LSL Senior 1B
St Francis FC – 1
Kilbarrack Utd – 3
Kilbarrack Utd got back to winning ways on Thursday night with a hard fought win against a tough and spirited St Francis side at John Hyland Park. Going into the game the gap between first and second was 8 points, but the hosts have 2 games in hand on the league leaders and knew a win would give them the prospect of overtaking Kilbarrack should they take all 6 points in those games. This set the scene for an exciting and tense affair where both sides knew exactly what was at stake.
The hosts started on the front foot and had a couple of early clear chances that forced saves from Matt Lyons. Kilbarrack weathered the early storm and took the lead on 21 minutes when Jason Beasley skipped into the box on the left and passed the ball into the right corner of the net.
The hosts were not rattled and hit back within 10 minutes when Caffery fired home from close range after a well flighted corner. St Francis had further chances in the half that they will be rueing, and Adam Fox had a good free kick plucked out of the top corner by Fahey in the St Francis goal, and the scores remained level going into the break.
After the turn Kilbarrack, forced into a formation change due to an earlier Alan Murphy injury which saw him replaced by Ross Carrig, began to steady the ship and gain a foothold in a game that was still finely balanced.
With 60 on the clock Kilbarrack took the lead when Ryan Fitzsimons pounced to head home a corner and with St Francis still reeling from that sucker punch, Kilbarrack added a third 7 minutes later when Send Doyle broke up the right wing before putting a great cross into the box where Gavin Carroll was on hand to slam the ball home from close range.
The final 20 minutes were nervy for the visitors with St Francis throwing everything forward, but a resolute back line of Nolan, Carrig, Fitzsimons and Gaughran held firm to claim a huge three points. The win leaves Kilbarrack 11 points clear at the top of the table, with only St Kevins Boys capable of drawing level – ‘if’ they win all 5 games in hand.
Next up for Kilbarrack is a home tie against Larkview Boys on Friday 28th February. Kick off 7.30pm