down a man when Lynch – booked first for an over-zealous challenge on Tomas Diver – clattered Alawiye.
Odhrán Mac Niallais, introduced as a sub, neatly set up the in-rushing Declan Doherty, who scooped wide and Boyle flashed a free kick just wide of the Tigers target.
Damian Crossan hooked off the line from a Diver header when he connected to Porter’s free-kick.
Just when it looked as if Porter would sink his townsmen, Kildrum salvaged it from the burning embers.
Glenn Bovaird, restored to the squad after a hamstring lay-off, curled an inviting free perfectly to the far post, where Damian Crossan pounced for the leveller.
They smelt blood and they broke for the win in injury time. Diver’s free was charged down, McBrearty made the telling incision with the break from deep and Bovaird swept down the left for young sub Reece Duncan.
It was from Duncan’s cross that the ball broke to McIntyre and his finish was exquisite. It was the cue for bedlam; the reaction from the visiting bench outlined what it meant.
Even then, they almost let it slip again. It took a goal-line intervention by Duncan to keep out a MacNiallais header while a second MacNiallais header, the game’s final act, was wide; and it was relief and ecstasy all at once for the St Johnston men. Bar, that is, the very one who seemed destined to be the headline maker.
Gweedore Celtic: Christopher Sweeney; Joe Bonner (Ryan Kelly ’62), Paul McBride, Shane Porter, Brendan McGeady; Jamie Boyle, Eugene Ferry, (Odhrán Mac Niallais ‘54) Damien O’Sullivan, Declan Doherty; Tomás Diver, Jay Dee Alawiye (Sean O’Donnell ’86).
Kildrum Tigers: Ciaran McDermott; Jamie McKinney (Shane McIntyre ’62), Brett McGinty, William Lynch, Brian Coll (Reece Duncan ’86); Gary Crossan, Frankie McBrearty, Conor Crossan (Glennn Bovaird ’78), Gareth Colhoun; Damian Crossan; Reece Laird.
Referee: Mick Lagan.Tags: