Michael O'Neill keeps Douglas Hall at bay for Avondale in U18 Premier tie

Home side bounced back from loss to Rockmount through goals from Stephen Ahern and Billy Moore
Michael O'Neill keeps Douglas Hall at bay for Avondale in U18 Premier tie

Avondale United goalkeeper Michael O'Neill heads clear from Douglas Hall's Tyrone Johnson during the Daly Industrial Supplies Premier U18 game at Avondale Park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Avondale United 2 Douglas Hall 0

AVONDALE United had a well-deserved victory in the Daly Industrial Supplies U18 Premier League at Avondale Park.

Two goals in a three-minute spell of the first half by Avondale’s Billy Moore and Stephen Ahern put them on the road to victory, and this result will almost certainly give them a place in the semi-finals next weekend.

This win made up for the disappointment of the 2-1 loss to Rockmount last weekend. It will now come down to the final game in this group next Wednesday night between Douglas Hall and Rockmount to see who qualify for the semi-finals. 

As it stands Avondale have three points with a +1 goal difference, Rockmount also have three points with a +1 goal difference while Douglas Hall have no points on a -1 goal difference. If Rockmount win or draw they will top the group, however, if Douglas win by three goals or more they will qualify.

Oscar McCarthy had the first real chance of the game for the home team in the eighth minute when he won a good ball just outside the visitors' box, however, Douglas Hall’s goalkeeper Antonio Ancheta was on hand to make a smart save. 

Avondale then took the lead 1-0 in the ninth minute when Billy Moore ran on to a terrific through ball by McCarthy, and his powerful effort flew into the corner of the net. 

Two minutes later Stephen Ahern put the Dales two goals in front with a superb finish after good work from Stephen St Ledger. 

Avondale United's Stephen St Ledger knocks the ball past Douglas Hall's Matthew Murphy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Avondale United's Stephen St Ledger knocks the ball past Douglas Hall's Matthew Murphy. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The visitors had their first chance of the game after 20 minutes when Cormac Kelly was through on goal, however, when he was just about to strike the ball a magnificent tackle by Donal Ojiekhuda saved the day for Avondale. 

The home side came close to increasing their lead in the 30th minute when St Ledger stung the hands of Ancheta in the Douglas goal with a powerful effort from just outside the box. Two minutes later Ancheta had to be alert for the Hall as he made a superb double save from Avondale’s Moore. 

The visitors had a glorious chance to pull a goal back two minutes before half-time when Cormac Kelly found space inside Avondale’s box, however, Micheal O’Neill made a superb save.

Avondale started the second half pressing the Douglas back four, and they came close to adding a third goal when Ahern latched onto a loose ball, but his low effort forced another fine save from Ancheta. The visitors were struggling to find any rhythm in their play as Avondale players were giving them very little time to settle on the ball. 

They got a lifeline in the 77th minute when Ojiekhuda was penalized for a handball inside his own area. Matthew Murphy took the resulting spot-kick for Douglas, however, O’Neill in the Dales goal guessed right to make a superb save. 

Two minutes later O’Neill had to make a brave save at the feet of the Hall’s Cormac Kelly when he found space in the Avondale box. 

Douglas Hall's Cormac Kelly has his header saved by Avondale United goalkeeper Michael O'Neill. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Douglas Hall's Cormac Kelly has his header saved by Avondale United goalkeeper Michael O'Neill. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

It would be very difficult to single out any player for praise in the Avondale side, as every player put in a incredible shift, however, Ojiekhuda and Eoin DeBurca were immense at the back for them.

AVONDALE UNITED: Micheal O’Neill, Conor Sheedy, Kevin Barry-Dorney, Eoin DeBurca, Donal Ojiekhuda, Dylan Cotter, Stephen St Ledger, Oscar McCarthy, Jack Scally, Billy Moore, Stephen Ahern.

Subs: Rory Kavanagh for Barry-Dorney (ht), Chris Manahan for Moore (71).

DOUGLAS HALL: Antonio Ancheta, Adam Hasting, Ryan Kelleher, Jake Ryan, Tom Kelly, Matthew Murphy, Tyrone Johnson, Jacob Jackson, Cormac Kelly, Conor Hanley, Stephen Morrissey.

Subs: Jack Dawson for Morrissey (57), Eddie Keneally for Hanley (67), Kevin Looney for Johnson (75), Jacob Duggan-O’Riordan for Jackson (85).

Referee: John Philpott.

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