MSL soccer: Late equaliser keeps Leeds’ Keane Cup hopes alive

Kenny O'Leary scores in injury-time after Leeside lose two-goal advantage
MSL soccer: Late equaliser keeps Leeds’ Keane Cup hopes alive

Kevin Cody, Leeside about to tackle Alan Hosford, Leeds in their Keane Cup match at Little Island. Picture Dan Linehan

Leeside 2

Leeds 2

LEEDS staged a late comeback to claim a share of the spoils in their Keane Cup group 4 game in Little Island.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, they fell two behind just before the hour mark, but two goals in the final seven minutes, including an injury-time equaliser, keeps their hopes of making it through to the quarter-finals alive.

Leeds top the group after three games, but Leeside must yet face Mayfield with both sides still in the reckoning for the last eight spot.

Leeside started the game at a blistering pace and peppered the Leeds goal early on. A minute in Julius Leke struck a long-range effort that hit the crossbar before being headed back into keeper Darragh Newman’s hands.

Leeside weren’t afraid to shoot from distance and two minutes later Kevin Cody tried his luck from range, his effort going narrowly wide.

Three minutes later Stephen Griffin found Dylan McNamara in space in the box, but his shot was blocked by Newman’s feet.

In the 10th minute, Griffin tried to lob Newman from just outside the centre-circle, his effort going inches over.

A minute later Leeside got the goal that their play deserved. Nathaniel Gumbo struck a terrific shot from outside the box that hit the post and the striker was quick to follow up and crash the ball past Newman and into the net.

Five minutes later, Gumbo almost got a second after he rose highest to meet a Cody cross, but his header went inches over.

Leeds had failed to trouble the Leeside defence up to that point, but in the 21st minute, they came close to a leveller when Eric Murphy did well to get a shot away which struck the Leeside post.

Midway through the half, Griffin fired another long-range effort over after gaining possession in plenty of space.

Leeds came more into the game in the final 15 minutes of the half and Dylan Foley had a good chance after Jordan O’Sullivan had done well to beat his man on the right, but the Leeds striker fired over from close range while under pressure from a Leeside defender.

Another O’Sullivan cross was just missed by Kenny O’Leary in the six-yard box, while at the other end Horgan fired wide after being teed up by Gumbo.

Leeds continued to lift their game in the second half and had a couple of early chances; O’Sullivan fired wide after a corner broke to him on the edge of the box and Foley got off a good shot which Leeside keeper Chris Zlotnik did well to hold.

However, it was Leeside who scored next when, on 56 minutes, David Smiddy played a neat pass in behind the Leeside defence for Gumbo who rounded Newman before stroking the ball home.

Leeds had a lot of work to do at this point, but they pressed hard to get back into the game.

Foley had a header come back off the crossbar following a Cian Coleman cross and the ball was gathered by Zlotnik after a scramble in the six-yard box amid claims that it had crossed the line.

Leeds had a lot of possession in the second half, but it appeared that Leeside had done enough to secure the win until the visitors struck with six minutes of normal time remaining, Shane O’Connor applying the finish after a cross from the right.

Leeds poured forward in search of an equaliser and O’Leary forced a good save out of Zlotnik in the final minute.

It seemed that was Leeds’ last chance of an equaliser, but in injury-time O’Leary struck, guiding the ball home after a shot into the box.

Leeside will be gutted to have coughed up a two-goal lead, but a two-goal win over Mayfield on Thursday will see them advance.

Mayfield sit a point behind Leeds and a win or a high-scoring draw would be enough for them go through to the last eight.

LEESIDE: Chris Zlotnik, Dylan Stansfield, Matthew Long, Dylan Wentz, David Smiddy, Julius Leke, Stephen Griffin, Kevin Cody, Dylan McNamara, Nathaniel Gumbo,. Adam Horgan.

Subs: Ruben O’Callaghan for Horgan (72), Eoin Horgan for Stansfield (75).

LEEDS: Darragh Newman, Cian Coleman, Alan Hosford, Robert O’Connor Jack Moore, Eric Murphy, Kenny O’Leary, Colin Lemass, Dylan Foley, Jordan O’Sullivan, Shane O’Connor.

Subs: Richie Lawrence for Lemass (h/t), Kyle McNamara for O’Sullivan (62), Sean Varian for Hosford (75).

Referee: Anthony Buttimer.

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