Newtown United 4
hamrock Celtic 2
Newtown enjoyed a successful start to their Premier Division campaign when taking the three points off new-look Shamrock Celtic at the Matt Kelly Memorial Grounds on Saturday afternoon.
Having been scheduled to get their adventure under way last week at the same venue, that fixture was postponed without any notice to anyone outside the clubs and the WDFL, so it was a welcome development that this week’s game went ahead.
There was heavy pressure for the Celtic defence right from the first whistle as Newtown hunted for an early goal.
The hosts were inches away from getting the opener in the 11th minute when Dean Odlum chipped a ball over the Shamrock defence to play through Jack Elliot. Elliot raced to get a toe to the ball before the oncoming Cormac Doyle in the Celtic net but got there just before Elliot to smother the ball.
Despite the pressure from the home side, it was Shamrock Celtic who opened the scoring, albeit against the run of play.
Striker Oisin McGraynor was tripped in the box resulting in referee Carl Doyle pointing to the spot.
Up stepped Celtic’s number 10 Gary Dempsey, formerly of Bray Wanderers and Aberdeen among others, and the Co. Wexford native tucked the penalty away with a tidy finish to Turner’s bottom right corner to put his side a goal up in the 33rd minute.
Shamrock’s lead didn’t last long though and four minutes later Newtown rallied, and their striker Aaron Byrne got on the end of a cross into the box to slot home at the back post to bring the game back level.
The home side took the lead just on the stroke of half-time as Byrne grabbed his second before the break.
A through ball cutting open the Celtic defence gave Byrne the opportunity to run through on goal and tip the ball past Cormac Doyle in goal to put United 2-1 up going in at the break.
Five minutes into the second half Dean Odlum smacked the ball off the crossbar with a powerful free-kick from outside the box. This should have been a warning for Celtic of what was to come.
On the hour mark Odlum was involved again as he gained possession just inside the penalty area, took a touch and curled the ball into the top corner.
Absolutely nothing Doyle in goal could do but just watch the ball curl into the top bin, a superb strike to put his side 3-1 up in the 60th minute.
Aidan O’Callaghan grabbed a goal back for the away side in the 68th minute. A long-range free-kick effort from Adam Cuddihy was fumbled on the goal line by the Newtown keeper Kenneth Turner as he pushed the ball out towards O’Callaghan who couldn’t miss.
Turner was backpedaling as the free-kick came floating in and tried to prevent the goal as he caught the ball but gave O’Callaghan a gifted opportunity to give his side a lifeline going into the last 20 minutes.
Dean Odlum made sure of the three points in the 75th minute when he got on the end of an Eddie Doyle corner to nod home his second goal of the afternoon. The experienced striker drifted from deep in the box to the penalty spot to head past Doyle and secure his side’s first win of the season.
Newtown will now turn their attentions to their next fixture as they take on Ashford Rovers on Sunday at Ballinalea Park while Shamrock Celtic will want to kickstart their league campaign on Friday night as they travel to Fassaroe to play St Peter’s under the lights at Little Bray Community Centre.
Newtown United: 1. Kenneth Turner, 2. Barry Davis, 3. Brandon Feeley, 4. Cian Walsh, 5. Sean Odlum, 6. Bobby Greenan, 7. Eddie Doyle, 8. Daniel Testa, 9. Jack Elliot, 10. Aaron Byrne, 18. Dean Odlum. Subs: Sean Gregory for B Greenan (60), Andy Duncan for D Testa (70), Dillion Carthy for D Odlum (80).
Shamrock Celtic: 1. Cormac Doyle, 2. Gary O’Donnell, 3. Killian Devine, 4. Adam Cuddihy, 5. Simon Phillips, 6. Aidan O’Callaghan, 7. Mikey Merrigan, 8. Jensen O’Connor, 9. Oisin McGraynor, 10. Gary Dempsey, 11. Zach Harris. Subs: James Long for G Dempsey (64), Chris French for G O’Donnell (41).
Referee: Carl Doyle