Douglas Hall 4 Wilton United 5
WILTON came out on top in a nine-goal thriller in the CSL U13 Division 3 play-off on the new all-weather pitch at Rockenham Park in Passage and now meet Midleton in the final.
This was an absolutely cracking match and a fitting tribute to both teams as the Covid-disrupted season comes to a close with play going from end to end with some thrilling football played.
Douglas Hall dominated the early stages of the game and kept Wilton well in their own half, forcing keeper Devyn Delee into two excellent saves, diving to his left to stop efforts from Sean O’Flaherty and Sean Linehan.
Hall’s pressure finally paid off in the eighth minute when Liam O’Brien’s 20-yard free sailed into the roof of the Wilton net. They almost had a second four minutes later but Peter Collins’ dipping shot from 20 yards went over.
Wilton started to come back into the game, with Callan Clarke’s free-kick being caught by the Douglas keeper Luke Morrissey and they drew level moments before the first water break when Jack Ryan ran through the centre, only to see his effort blocked by Morrissey with Alex Collins picking up the rebound for the equaliser.
Two goals in the space of 90 seconds from Collins and Ryan gave Wilton a 3-1 lead in by the 24th minute and it appeared as if Wilton had the game wrapped up.
However, just before halftime, Douglas Hall pulled a goal back through Rory Denn, and within five minutes of the restart they equalised from Mike Scott’s free.
Their joy was short-lived, though, as by the 39th minute Wilton took the lead again when Collins headed in from a corner as the pendulum swung in Wilton’s favour yet again with 20 minutes remaining.
Douglas Hall were not giving up, and in the 50th minute they were awarded a penalty when Larry Butler was brought down in the area with Linehan duly converting the spot-kick and the teams were level yet again.
Wilton responded with a fifth goal a minute later when Ryan stormed through the Douglas defence and despite the effort from Morrissey, the ball found the back of the net for his hat-trick as Wilton led 5-4.
It proved to be a frantic closing few minutes as Douglas Hall looked to equalise for the fourth time, with Scott’s 25 yard effort being well saved by Delee, while Wilton forwards pressed forward looking for the cushion of a two-goal lead once more.
WILTON: Devyn Delee, Paudi Glavin, Ronan Galvin, Zein Al Muskewi, Jake Dalton, Eddie Dooley, Adam Daly, Callan Clarke, Jack Ryan, Alex Collins, James O’Regan, Matthew Ryan.
DOUGLAS HALL: Luke Morrissey, Leon O’Connell, Jonathon Reidy, Jack Hurley, Ronan Sullivan, Liam O’Brien, James Barry, Stephen Walsh, Rory Dean, Sean O’Flaherty, Larry Butler, Sean Linehan, Conor McLoughlin, Finn Ryan, Peter Collins, Mike Scott.
Referee: David Quinn