In form Johnstown made it 4 wins on the bounce with a hard fought win over Carrick Rovers by the odd goal in five in their O’Neill’s Sportswear Division 1 encounter at the MDL on Friday night.
The opening quarter was littered missed opportunities from both sides as they each tried to take control of the game.
Just after the half hour mark, Johnstown hit the front. Having been up field for a corner, Darren McQuillan found himself in possession in the Carrick area. His quick feet and nimble turn bamboozled the visiting defender who clumsily brought Johnstown’s captain down, leading the referee to point to the spot.
After a brief conversation between Murphy and Luco, the latter eventually dispatched the spot kick low to the keeper’s right giving his side the lead.
5 minutes later, Johnstown were 2 up. Vinny Murphy was tripped in the area. A second spot kick was awarded and having won the penalty, there was no need for any consultation on the taker. Murphy strode up and converted with ease.
Being 2 down at the interval, Carrick Rovers come out for the second half and increased their work rate. Within 5 minutes, they had pulled one back. A cross from out on their left eluded the Johnstown defence and found their man unmarked at the back post. Although Dan Shields saved marvellously from the first effort, with no one following in, the Monaghan man tapped in the rebound.
Within a minute, Johnstown almost restored their 2 goal cushion. An insightful through ball from Jason Colton freed Pierce Challenger. Under pressure from a couple of defenders, Challenger’s shot was saved by the visiting keeper.
Soon after, Johnstown were left rueing this missed effort as Carrick equalised. Again causing trouble on the Johnstown right, Carrick hit a low driven cross into the 6 yard area to the back post where, in his efforts to clear, Josh Gaffney could only find the back of his own net.
In fact, the score line could have gotten worse had Dan Shields not been on hand to steer a dipping shot from 20 yards, over the bar.
With the game entering its’ final quarter, the home side regained their lead. Making amends for his earlier mishap, Josh Gaffney drove powerfully forward before releasing Murphy on the left. Murphy beat a couple of defenders before pulling the ball back to the awaiting Luco. Without hesitation, Luco threw a long leg out and directed the ball into the net, securing the points for his side.
Johnstown FC Team: D. Shields, J. Colton, D. Grumley, D. McQuillan (c), J. Gaffney, P. Challenger, S. Challenger, B. Gibney, V. Murphy, K. Zeberek, A. Luco
Subs: L. Fahy for Gibney, J. Connolly for Grumley, D. Bollard for P. Challenger, J. Forde for Colton, D. Halligan for Murphy.