Crumlin United -7
Cherry Orchard -2
By Jonny Stapleton,
Crumlin United cantered back to the top of the Intermediate pile Magnificent Seven style in Armagh Road yesterday.
Seven goals and seven scores against the 7-1 outsiders made it seven league games undefeated for the inform United.
Only a point separated these outfits at the final final whistle last term, but the Champs were leagues ahead of The Orchard in this tie and continued their unbeaten season run in impressive and emphatic fashion.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the home-side, however, as once again they made a slow start to a Senior Sunday game. Indeed, they found themselves trailing on ten minutes as the 7-1 outsiders took the lead.
Inform winger come front man Niall Conran pounced as Daniel Loughran, the only player covering come Crumlin corner time, slipped and the visitors very own road runner raced on to round the keeper and roll home.
A disgruntled Crumlin did attempt an instant response, but the Elmdale outfit showed army like discipline, kept their focus, shape and Crumlin at bay.
Lee Roach did come close with a volley, but it took something special to break the visiting resolve. Just as tension began to rise and an edge crept into the tie, go to man James Lee produced a moment of magic to settle the home nerves.
The captain flicked up a return pass with his right foot swivelled and guided a volley into the bottom left hand corner to level affairs.
“Who needs Bruce Lee when you got James Lee,” quipped one supporter ” We could still do with Pamela Anderson Lee,” responded another!
Once parity was restored a nervousness grew amongst the Orchard, Crumlin sensed it and went for the jugular.
Danny McGuiness hit the bar, Roach volleyed over from 18 yards and Lee saw a left foot shot come off the underside of the bar, as Crumlin ramped up the search for a second
When it finally arrived it came via another central midfielder, Martin Cramer. The diminutive battler curled the ball home from all off 25 yards to to give the hosts a deserved lead.
McGreal then had the chance to seal the victory, but elected to chipp the ball over the bar instead of the just the keeper when clean through, but the inform winger made up for his mistake minutes later. The number 11 made it five goals in three games as he stoked home a Loughran cross, whose creative powers have not been diminished since a relocation to right back, to make it 3-1 at the turn.
The Orchard brought on Robbie Sheppard at half time, went two up top and created the opening chance of the half. A nice move involving Conran and Sheppard put Philly Fitzpatrick through on goal, but the youngster dragged his shot wide.
However, any hope of a way revival was quashed within minutes, as Crumlin hit two quick fire goals to put the game beyond any doubt.
Firstly Loughran hit his fourth penalty in three games after the referee adjudged McGreal was up ended in the box, before Kevin Dempsey hammered home after a McGreal shot hit the post and rebounded to his feet.
Orchard did manage to reduce the advantage seconds later again Conran’s speed of thought and speed on the ground enabled him to net. The teen made it five goals in three games when he raced onto Neil Flemmings flick and again rounded Meehan to finish into an empty net.
Flemming then saw red after receiving a second yellow for an off the ball incident and the Orchard were battling a goal hungry Crumlin with ten men.
Ciaran Kenna then registered the effort that best sums up Crumlin’s ruthlessness and desire. Having won the ball on his own 18 yard line he played it forward and while his opposite numbers stood still claiming offside, when Cramer broke through, he charged into the opposition half. The hosts central midfielder and centre half were in nose bleed territory, two on one with the keeper and Kenna was gifted the easiest goal of his career.
Sub Leon Johnson then made it seventh heaven for the hosts hammering home a rebound after Sean Holmes saved from Greg Moorehouse to make it 19 goals in four games for goals galore Crumlin. The win see’s United return to the top of the table a single point ahead of Tolka Rovers.