Forth Celtic within three points of top
Clinical first-half display earns victory
Forth Celtic moved to within three points of the summit in Under-12 Division 3 of the Wexford and District Schoolboys Soccer League with a clinical first-half performance against hosts Curracloe United on Saturday.
Forth Celtic 4 Curracloe United B 1
The Murrintown boys have had games in hand in this division for some time and, while leaders Shelburne were in cup action, this was a chance to get one of those matches in and move up the table.
They did just that, breezing into a 4-0 lead after 16 minutes, before later being tested by their resilient hosts.
The key to their success was clear as they got the ball out wide, let their talented wingers do damage and reaped the rewards.
The first sign of this tactic working came in the sixth minute. Leo Barry took possession out on the right with enough time to get his head up and look across, and he swung in a delightful ball that flew all the way into the roof of the Curracloe net.
As special an opening goal as it was, it actually kicked United into life.
Moments later Joshua Roche got away on the left and squared to J.P. Fielding whose shot across goal drifted agonisingly wide of Daithí Murphy's post.
Forth Celtic made it 2-0 in the eleventh minute. Again it was Barry with the perfect cross but this time Alex Lafferty was on hand, close to goal, to nod over the line.
Mere seconds later goalscorer turned provider, whipping in from the left, with Barry flashing an unstoppable bicycle-kick past Conor Martin in the hosts' goal.
Proving they had strength-in-depth, Celtic made it four when substitute Charlie Quirke crossed for Ben Larkin to control and coolly fire to the net. Just s16 minutes in and the visitors looked set to cruise to victory.
After an uneventful second quarter, Celtic remained in control at the break. Yet things were changing as Forth, more often than not, attacked through the centre after the break and the Curracloe defence really stepped up and did a fantastic job.
United started to create chances too, Josh Kinsella, Jack Kelly and Joshua Roche all went close but all Curracloe's pressure eventually paid off in the 47th minute when J.P. Fielding cracked a shot which took a wicked deflection and found the net.
The game became more frantic with both sides throwing boys forward in the final quarter, but defences were superb.
Forth Celtic did win a penalty when Larkin's header was handled in the area but Barry sent his hat-trick attempt over the crossbar, which allowed Curracloe to hang on to their second-half clean sheet.
Forth Celtic: Daithí Murphy; Luke Whitty (capt.), Jack Berry, Bobby Crosbie; Matthew Day, Ben Larkin, Aaron O'Brien; Leo Barry, Alex Lafferty. Subs. (rolling) - Charlie Quirke, Adam Newport.
Curracloe United B: Conor Martin; Dean Denton, Nathan Rossiter, Jack Kelly; Colm Kelly, Adam O'Connor, Ronan Furlong; J.P. Fielding, Joshua Roche. Subs. (rolling) - Eoin Howlin, Tommy Parker, Josh Kinsella.
Referee: Ger Morris.