Wednesday Oct 15th
With daylight still visible in the western sky the floodlights came on in Rockenham, the contrast giving the ground that special dramatic atmosphere.
Things were less dramatic on the pitch, for the opening 30 minutes at least. Not having played a game in weeks Passage appeared a bit creaky. But they have been training, and once they got into gear it showed.
Midleton made things awkward initially, competing well and looking every bit as capable of scoring.
After ten minutes a flighted ball out of defence by Sam Mealy found Cian Fleury, who left his markers trailing and calmly lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper. 1-0 to Passage.
But that wasn’t the start of Passage taking over the game. Far from it.
Within 5 minutes Midleton were back in contention. A cleared ball from a corner landed at the feet of an unmarked Midleton player outside the penalty area. With time and space he hammered the ball goalwards. It went in under the bar, and Dylan Murphy couldn’t be faulted. It was a fine goal. 1-1.
An energised Midleton pressed on and played some good football. They didn’t look like a team at the bottom of the league.
In the final 10 minutes of the half Passage began to show they had the edge. From a free-kick just outside the penalty area, 4 or 5 metres in from the end line, Sam Mealy saw the Midleton keeper in the centre of his goal, aimed for the near post, and scored. 2-1 to Passage.
Two minutes later Joe Browne hit the post. Then a mazy run down the right-wing took Craig Crowley into the penalty area. He played a lovely ball to Cian Fleury, whose shot was blocked by the keeper. Joe Bintou pounced, stroking the ball into the net. 3-1 to Passage.
The re-start saw Passage getting on top. Maciek Jany hit a fine shot from distance which the keeper knocked away for a corner. The resulting cross led to a goalmouth scramble, Joe Browne getting the final touch and stretching the lead to 4-1.
A few minutes later Maciek made a nice run, passed to Cian, who shot narrowly wide. Soon after, in an attack that cut through the Midleton defence, Cian took a pass and rolled it past the keeper. 5-1.
Matthew Scannell, Mark Hanlon and Eoin Daly came on and helped maintain Passage’s supremacy.
Before the end Maciek made it 6-1 with a penalty.
Despite the scoreline it has to be said the lads could have played better. That’s not to say they could have scored more goals – they could have played way better and not scored as many. But it was a good win, and signs of improvement were obvious.