Schoolboys U15 Division 2 Avondale 1 Passage 1.
A goal inside the opening few minutes from Avondale put the away side under pressure right from the start in this Division 2 League match. The Passage players weren’t organised from the kick off and when the ball was played through from the midfield to the Avondale striker he had plenty of time to advance on goal and calmly pick his spot to make it 1-0 with less than 5 minutes gone.
From the restart though the Passage players found their feet in the game and the remainder of the first half was an even contest with both sides giving everything. Cathal Taafe made several good saves for Passage who had a couple of chances to score themselves with Emmanuel Nwaedozie, Conor Lester and Jack Staplton doing well together in midfield trying to get their side back in the game.
Passage were then reduced to 10 men when a Passage player was shown a straight Red Card for reacting to a bad tackle against him. Maybe harsh as he was giving everything and helping to dominate the midfield but the ref had no choice other than to produce the Red Card.
It didn’t affect the Passage player’s performance though and they were rewarded with a great goal from Emmanuel Nwaedozie just before half time. After making another good run he broke free of the defence and he confidently hit the ball early and over the keeper to score the equaliser and make it 1-1.
The second half could have gone either way with Passage having to defend extremely well as a team due to the numerical disadvantage. But with outstanding performances from Jordan Kenny and Finbar Mansbridge on either wings and with some great defending from Mark Coughlan and Jack O’Mahony at left and right fullback Passage remained solid in defence throughout the game.
Ifeoluwo Akinsanya and Eoin Higgins continued their great partnership in the centre of defence and showed good understanding together today to ensure no goals were conceded after the early goal.
Goalkeeper Cathal Taafe had to make several excellent saves to stop the best chances Avondale had, but he was up to the task with some great reaction saves and was brave when he needed to come off his goal line. Centre half Iffy made a great last ditch sliding tackle to prevent a great chance for Avondale from inside the box which could have made it 2-1 to the home side with ten minutes to go. It was a vital interception from the centre back at that stage.
Passage also looked for the winner in the second half with Emmanuel and Jack Stapleton always looking dangerous in centre midfield, and David Allen and then late on James Kenny trying hard to get the goal that would have been the winner for either side.
Emmanuel struck a few shots from long distance that went just wide and showed throughout the game that he was willing to take things on to drive his team forward. Mark Coughlan could have capped off an excellent debut with a fine run through midfield past three Avondale players but unfortunately the move didn’t result in the winner as the ball was cleared. A very close game deservedly ended with both sides getting a point and just reward for Passage who gave everything and showed significant signs of improvements all over the pitch.